Opinion

Madonna: The immaculate composition

Madonna is turning 60. In celebration, here are my favourite lines from every single one of her UK chart hits, in chronological order, with a few album tracks thrown in along the way.

Her lyrics are much better than she is ever credited for, and even the ones she didn’t write seem to say something about her, even wildly out of context. As we shall see:

 

One day to come together, to release the pressure – Holiday

You may be my lucky star, but I’m the luckiest by far – Lucky Star

Something in your eyes is making such a fool of me – Borderline

Your love thawed out what was scared and cold – Like a Virgin

Only boys who save their pennies make my rainy day – Material Girl

I see you through the smoky air, can’t you feel the weight of my stare – Crazy for You

Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free – Into the Groove

Now I believe that dreams come true, because you came when I wished for you – Angel

Don’t want to say this but I think that I should – Gambler

All your suits are custom-made in London – Dress You Up

If I ran away, I’d never have the strength to go very far – Live to Tell

Don’t you stop loving me, Daddy. I know I’m keeping my baby – Papa Don’t Preach

I’ve had to work much harder than this for something I want; don’t try to resist me – Open Your Heart

A young girl with eyes like the desert – La Isla Bonita

Run faster, her laughter burns you up inside – Who’s That Girl

You met your match when you met me – Causing a Commotion

Now all the books I’ve read, and the things I know, never taught me to live, never taught me to let go – The Look of Love

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone – Like a Prayer

Long stem roses are the way to your heart, but he needs to start with your head – Express Yourself

Romeo and Juliet, they never felt this way I bet, so don’t underestimate my point of view – Cherish

Ride the rainbow to the other side – Dear Jessie

You’re not in love with someone else, you don’t even love yourself. Still, I wish you’d ask me not to go – Till Death Do Us Part

Soul is in the musical, that’s where I feel so beautiful – Vogue (There are debates over what the actual lyric is here. Some say it’s “music, oh”. Either way it is a killer line.)

I just like things a little rough and you better not disagree – Hanky Panky

Tell me your dreams. Am I in them? – Justify My Love

You bring me to my knees, while I’m scratching out the eyes of a world I want to conquer, and deliver, and despise – Rescue Me

Don’t hold on to the past. Well, that’s too much to ask – This Used to be My Playground

If you’re afraid, well, rise above; I only hurt the ones I love – Erotica

My love is alive, and I’m never gonna hide it again – Deeper and Deeper

I fall apart every time you hand your heart out to me – Bad Girl

What a lovely way to burn – Fever

When your lips are burning mine and you take the time to tell me how you feel – Rain

Here she comes, acting all dejected, so you give advice and she gives you her poison – Thief of Hearts

You write me beautiful letters. You think you’re so much better than me – Words

Outside I looked for a way to teach my heart to sing – I’ll Remember

You knew all along what I never wanted to say – Secret

Wish you well, I cannot say. You deserve an award for the role that you played – Take a Bow

Words are useless. Especially sentences – Bedtime Story

I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on me – Human Nature

Instead of spring, it’s always winter, and my heart has always been a lonely hunter – Love Tried to Welcome Me

I have truth on my side, you only have deceit – You’ll See

You didn’t mean to be cruel, somebody hurt you too – Oh Father (Originally a 1989 Like a Prayer album track but released as a single in 1996.)

I like to play the queen of hearts and never thought I’d lose – One More Chance

Scared to confess what I’m feeling, frightened you’ll slip away – You Must Love Me

I had to let it happen, I had to change. Couldn’t stay all my life down at heel, looking out of the window, staying out of the sun – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

Time and time again I’ve said that I don’t care, that I’m immune to gloom, that I’m hard through and through – Another Suitcase in Another Hall

If I could melt your heart, we’d never be apart. Give yourself to me – Frozen

Faster than the speeding light she’s flying, trying to remember where it all began – Ray of Light

I had so many lovers who settled for the thrill of basking in my spotlight – Substitute for Love

Pain is a warning that something’s wrong – The Power of Good-Bye

I realise that nobody wins – Nothing Really Matters

I paid for you with my tears, and swallowed my pride – Beautiful Stranger

I was a lonely teenage bronking buck, with a pink carnation and a pick-up truck – American Pie

Don’t think of yesterday, and I don’t look at the clock – Music

Tell me everything I’m not, but don’t ever tell me to stop – Don’t Tell Me

When you’re trying hard to be your best, could you be a little less – What it Feels Like For a Girl

I think I’ll find another way, it’s not my time to go – Die Another Day

I went into a bar, looking for sympathy, a little company. I tried to find a friend – American Life

I lost my memory in Hollywood. I’ve had a million visions, bad and good – Hollywood

There are too many options, there is no consolation – Love Profusion

What I want is to find my place, breathe the air, and feel the sun on my children’s face – Easy Ride

You’ll wake up one day, but it’ll be too late – Hung Up

You stayed because I made it so convenient – Sorry

Do you believe that we can change the future? Do you believe I can make you feel better? – Get Together

There’s only so much you can learn in one place. The more that you wait, the more time that you waste – Jump

Wrestle with your darkness, angels call your name – Isaac

I want somebody to speed it up for me, then take it down slow. There’s enough room for both – 4 Minutes

Don’t stop me now, don’t need to catch my breath, I can go on, and on, and on. When the lights go down and there’s no one left, I can go on, and on, and on – Give It 2 Me

You always have the biggest heart when we’re six thousand miles apart – Miles Away

She might make you breakfast, and love you in the shower. The thrill is momentary, cos she don’t have what’s ours – She’s Not Me

Let’s forget about time, and dance our lives away – Give Me All Your Luvin’ (I struggled)

All of the letters push to the front of my mouth, and saying your name is somewhere between a prayer and a shout – I’m Addicted

I woke up with my hand in the fire, get my kicks when I’m walking the wire – I’m a Sinner

Lifted me up, and watched me stumble. After the heartache I’m gonna carry on – Living For Love

I think you’re confusing me with somebody else. I won’t apologise for being myself – Beautiful Scars. (Possibly the most Madonna lyric ever.)

❤️

Coming later this week, right here: Madonna’s Face is Not Your Dead Relative

Image: Herb Ritts for the True Blue campaign

 

 

 

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