The Madonna Timeline: Song #11 – ‘Justify My Love’

{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

I wanna kiss you in Paris,
I wanna hold your hand in Rome,
I wanna make love on a train… cross-country…


This came out in December of 1990, and as I was not yet a superfan, I don’t remember much about when the big brouhaha went down. The MTV ban, the Nightline premiere and interview, and video’s commercial release – missed it all. To be honest, I never much liked the song (where exactly is the song?) It seems more of a simple recitation of mildly erotic lyrics set to a mediocre percolating beat, with nary a glimpse of melody. I like songs that have a bit more substance to them.

Of course, ‘Justify’ was all about the video, and it remains a not-that-naughty bit of soft-porn, S&M-tinged pop art that looks rather quaint today. (And features the timelessly hot piece of ass known as Tony Ward, for which the term bubble-butt seems perfectly made.)

(Surely this post deserves a bit of the butt of the man who caught Madonna’s eye – an eye that sometimes favors body over face. It’s nice to see that Mr. Ward still fills out his briefs like nobody’s business.)

I do think the remixes of this song (one of the first times William Orbit worked on her stuff, I believe) are superior to the source material – and the one version I came to enjoy was her performance of the song on The Girlie Show Tour in 1993. (And only the end, when the actual singing began.)

Some have pointed to ‘Justify My Love’ as the seed that resulted in the Sex/Erotica debacle, and that may be true. Personally, I don’t care how sexy you get as long as you have a catchy tune to put it over – for me, ‘Justify’ wasn’t it.

Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.

Song #11: ‘Justify My Love’ – December 1990

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