Madonna – This Used To Be My Playground

First Hit #1: August 8, 1992

Madonna doesn’t seem to like this song. It doesn’t show up on her greatest hits compilations, she doesn’t perform it in concert. It’s strange, because it’s actually a pretty good little song, a nostalgic ode to lost good times, a perfect fit for the nostalgic but appealing A League of their Own, which Madonna also starred in.

However, it makes sense why Madonna isn’t all that enamored with the song, it’s clearly a work for hire project. At the time, she was in the middle of her sexy sex period, releasing Sex, recording Erotica, finally discovering the limits to how far she can push the envelope – she gets delightfully pissy about the very negative reaction to this on the follow up album, in fact – and here was a song and film that was, well, wholesome. She might have written and recorded the song, but it’s a track that is very different to where her head was at during 1992. It’s not trying to push the envelope at all, it’s a very sweet but somewhat quaint song. It doesn’t matter that it’s still quite good, and it shows Madonna in appealing balladeer mode. It’s probably not as ambitious as she would like to be, and it’s a song that’s much more about the script of the film than anything Madonna was interested in at the time, but she does an excellent job with the song, and she makes a ballad that doesn’t quite dive into the typical production tricks. Like a lot of soundtrack hits dismissed by the bands that recorded them, it’s good, but it’s not personal, and as a result they seem to dismiss an otherwise quality song.

Incidentally, this post goes out on my sister’s birthday, and A League of their Own is one of her favorite movies.

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2 Responses to Madonna – This Used To Be My Playground

  1. RBerman says:

    Madonna was in quite a few movies and released quite a few soundtrack singles, most of which made it onto her greatest hits. But this one is neither on her first greatest hits (which went up through 1991) nor the second one (1992-2001). It’s a low-pitched soundtrack ballad in the vein of “Crazy For You.” Its nostalgia is not wistful, just regretful, a rare emotion for her work, especially when used to imply powerlessness in the face of larger forces.

  2. It’s not one of my faves, it has to be said. A bit schmaltzy. But testament to her different styles…

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