“Now there’s no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you, my heart will be broken
Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
When your heart’s not open”
Written by Patrick Leonard/Madonna
Produced by William Orbit/Patrick Leonard/Madonna
Taken from the album Ray Of Light
Also released on GHV2 and Celebration
UK #1, US #2, AUS #5
As mentioned in the previous article for Cher’s ‘Believe’, 1997 and 1998 were years of re-invention for the leading women of pop music. Kylie had gone “indie” for Impossible Princess, Janet released an introspective, difficult record in The Velvet Rope and Madonna came back with her most radical shift yet. Last seen in the film version of Evita and last heard on the chilled Bedtime Stories and Something To Remember albums, Madonna made her return as a gothic-style witch with an epic electronic ballad that sounded nothing like what she had done before.
There were signs – like the single ‘Bedtime Story’ – that Madonna would move into a more experimental electronic direction, but I don’t think anyone expected the results to be this beautiful or adventurous. Motherhood had been the ultimate inspiration for Madonna, and the Ray Of Light album reflected that, and ‘Frozen’ is the work of new inspiration, of new horizons, less boundaries and creative rebirth. William Orbit’s expansive, cinematic production was the perfect landscape for Madonna’s New Voice to work on, to discover. “Give yourself to me, you hold the key” she sings, following on from themes first explored in 1986’s ‘Open Your Heart’, but present here was a different artist.
Integral to the success and legend of ‘Frozen’ is the Chris Cunningham video, which featured Madonna with long black hair, channeling Morticia Addams but taking it much more seriously. Her new witch-inspired persona made lines like “if I could melt your heart” sound less like the pleas of a lover and more like a threat. It worked stunningly well with the song, and now the images and sounds are inseperable in my mind, perhaps moreso than any other Madonna song/video combination. The biggest hit from Ray Of Light, ‘Frozen’ has become one of Madonna’s most loved ballads and most iconic visual moments, but more importantly, one of her greatest creative achievements.