My Top 10 Madonna Singles

Everything Else, pop culture

Madonna is undoubtably one of the biggest powerhouses in the music industry, and has been since she released her debut single back in 1982. Since then she has continuously reinvented herself, experimented in style and pumped out a collection of incredible studio albums. Her insatiable determination to dominate popular music has seen her become one of the worlds biggest icons of pop history, fashion, Hollywood and radio stations.

August 16th saw Madonna celebrate her 62nd birthday, so it only feels right to take a walk down memory lane and bask in the glory of some of her hits. So here are my top 10 Madonna singles;

10. Ghosttown- Rebel Heart

In my opinion, Ghosttown didn’t get the attention it deserved upon its release in 2015. It’s certainly one of Madonna’s less commercially renowned singles, but this doesn’t reflect on the quality of the song. The production and vocal delivery behind the track are marvellous and the music itself sounds like a modern and well crafted ballad. Demonstrably coming from a more technically matured Madonna since her Like A Virgin days. It’s cinematic music video fits perfectly with the track and shows a dystopian Madonna surviving through a post apocalyptic world and eventually dancing through the wreckage in a stunning dance sequence. An underrated gem.

9. Express Yourself – Like A Prayer

This upbeat song comes from Madonna’s Like A Prayer album and encouraged women everywhere to never settle for second best. It was also the opening song to her famous Blond Ambition tour, as she appeared on stage shouting “Do you believe in love?” to the audience, while donning her notorious ‘cone bra’ corset. The single is a deep funk and pop creation and it’s lyrics celebrate female empowerment. It’s thought to have inspired many of today’s female music artists with its feminist message.

8. Music – Music

If I think back to the year 2000, this song perfectly sums up my pre-teen years. Getting home from school, the video to this song was on TV and turning on the radio meant listening to Music on repeat. It was also the only CD single I wanted to buy in HMV to go in my discman. Madonna had reinvented her image once again to release this dance record and it immediately became one of the sounds of the early noughties. The video of course featured (a then pregnant) Madonna living it up heading to clubs in a gold limousine, driven by Ali G, while dressed in a white fur coat and a cowboy hat. As you do.

7. Material Girl – Like A Virgin

Material Girl’s video saw Madonna strutting her stuff in a Marilyn Monroe influenced role. Draped in diamonds and a fancy pink dress, she could have any man she wanted – and his money. Material Girl was a stamp of power in Madonna’s career and was one of the songs that established her as the icon she is today. The electronic sounding vocals and synth arrangement of the track still give it a futuristic feel, even though it was released over 35 years ago. The song is a pinnacle of pop music and continues to have a strong influence on the genre today.

6. Like A Prayer – Like A Prayer

“When you call my name it’s like a little prayer”. Madonna certainly had us down on our knees as she took us there. Like A Prayer is one of M’s best known songs and received critical acclaim across the globe after its release in 1989. Unlike some of her other releases, this single speaks of her relationship with God as she praises him as, well, Godly. Of course, the song could have other meanings depending on how you listen to it, but it’s rooted in religion. The video for the song caused deep controversy as it featured Madonna steamily kissing a black saint in church and the burning of some Ku Klux Klan-esque crucifixes. All heavy stuff that lead to the Vatican having a big fall out with our Madge.

5. Frozen – Ray of Light

Frozen is in my top 10 Madonna singles because it’s, for want of a better word, a bit weird. It doesn’t sound like anything else and seems like it should have been on the soundtrack to some sort of Sci-Fi film, even though it never was. It makes me think of Madonna as some kind of ice powered super villain, and to be honest I think she’d nail that role! It’s haunting and creepy and the closest thing I can think to compare it to would be ‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister. It’s peak Madonna giving us a different, spooky, reinvention of herself. The ballad was her first single to debut at number 1 in the UK charts and it’s video features a gothic style Madonna using a black veil to mimic contortionism and shape shifting into a flock of crows. Whew.

4. Miles Away – Hard Candy

Though Miles Away is possibly one of Madonna’s lesser known single releases, at least outside of her dedicated fandom, it’s one of my favourites. It comes from her Hard Candy album and was possibly a bit overshadowed by the highly successful collaboration with Justin Timberlake on their single 4 Minutes, which also features on the same album. Miles Away is much softer and easy to listen to. It’s catchy chorus gives a dreamy vibe and it’s acoustic/electro backing lets it linger gorgeously in my mind for the rest of the day after listening to it. The song is apparently autobiographical and talks about long distance relationships.

