Madonna – Bad Girl

Despite being a firm fan favorite (and probably my favorite Madonna album) – Erotica took years before it slowly began to garner respect for the music contained on it. Many of the songs on Erotica rank as some of Madonna’s absolute best, and Bad Girl is no different. A largely forgotten single but it remains a hidden gem and is backed up by one of her greatest videos. One of the great strengths about Erotica is that it isn’t an album that sounds like how you would expect and Bad Girl is a prime example of this. From the title of both song and album you’d expect Bad Girl to be brash, sexy and vibrant (much like the lady herself). It’s not quite like that. The song is a mournful ballad actually. The narrator of the song is deeply hurt over a relationship that although has ran it’s natural course she is struggling to move on from. Her defense mechanisms against the hurt and the pain is to drink & smoke excessively and sleep around in various one night stands. All of which is extremely self destructive behavior. It becomes a vicious cycle really as the narrator is well aware that her behavior is ultimately not going to get her anywhere and if anything it makes her even worse – thus making her employ these various coping mechanisms even more and so forth. Ultimately the song’s core theme is self destruction. It’s far removed from being in any way a sensual song. If anything it’s the counterbalance: it highlights that love can consume us in the best possible way but in this case its the worst possible way. Every time I listen to this song I get a feeling the only conclusion is self destruction. The video only serves to highlight that too. The video probably does enhance the song to an extent (although it’s still a great song regardless.) I will dissect the video in another post but in short I honestly think its one of the best music videos ever. Sadly the Erotica controversy dented single/album sales and it became Madonna’s first single to not make it into the top 20 in her native US. It fared better in the UK (reaching #10) but that was still slightly lower than usual and on a worldwide basis the song wasn’t as a big a success as previous singles. It fell off the UK chart rather quickly which caused Fever to be released as a UK single only a month later. Sadder still the song has never featured in any of Madonna’s tours – it only was ever performed on her January 1993 Saturday Night Live appearance. It’s a truly fantastic song that I wish received more attention, as it is probably one of her best ballads!

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