Music to walk to – occasional song of the day #2


Madonna – Miles Away

I actually cannot stand Madonna. Bar a few of her early songs (and Frozen) I have just never ‘got’ her. Her voice isn’t great, music is just okay and she comes off as trying too hard. She’s a bit embarrasing. Hands up who else shuddered inwardly at those pictures of her advertising a bag using her crotch? Even though the first thing I thought when I saw the uproar about these pictures was that if a man was to do the same, people would just be fawning over his ‘package’, but still. Madonna is how old now? 50? Growing old gracefully is obviously not her thing, but then who ever expected her to grow old gracefully? Point is, I think she should be a bit more graceful, a bit more refined. It’s not pretty really, is it? And just think of her children – poor Lourdes must be dying of embarrassment.
She’s powered on through her 40s, continuing to make music and reinvent herself, and for the most part it’s been quite successful. Like I’ve already mentioned,Frozen, from her terrific Ray of Light album, is one of my favourite songs and it came after the period many thought she was at her best. Confessions On A Dancefloor was released in 2005 and if you look past the embarrassing leotards, it was a really good album, and spawned the #1 hit Hung Up, which reached #1 in 45 countries and featured that fantastic ABBA sample. Evidently, she’s still got ‘it’.

Miles Away was the third single from her newest album Hard Candy and basically sank without a trace. It entered the UK charts at number 39, which even in this age of downloads and erratic chart positions is pretty bad, especially for such an established artist. It was released shortly after her divorce from Guy Ritchie, which did her no favours, especially not in the UK. Combining the negative press she received in the aftermath of the divorce (for her alleged affairs and crazy religious ways) and the fact that the song itself is meant to be about Ritchie, it never looked like it was going to go Madonna’s way.

The song is my OSOTD because I realised today that it is rather good to walk to. No, seriously. My regular busstop has closed for a while and so now I have to walk about half a mile to the next one. I stuck this on today and it was wonderful the walk to – it has a great pace and beat, something I find to be true for most of the Hard Candyalbum, as crap as I think that album may be you have to admit that Timbaland/Timbaland-clone producers has a knack for producing really good beats (stop me before I sound like a hip hop fan)
The guitar is a nice touch as well, especially at the start before the drums kick in. However the thing I like most about this song is how mournful and bitter Madonna sounds while singing it. It is said that the song is about her relationship with Guy Ritchie, and how sick she was of a long distance relationship (with him being in the UK and her in the US)
It ranges from spitting with bitterness as she sings “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you” to a certain sadness as she says how “Those three words are never enough, when it’s long distance love“. If it is about her (estranged) husband, she doesn’t cover it up very well. She even said that the song was inspired by Guy, which really doesn’t sound good considering the chorus consists of “you always love me more when we’re miles away”.

It’s definitely the highlight of Hard Candy, which was so bland and uninspired. She was trying to ‘get down with the kids’ by hiring help from Timberlake, Timbaland and Pharell but ended up sounding awkward and like she was just acting too much (for anyone that’s seen Spirited Away, you’ll know thats not a good thing). For the majority of the album she sounds like she’s trying to be something she’s not. Miles Away sounds like a glimpse beneath the mask, however small.


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