Madonna – Live to Tell

First Hit #1: June 7, 1986

Live to Tell reminds me of Kickboxer. That’s a bit out of left field, but that movie was brimming with ’80s ballads which fully embraced the cheap side of the synthesizer. Honestly, while possibly on trend – and clearly popular – Live to Tell sounds cheap. Madonna doesn’t sound cheap, for the first time she actually seems invested in the lyrics and her performance, but she’s singing over what sounds like a bad theme song to a mostly forgotten ’80s movie.

Granted, it is, I’m pretty sure At Close Range isn’t the most enduring piece of film history at this point – though you can get it for $8 in a double pack with State of Grace – in spite of a mustached Christopher Walken. The only reason we’re talking about the song right now is because it’s Madonna singing, but the song itself is normally the kind of thing that gets lost in the miasma of a previous decade’s pop culture. Still, it is a step forward for the singer, whatever the quality of the overall song.

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One Response to Madonna – Live to Tell

  1. RBerman says:

    Noteworthy things about this track:

    1) Talk about cheap, that music video consists of clips from the film plus classy Madonna with 40s hair and a Laura Ashley dress in a dark warehouse. Nice to see her selling the music with her voice instead of sexy dancing. As mentioned before, I dig these tracks on the bottom of her range.
    2) Video (and movie) prominently features her first husband, Sean Penn. I had forgotten the movie long ago, but not the song. Would the foreboding lyrics would make more sense if I’d seen the film?
    3) Chorus is double-length. Wonder if they ever experimented with making it Chorus A after one verse and Chorus B after the second verse, or somesuch.
    4) False ending from 2:50 to 3:05 before the bridge. False endings are rare enough in pop hits, but this one is especially long.

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