On holiday, with time on my hands, I found myself – as ever – over-relating to song lyrics. This is acceptable in times of high emotion, if the song in question is – say – Lover You Should Have Come Over by Jeff Buckley or That Was My Veil by PJ Harvey (NB both highly recommended for times of heavy weeping). However, probably less so when you are lying on a sunlounger, drinking gin and listening to Madonna.
I listened to a lot of Madonna on holiday. I still listen to the (IMHO) criminally underrated American Life album A LOT. I am constitutionally incapable of hearing Nothing Fails without welling up. For that song alone, Madonna and Guy will always be one of the saddest celebrity divorces for me. Although, for poignancy, nothing beats the scene in Truth or Dare when she is asked ‘who is the love of your life?’ – no syllable has ever sounded more tragic and regretful than her certain and succinct reply: Sean. I live in hope that one day they might get back together.
As you may have gathered, I have a lot of feelings about Madonna.
Listening to The Immaculate Collection, it struck me that, in her guise of 80s supreme confidence, she manages to make romance sound like some sort of sexy Stockholm Syndrome. You may try to leave Madonna, but you will fail. It’s a skill I wish I had.
‘You can’t get away/I won’t let you’ – from Cherish, otherwise possibly the sweetest and most lovely song.
‘Don’t try to run, I will keep up with you/Nothing can stop me from trying’ – from Open Your Heart, a song that appears to be one big boast about stalking.
By this point, drunk on gin and emotion and deep analysis of pop songs, I was over-relating to every line. Which is where Rescue Me comes in, just at the right time.
There are few things I love in life more than a Madonna talky bit – this one even opens with her stating ‘I’M TALKING, I’M TALKING’. Now, I am not sure I like the idea of being ‘rescued’ by love, but it’s hard not to be convinced by Madonna, and by lyrics that play directly into my hashtag relationship goals:
‘You see that I’m ferocious.
You see that I am weak.
You see that I am silly,
And pretentious, and a freak
…But I don’t feel too strange for you.’
When she talks about being ‘hungry for a life of understanding’ and the beauty of the triumph of hope over experience – always – I am sold. Madonna, your love has given me hope.