200. Madonna – ‘Borderline’ (1983)

“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.

Music video:

Sticky & Sweet Tour 2008:

One Response to “200. Madonna – ‘Borderline’ (1983)”

  1. Rabbitbunny Says:

    Oh, where do I start? Where do I begin with this one? Lady Madonna didn’t write Borderline but she sure as hell has lived it. The song is itself harrowing because Our Lady has cried of and about love that never gets there or anywhere. Lady Madge is on the Nowhere Road-Exit Zero and she sure ain’t never satisfied. She’s reaching for her guns-to hell with the consequences. Maddy is trapped in an America that she can’t reach and can’t escape because she has lost at love. Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie pushed Madonna over the Borderline one too many times and way too often. They will pay for what they did to her-Madonna is someone who has been hurt and is extremely vulnerable. I can hear her devastation, hurt, suffering, pain and loss in Borderline. By the time
    the rocker ends with that pink and white loud guitar, all I can say is this
    -This raging metal rocker is what rock & roll is supposed to sound like. Time’s up-game over. Once again, Madonna wins.

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