Blog

The Madonna Timeline: Song #100 – ‘Nothing Fails’ – Spring 2003

{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’m in love with you, you silly thing
Anyone can see
What is it with you, you silly thing?
Just take it from me
 It was not a chance meeting
Feel my heart beating
You’re the one.

You could take all this, take it away
I’d still have it all
‘Cause I’ve climbed the tree of life
And that is why, no longer scared if I fall
When I get lost in space
I can return to this place
‘Cause, you’re the one
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
You washed away my tears
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
Nothing fails

In the grand tradition of ‘Like A Prayer’, both with its majestic chorus and its love-song-sentiment doubling as a spiritual declaration, ‘Nothing Fails’ is the 100th Madonna Timeline entry. From 2003’s ‘American Life’ album, this is one Madonna moment that should have gotten more recognition – as well as a proper release (even if I can’t imagine it on the radio).

In a single powerful chorus, Madonna strips a career of religious references away, not to mention centuries of beliefs, to reveal the core of the matter: religion is a man-made belief-system. Spirituality is founded upon love ~ love for the earth, for the universe, for other human beings ~ and love is its own religion.

I’m not religious
But I feel so moved
Makes me want to pray
Pray you’ll always be here

I was hoping that the 100th timeline might coincide with a more important milestone – instead, ‘Nothing Fails’ came at a relatively calm time: the start of spring 2003, when I was happily working in the Construction Management office at the Thruway Authority (an office of all gentlemen – God how I miss it), and the start of our second year in our current home, when things were finally settling down (and the remaining vestiges of 70’s carpet and wallpaper were at long last being excised). Those times of calm can often only be seen in retrospect, when one has the wisdom of distance. In my car, the ‘American Life’ album played on perpetual repeat, the latest incarnation of our Queen on hot and heavy rotation.

The song was a calming balm, a meditation on the infallibility and power of love. It was, like the best of Madonna’s work, an escape and a realization. Soaring on the growing chorus and rising strings, it carries the listener to a higher plane. The very best of music does that, taking you to a different space, a holier place, and somehow we are the better for it. Like most things having to do with Madonna, the journey was the reason. The way and the word.

I’m not religious
But I feel so moved
Makes me want to pray
Pray you’ll always be here
I’m not religious
But I feel such love
Makes me want to pray

For my part, I listened to it while driving to see friends, watching the budding trees rush by, or waiting for Andy to come to bed in the middle of the night. Shrouded in the mystery of love, the heart is also quelled by its power and force, the incontrovertible existence of emotion that has no discernible basis in scientific stats or concrete theories. Defying logic, forgetting reason, and flying in the face of fact, love fueled the human race. And when we didn’t know, when we couldn’t discern the workings of the heart, we created a system of beliefs to help us get our heads around it. Is that what religion originally was? Nothing more than a way of explaining science before we figured it all out on our own? I don’t know.

Sometimes I’m not even sure I know what love really is.

But sometimes… I am.

I’m not religious
But I feel so moved
I’m not religious
Makes me wanna pray
I’m not religious
But I feel so moved
I’m not religious
Makes me want to pray
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
You washed away my tears
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails.
Song #100 – ‘Nothing Fails’ – Spring 2003
Back to Blog
Back to Blog