3. Secret – Bedtime Stories

Secret is Madonna’s lead 1994 single from her Bedtime Stories album. It was a step away from her more dance influenced early pop tracks and combined sultry melodic vocals with mid tempo accents. It had more of an R&B persuasion then her previous work and gave yet another side to Madonna’s ongoing discography. The chilled out, yet melancholic, song offers a gentler and slightly more vulnerable side to the queen of pop.

2. Papa Don’t Preach – True Blue

The strong opening chords of Papa Don’t Preach and the eclectic mix of acoustic, string and electric instrumentals throughout, have given this moderate tempo single a fresh and original sound since it’s release in 1986. The track and it’s innovative lyrics offer something that I’ve certainly never heard in another pop song. It focusses on a father daughter relationship and tells the story of the daughter finding out that she has become pregnant at a young age, asking her Papa for love and support. “Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep. Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep”. Madonna also famously dedicated this song to Pope John Paul II, after he urged Italian fans to boycott her concerts.

1. Vogue – I’m Breathless

I’ve chosen Vogue as my number one Madonna song because, quite simply, it’s iconic. When you think of Madonna you think of the Vogue dance moves that still storm dance floors and influence modern dance today, as well as the unmistakable “Come on, vogue!” chorus line. Both the choreography and the song were influenced by the Harlem ballroom scene, and it’s said that Madonna wanted to highlight and celebrate this phenomenon, born from the African American and Latino LGBTQ drag community. It was the best selling single of 1990 and has proved timeless in the realm of pop music. The stylish black and music video is one of the most recognisable music videos since MTV launched in the 80s and continues to provide a source of power and inspiration for many within the LGBTQ community today.

*Madonna’s studio albums are available across streaming services now. Please note that I do not own the images used in this article.

Lady Gaga And Ariana Grande Released Their Anticipated Collab And I Have Thoughts

pop culture

There’s nothing I enjoy more than pop queens coming together to release an unarguable bop. So a few weeks ago when Lady Gaga first revealed the song list for her sixth studio album, Chromatica, myself and millions of other pop loving fans screeched with joy as we realised that Gaga was collaborating in a song with none other than Ariana Grande.

Rain on Me artwork

The song, titled Rain on Me, was released yesterday, the 22nd May. Which, of course, was also the third anniversary of the tragic Manchester Arena bombing, as one of Ariana Grande’s concerts ended. This didn’t escape me, as I was inside Manchester Arena when the bombing occurred, and it is still something that I, and many others that were at Ariana’s concert that night, still deal with today. The anniversary is a strange and sad day, and it seemed particularly poignant this year as the UK is still in lockdown, and learning to cope with a new way of life. So, I was particularly eager to hear the song, and I knew this wasn’t something that Ariana Grande wouldn’t take lightly.

I played the song on Tidal yesterday as soon as I woke up, and was really relieved by what I heard. For Gaga, the song very much takes me back to her Just Dance days, enjoying pop music for what it is and her debut elaborate fashion and makeup that first introduced us to her. It was also really nice to see Lady Gaga just being Gaga.

She hasn’t hidden her struggle with a medical condition called Fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, over the last few years. She also spoke to Zane Lowe in a recent interview and said “… this song ‘Rain On Me,’ the lyrics that I wrote right here in this studio, ‘I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive. Rain on me.’ This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me. Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers”. It’s safe to say that Lady G has had her fair share of struggles that she’s been dealing with. So, it’s cathartic to see her doing what she does best and killing it.

Artwork for Rain on Me

As for Ariana, it felt a little bit more personal for me as I feel like I also share a little bit of my own trauma with her after the Manchester attack. Since then, Ariana has also had to deal with a number of personal upheavals, including the tragic passing of her late partner, Mac Miller. She’s been very open in her struggles with anxiety and her journey with mental health and healing since what happened in Manchester. So, to me, Rain on Me very much reminded me of Ari’s single No Tears Left to Cry, which was the first single she released after the attack and was notably upbeat and inspiring, rather than sad. Ariana has monumentally used music as healing tool for both herself and her fans. This was shown when she organised the One Love Manchester concert to raise money for victims and bring the people of Manchester together, through her whole Sweetener album, and then again on her following album, thank U, next.

