33. Madonna – ‘Frozen’ (1998)

“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
You’re frozen
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.

Music video:

2 Responses to “33. Madonna – ‘Frozen’ (1998)”

  1. Rabbitbunny Says:

    Once again, Madonna achieved another breakthrough-the squeaky chirp of Everybody and Material Girl was gone and banished forever. In its place-her voice, while beautiful still-had become operatic-was a new seriousness, liberation and vitality in her singing-and the striking ambient ballad Frozen was the perfect vehicle to do it with. Frozen took the Evita approach a step further by crying even more genuine, honest and heartfelt. In the ballad Madonna asks all of us to open up and to love again despite our differences. “You’re frozen when your Heart’ not open, she cries to each of us and at first glance it’s easy to be saddened by that thought. But look closer, she draws us all in the Ciccone Ballad Dance-“If I could melt your Heart/We’d never be apart/Give yourself to me/You hold the key, she cries and the comparisons to the earlier Artwork Open Your Heart should not end there. Frozen is such a beautiful ballad that the Ciccone Artwork makes me cry. The later ballad Nothing Fails should also be referenced. When I heard Madonna do Frozen at Verizon Center, I couldn’t help but feel extremely moved and Touched by the art song. At the end of Frozen, Madonna again Cries “If I could melt your Heart…”-and again she is Loved by us and we are loved by her in return. An extremely beautiful and heartwarming song-with Frozen, Madonna sends us all-to quote Van Morrison-Into the Mystic because as Van the Man himself wrote in that song, for Madonna Ciccone-It’s Too late to stop now-she’ll never stop being Loved and That’s Why All off Us Love Her! Frozen is brilliance!

  2. QThomasBower Says:

    This is the song that convinced me focused determination could actually lead to talent… not just skill.

    Early in her career, I had little time for Madonna. As she moved into Express Yourself and Vogue, I enjoyed her with reservation. Compared to the giant talents of Kate and Annie, her shock approach to being a singer songwriter felt uninspired.

    From this song on, that all changed.

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