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    Chosen time

    What I love most about Madonna as a lyricist is her inventiveness with language, the way she’s constantly stretching her idiolect to accommodate new contours in her idiosyncratic inner world.

    For example, this is the chorus to “I Love New York” from the new album:

    Other cities always make me mad
    Other places always make me sad
    No other city ever made me glad
    Except New York
    I love New York

    It’s like you’re privy to her most private thoughts, huh?

    Okay, enough with the deadpanning. WTF? I could have written that. In fact, I think I did write it–in first grade when Miss Cramer gave us an assignment that was, like, “Write a poem describing where you’ll live after you grow up and decide you’re too fabulous for the Lehigh Valley.” Maybe Lourdes was helping Mommy at work that day?

    Madonna’s intelligence is generally, uh, of the non-verbal variety, and that’s okay–she’s a musician and dancer primarily. Her lyrics are almost never graceful–she likes clunky metaphors and lines that scan dicily–but when she’s at her best, they’re punchy and immediate. Frequently (as above), she’s at both her best and her worst in the space of the same song. Of course, maddeningly enough, I love “I Love New York” to death. It’s just, I swear I can feel that chorus making me dumber every time I hear it.

    5 Responses to “Chosen time”

    1. Mark Alger says:

      I apologize in advance, but I’ve always thought of Madonna as the ultimate one-hit wonder. After “Like a Virgin,” it was all downhill.

      Never understood her appeal.


    2. Mark says:

      And don’t forget the best/worst part: she rhymes New York with “dork.” I love it, too. :-)

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Yeah, the verses are a scream. They get funnier as they go, too. The first time I listened to the song, I laughed out loud.

    4. Alan says:

      Ever since I heard this song a week ago, I haven’t been able to stop asking myself how and why this song was given the green light. I can only rationalize that it was released as some sort of ironic jab at the music industry.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      I somehow doubt that anyone ever is allowed to say no to Madonna. If someone did, it would get around that he was the one who’d kept a song off her new album, and a pack of fans would maul him.

      It’s pretty obvious, from listening to it, that the silliness is intentional. I don’t think that excuses everything, though; and I like your explanation better, since it gives everything a nice subtext.

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