Ariana wrote on her Instagram page of her collaboration with Lady Gaga; “…i met a woman who knew pain the way i did… who cried the same way i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me. she then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of chromatica and together, we got to express how beautiful and healing it feels to mothafuckinnnn cry ! I hope this makes you all feel as uplifted as it does for us both”.

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga

Rain on Me includes lyrics such as “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive”, and “I only asked you to show me a real good time, I never asked for the rainfall”. It’s a dance fuelled, pop music celebration of healing after tragedy and heartbreak. It invites Gaga and Grande fans to feel liberated in forgetting their troubles, even if it’s just for three minutes and two seconds, and just enjoy the music and have a good time in the face of adversity.

In terms of the music itself, it’s just what the world needs right now. Two of the planets biggest female stars teaming up for a girl power inspired, high energy, feel good tune. With an incredible music video and learnable dance moves that are also absolutely iconic. Who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their lives right now?

Lady Gaga’s sixth album, Chromatica, will be released on 29th May 2020.

Little Mix’s Rise to Pop Domination

pop culture

Little Mix are one of today’s best known all female pop groups. Their catchy bops and fun personalities have helped their music career to skyrocket, as well as becoming a household name.

Made up of Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, both hailing from South Shields, as well as Leigh-Anne Pinnock from High Wycombe and Jesy Nelson from Romford. It’s rare that you turn on mainstream radio or music channels without hearing something from the girls, and their popularity only grows stronger.

They’re expected to release a new album soon, and have already released their lead single from it, titled ‘Break Up Song’. Fans, like me, are definitely excited for their new work!

After being in the spotlight for nearly 9 years now, the girls have created a great discography and some amazing moments in pop history. So, let’s take a look at how Little Mix came to be one of the biggest pop bands of our time;

2011

Little Mix, little mixers, X factor, Little Mix X factor, pop music, pop charts, UK music, Little Mix fans

The girls met while all taking part in The X Factor, but were put together as a group after auditioning as soloists, and went on to be mentored in the series by Tulisa Contostavlos.

The band were originally called Rhythmix, but changed the name to Little Mix as there was a charity called the same name.

The girls won The X Factor in December 2011 and became the first group to ever win the competition!

2012

Little Mix, Little mixers, pop music, UK pop music, pop charts, Little mix live, Little Mix 2012, old school Little Mix, Little Mix X factor,  X factor

Little Mix attended the Brit Awards for the first time as a group. The girls said in an interview with Kiss FM that they were star struck by all the different celebrities there.

They also performed their cover of En Vogue’s single Don’t Let Go live on the National Television Awards that year.

The foursome released their debut album titled DNA a few months later. The album charted in the top 10 in 10 different countries!

The video for the albums lead single, Wings, has now had over 200 million views on YouTube.

2013

Little mix, little mixers, Little Mix live, X Factor, X Factor Little Mix, pop music, UK pop music, old school Little Mix, Little Mix performing

Little Mix released the last single from their first album, How Ya Doin’, featuring hip hop legend Missy Elliott.

They followed this by releasing their second album, which was heavily anticipated by the pop music industry. Salute, featuring it’s lead single, Move, reached the top 10 in the UK, Australia and the US.

Smash Hits interviewed the band and Perrie confessed that they had only had 12 days in the studio to record all of the vocals for the full Salute album.

The girls also performed a medley of their songs for Children in Need Rocks and won their first official award after being nominated for the Ultimate Export award at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman Awards.

2014

In 2014 Little Mix released a charity single, their cover of Word Up by Cameo, for Sport Relief. They also travelled to Liberia to raise awareness for malaria and visited communities there living in slums to highlight why Sport Relief’s fundraising efforts are so important.

They embarked on their second tour, The Salute Tour, across the UK and Ireland. Including a sold out show at London’s 02 Arena, which they have now performed at numerous times since.

It’s also the year that Jesy Nelson’s ‘Jamaican accent’ went viral on YouTube and the world fell in love with her for it – though she later confirmed that it wasn’t actually her Jamaican accent but the video had been edited to make it look like it was!

The girls also performed live at the Summertime Ball for Capital FM, where they have become popular regular performers each year.

2015

Little Mix, Little Mixers, pop music, pop music UK, UK music, Little Mix Newcastle, Little Mix tour, Little mix Live, X Factor, X Factor Little Mix, tickets in newcastle

Black Magic was released as the lead single for their third album. The single debuted at number 1 where it stayed for 3 weeks.

