“I’m gonna break the cycle
I’m gonna shake up the system
I’m gonna destroy my ego
I’m gonna close my body now”
Taken from the album American Life
Also released on Die Another Day: Original Soundtrack, I’m Going To Tell You A Secret and Celebration
UK #3, US #8, AUS #11
One of the most polarizing Madonna singles among fans, ‘Die Another Day’ is a difficult, harsh record. It’s also one of my absolute favourites. I was twelve when it came out, and it was part of my introduction to electronic music, especially the hard dance style done so well here. Mixed with a stunning video, some wonderful spoken-word bits and some amazing remixes, ‘Die Another Day’ became a classic in my eyes.
I find James Bond films entertaining but I wouldn’t call myself a fan, and from that perspective my favourite thing about the franchise is the Bond themes. Predictably this one is my favourite, and I think it brings the series into the 21st century quite well, replacing sweeping strings and Shirley Bassey with cold, heavy beats, a mangled string sample and Madonna’s processed, clipped vocals.
And then there’s that video. I must have seen it a hundred times now, I can still never take my eyes away from the screen. Madonna plays some sort of prisoner of war, fighting and dancing and yoga-ing her way through broken glass and blood. Meanwhile, Evil Madonna fights Good Madonna in a fencing battle, which features a load of super-cool special effects. There’s a bit where one of the Madonna’s gets slashed in the stomach with a sword, and then prisoner Madonna suddenly reveals that she too has been cut. When she rubs the blood on the wall, it is one of the best bits of any Madonna video. When she escapes the electric chair at the end, leaving behind the Hebrew symbol for freedom, she runs away, but she’s also running from what a Bond theme “should” sound like, and the direction in which people expected her to go after Music. ‘Die Another Day’ was an absolute triumph – and even if you didn’t like it, it certainly got people talking.