Madonna — “Hung Up”

Released: 10.17.05

Peak: #7

Madonna may never understand why we love her–not because she’s willing to confess on a dance floor, but because she’s willing to dance in a confessional. Still, a superstar cannot thrive solely on disco brilliance; without her ever-mockable pretensions and affectations — yes, even posh accent and Kabbalah dabble and double shotty soy latte — her fame would have likely have gone the way of Donna Summer’s. I’m just grateful that every few years she shucks off the burden of Being Madonna and tries to lose herself in a great dance song like “Hung Up.”

Producer Stuart Price, that phony Frenchman who made his name disguised as Jacques LeCont and Les Rhythm Digitales, cannily updates the past here. The musical elements — that sample of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” which initially wafts in as from an overheard boom box, that flutey keyboard muffled by a blanket of electronics –jostle for prominence on the track, a slab of revisionist pop history as a work in progress. Tis a far far better thing Price does here than remixing Killers songs.

Of course, like Dylan says, “You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.” “Hung Up” is less trashy fun than “Music,” its retro less timely. And let’s not even bring Madonna (the album, that is) into all this. And, in fact, “Hung Up” is hardly shorn free of image-consciousness–she slides a little self-referential “don’t cry for me” interpolation into the bridge. And we’re surely meant to admire the cheekiness of a forty-seven-year-old woman’s complaint that “time goes by so slowly,” just as her new lean and hungry look, all feathered hair and pink leotard, invites us to contrast youthful urgency and mature desperation. Or is that youthful desperation and mature urgency?

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