Their third album Get Weird was released later that year and featured their single Secret Love Song, which the band have often dedicated to their LGBTQ fan base.

The album has since been certified double platinum in the UK!

2016

Little Mix, Little Mixers, Little Mix 2016, tickets in Newcastle, Little Mix Newcastle, UK music, UK pop music, pop music, X Factor, X Factor Little Mix

Little Mix received critical acclaim for their debut performance at The Brit Awards, singing their chart topping song Black Magic.

They also went on their third headline tour, doing over 60 dates in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.

After performing the lead single for their fourth album, Shout Out To My Ex, for the first time on The X Factor, the band announced their new album, named Glory Days. The lead single became their fourth UK number 1 in the charts.

Glory Days was also Little Mix’s first UK number 1 album!

2017

Little Mix, Little mixers, Little Mix fans, Little Mix tour, Little Mix Newcastle, Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall, tickets in Newcastle, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, pop music, pop music UK, X Factor, Little Mix x factor

The band won Best British Single at the Brit Awards for Shout Out To My Ex.

Little Mix then toured with Ariana Grande in the US as her support act for her Dangerous Woman Tour, before headlining their own Glory Days Tour in Europe.

Little Mix also performed at One Love Manchester, which raised money for the tragedy at Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017.

The girls also collaborated with CNCO for their single Reggaetón Lento, which has arguably become one of their most popular songs for radio airplay.

2018

Little Mix, Little Mixers, Little Mix tour, Little Mix fashion, Little Mix live, tickets in Newcastle, Little Mix Newcastle, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall, pop music, UK pop music, X factor, Little mix x factor

The girls held a Summer Hits Tour across stadiums, including the North East’s own Gateshead Stadium.

The band released their fifth studio album, LM5, which included the single Woman Like Me, featuring acclaimed rapper Nicki Minaj. They performed the single with Nicki at the MTV European Music Video Awards.

They also released the video for their song Strip, which had a strong feminist undertone and featured women from many different backgrounds. Including Sharaya J, Dina Torkia and Nimco Ali.

2019

Little Mix, Little mixers, Little Mix Newcastle, Little Mix live, Little Mix fans, Little Mix Pretty Little thing, Little Mix fashion, Little Mix clothes, tickets in Newcastle, pop music , UK pop music, X factor, Little Mix X factor, Little Mix album, shout out to my ex, salute, glory days, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock

After success with their 5th album, Little Mix performed at The Brit Awards for the third time, where they also won the award for British Artist Video of the Year.

The band controversially performed in Dubai with a pride flag behind them while singing Secret Love Song, despite the country having strict anti homosexuality laws. They received praise from the LGBTQ community for their support.

Jesy worked with the BBC on a documentary titled Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, which focussed on her battle with self confidence and how being cyber bullied online has effected her. The documentary was widely praised by fans and the public.

Perrie was announced as a patron for the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, and has used her platform to spread awareness of the importance of checking yourself regularly for breast cancer symptoms.

Leigh-Anne and Jade took part in an epic trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, raising thousands of pounds for Comic Relief.

Jade also expanded her entrepreneurial skills last year and purchased a cocktail bar in her home town of South Shields.

Little Mix released their single Bounce Back, which samples Soul || Souls hit Back to Life, as well as their very first Christmas single One I’ve Been Missing.

The girls topped off their busy year by releasing a special collection fashion line with online retailer Pretty Little Thing.

2020

Little Mix, Little Mix 2020, latest Little Mix, Little Mixers, Little Mix fans, Little Mix album, Little Mix new album, Little Mix new single, tickets in Newcastle, Little Mix Newcastle, Little Mix Tour, Little Mix live, Little Mix Break Up song,  Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, pop music, UK pop music, Little Mix 6th album, Little Mix gossip, Little Micx new music, X Factor, Little Mix X factor, Little Mix South Shields, Little Mix geordies

Little Mix have just released their brand new single Break Up Song, and their sixth album is hotly anticipated.

They have also announced that they will be filming their own talent competition in 2020, titled The Search.

The girls do have an upcoming summer tour released too, however dates may need to be postponed due to the ongoing situation. For more details, check our Little Mix’s tour information on Ticketmaster.

There’s certainly much more to come from Little Mix, and I can’t wait to listen to their new album!

The girls have done so well, and have proven time and time again that they’re not only band mates but actually good friends with down to earth personalities as well. Well, with two Geordie girls in the band what else would you expect?