The Madonna Timeline: Song #103 – ‘More’ – Summer/Holidays 1990

{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.}

Once upon a time I had plenty of nothing,
Which was fine with me.
Because I had rhythm, music, love,
The sun, the stars and the moon above,
Had the clear blue sky and the deep blue sea.
That was when the best things in life were free.
Then time went by and now I got plenty of plenty,
Which is fine with me.
‘Cause I still got love, I still got rhythm,
But look at what I got to go with ’em.
“Who could ask for anything more?” I hear you query.
Who would ask for anything more? Well, let me tell you, dearie.

Thus far, Madonna’s 1990 album ‘I’m Breathless’ has been represented by ‘He’s a Man‘, ‘Sooner or Later‘ and ‘Hanky Panky‘. Now, in timely fashion for gift-giving (and receiving) season, comes ‘More’. This is a Stephen Sondheim composition, and a pretty damn good one at that. The merging of Broadway and Madonna was a genius one, and one that made burgeoning gay boys like myself cream their pants with musical excitement. Madonna once hilariously commented that Sondheim songs were difficult to sing due to their chromatic wildness. Whatever the case, she manages to pull them off quite nicely here, and ‘More’ was a bouncier ditty than the other Sondheim contributions (‘Sooner or Later’ and ‘What Can You Lose?’) I’d tell you I composed a dance number to go along with it, but I’ve embarrassed myself enough here, thank you. Instead, let’s focus on the material aspect of things.

Got my diamonds, got my yacht, got a guy I adore.
I’m so happy with what I got, I want more!
Count your blessings, one, two, three
I just hate keeping score.
Any number is fine with me
As long as it’s more
As long as it’s more!

We’re all a little greedy, and most of us always want more than we have. I’m no holier-than-thou exception to that rule, but I know enough to realize that I have all I’ll ever need. Everything else is just gravy – fabulous, fashionable, Tom Ford-scented gravy. To that end, however, it means that I am considered one of the most difficult people to buy gifts for. It’s why I post a Christmas wish list every year (and set up a birthday registry once – don’t ask).

I’m no mathematician, all I know is addition
I find counting a bore.
Keep the number mounting, your accountant does the counting.
I got rhythm, music too, just as much as before
Got my guy and my sky of blue,
Now, however, I own the view.
More is better than nothing, true
But nothing’s better than more, more, more
Nothing’s better than more.

This year, almost everything was checked off the wish list – a collection of Crate & Barrel wine glasses to populate the new kitchen, a Tommy Hilfiger coat (even if it was the wrong size – for the record, I’m a Small in coats, and have been since 1989), several certificates for dining out (much-needed in these weeks without a kitchen), a Brooks Brother’s gift card, a new rice cooker and vegetable steamer, and Tom Ford’s ‘Bois Marocain’ Private Blend – a surprise from Andy that I didn’t even ask for. After all that, how could anyone still feel empty? Surely only a spoiled brat would complain…

One is fun, why not two?
And if you like two, you might as well have four,
And if you like four, why not a few
Why not a slew
More! More!
If you’ve got a little, why not a lot?
Add a bit and it’ll get to be an oodle.
Every jot and tittle adds to the pot
Soon you’ve got the kit as well as the caboodle.
More! More!
Never say when, never stop at plenty,
If it’s gonna rain, let it pour.
Happy with ten, happier with twenty
If you like a penny, wouldn’t you like many, much more?

There have been years when I didn’t make a list, but the gifts I received then proved that no one really understood me, no one ever got who I was and what I might want. That proved more upsetting and depressing than the guilt at getting everything I asked for, so since then I’ve made a list. At least that way I can pretend that people pay attention, that they listen throughout the year to what I say, that they care enough to figure out what appeals to me, along with what I already wear or have. I can hear the miserable ones on FaceBook and Twitter writing their ‘First world problems’ comments now… But really, what am I supposed to have, third world problems? I don’t live in that world.

Or does that sound too greedy?
That’s not greed, no, indeedy
That’s just stocking the store
Gotta fill your cupboard, remember Mother Hubbard.
More! More!

Back in 1990, I was less concerned with fashion or Ford. I hadn’t quite come into myself yet (in some ways we never do), though I knew how to dress well, and understood the power of appearance. For all that, I never asked for clothing or cologne or other sartorial accessories when it came to birthdays or Christmas. Don’t give me too much credit – I wasn’t asking for world peace either, but my wish list consisted of whimsical things ~ a lava lamp, a saltwater fish tank, a traffic light, a wave machine – the fascinating nonsensical objects one would find at Spencer gifts. My bedroom was a gallery of cheesy 80’s artifacts held together by plastic and powered by black power cords. At night, the flashing lights and other-worldly glow provided futuristic solace, but scant warmth.

Each possession you possess
Helps your spirits to soar.
That’s what’s soothing about excess
Never settle for something less.
Something’s better than nothing, yes!
But nothing’s better than more, more more
Except all, all, all… 

In the days after Christmas, when it seemed like we had it all, an inevitable disappointment crept into my room. The let-down of the post-holiday doldrums was wicked recompense for the build-up and excitement of all that anticipation. Getting what you want is always a tricky business. Emotional manipulation carries its own cost. What I was searching for was happiness, and it was something that couldn’t be bottled or sold or wrapped up under the tree. It is, I fear, something that no one else can give me ~ and, until I find it, I will always want more.

Except once you have it all
You may find all else a bore
That though things are bliss,
There’s one thing you miss, and that’s
More! More!
More! More! More! More!
More! More! More! 
Song #103 – ‘More’ – Summer/Holidays 1990

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