“Remember I was very young then
And a year was forever and a day
So what use could fifty, sixty, seventy be?
I saw the lights, and I was on my way
And how I lived, how they shone
But how soon the lights were gone”
Taken from the album Evita: Original Soundtrack
How odd, to have Antonio Banderas in my top 1001 songs of all time. But this piece, the final song in Evita, is vocally and melodically stunning, a fitting conclusion to an amazing story and a fantastic musical. I probably would never have watched the film had Madonna not been involved but it is a really well written soundtrack with a lot of quality songs. ‘Lament’ is the very best, not just because of it’s use in the film but the way it relates to Madonna and how she’s used it since.
In the film, her performance is fragile, as Evita is on her deathbed. Unable to give a big vocal performance, she must wrench every bit of emotion from the lyrics, and she does so surprisingly well. And those lyrics are truly amazing, especially for just two verses – they not only encapsulate Evita’s story but part of Madonna’s as well. Antonio’s verse concludes the film, and with a ghostly vocal reference to ‘Rainbow High’, the story is over.
The version of ‘Lament’ that put it on this list, however, is the version from 2004’s Re-Invention tour. Able now to break character completely and give a huge, over-the-top performance of the song, using all the power her voice can muster, ‘Lament’ becomes one of the most harrowing and meaningful songs in Madonna’s entire discography – and it wasn’t written about her or for her. She owns every note, giving one of her finest ever vocal performances, dispelling every claim that she “cannot sing”. The song is a pretty magic moment, I have to say, and a great bridge between actress Madonna and musician Madonna.