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The Madonna Timeline: Song #43– ‘Hung Up’ – Fall 2005

{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.}

Time goes by so slowly,
Time goes by so slowly,
Time goes by so slowly…

Madonna has never made her impatience a secret, yet considering that by 2005 she was two decades into her career, I’m not sure how she figures time goes by so slowly. That Fall she released the lead-off single ‘Hung Up’ for the non-stop dance-a-thon Confessions On A Dancefloor. After the floppy failure of the under-rated albeit dour American Life in 2003, she went back to the well that has always produced gold – the dance floor – and it resulted in her biggest international smash of the decade, propelling her to another #1 album.

Time goes by so slowly for those who wait,
No time to hesitate.
Those who run seem to have all the fun.
I’m caught up, I don’t know what to do.

Making the most of its pricey Abba sample, ‘Hung Up’ is a disco diva’s dream, and fittingly became a dance anthem and immediate staple in Madonna’s repertoire. Lyrically it’s a bit weak – and I’ll go so far as to say disappointingly lazy. (The opening is a word-for-word rip-off of her own ‘Love Song’ from the Like A Prayer album, though the similarities end there.)

Every little thing that you say or do,
I’m hung up – I’m hung up on you.
Waiting for your call, baby, night and day,
I’m fed up, I’m tired of waiting on you.
Ring ring ring goes the telephone,
The lights are on but there’s no one home,
Tick tick tock, it’s a quarter to two, I’m done, I’m hanging up on you.

It’s fun the first few times you hear it, then you begin to wonder whether her youngest child had a hand in writing some of the lines. No matter, it’s the music and the driving beat that really move this song. Nobody does a pop-dance song better than Madonna, and with her Saturday Night Fever homage in the video for the song, nobody does pop culture references like her either.

With a few clever flips of her sausage curl hair, she channels Farrah Fawcett and John Travolta in one fell swoop, bringing the disco back to the clubs, and the glitzy glamour of Studio 54 back to the world. Her look was fun, bouncy, jubilant – and the sound was a celebration of the simple joys of dance music. If it was nothing too profound, it still felt good, and after the darkness of American Life, it was exactly what her fans needed.

I can’t keep on waiting for you.
I know that you’re still hesitating.
Don’t cry for me, cause I’ll find my way.
You’ll wake up one day, but it’ll be too late.

Shakespeare it’s not, I’ll grant you that. In fact, lyrically and musically that may be one of her weakest bridges – and though she’s got some big-time bridges, that’s no excuse. Also, at this point it’s overplayed its welcome on my ears – for a year or two this was her go-to-performance for promo and award shows – but for the time it was epic. I mean, it’s Madonna and Abba. And who didn’t roll their fists along with that choreography?

Every little thing that you say or do,
I’m hung up – I’m hung up on you.
Waiting for your call, baby, night and day,
I’m fed up, I’m tired of waiting on you.

It came out as the party season was just getting into swing. It was just before the holidays, and a new Madonna album meant a rollicking good time, aurally at least, and Confessions did not let anyone down. To this day, it’s the perfect record to put on when you’re about to go out for a night on the town, in those moments when you’re choosing your outfit, getting dressed up and determining your glamour quotient. The anticipatory excitement that is so good all you want to do is dance…

Time goes by so slowly
Song #43: ‘Hung Up’– Fall 2005
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