“I don’t want to be your prisoner
So baby won’t you set me free”
Taken from the album Madonna
Also released on The Immaculate Collection and Celebration
UK #2, US #10, AUS #12
What better way to herald the arrival of the top 200 than with a gorgeous Madonna midtempo? There’s the delicate intro, Madonna’s strongest vocal performance (up until that time, anyway), and just simply one of the best written pop songs I’ve ever heard. Everything about ‘Borderline’ is more mature than Madonna had been previously, it was of a stunningly high quality, and is melodically sublime.
‘Borderline’ was probably the moment Madonna was established as not just a few-hits wonder – it showed a depth to her not previously seen, and it was a lot better than ‘Holiday’, ‘Burning Up’, ‘Everybody’ and ‘Lucky Star’ – which were all amazing, but not this amazing. This contains a little bit of Motown pop sensibility, a little bit of a disco rhythm, a strong chorus and even stronger verses. The ad-libs are also a highlight.
As great as it was musically, the images tied to ‘Borderline’ are just as important. The video is so very eighties, and so very Madonna. Everyone remembers the bit where Madonna the model spraypaints her photographer sugar daddy’s car, and the bit where she kicks the pole always stands out in my memory. The little bits always stand out for me in Madonna videos, and ‘Borderline’ is full of them. It’s the best song on Madonna’s classic debut.
Sticky & Sweet Tour 2008: