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THE MADONNA TIMELINE: SONG #114 – ‘GHOSTTOWN’– LATE WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2015

mad ghosttown001

{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.}

It’s only fitting that the Madonna Timeline is shifting to songs from the current ‘Rebel Heart’ era, as Madonna is out and about on her ‘Rebel Heart’ tour. A thorough review of the show I saw in Boston is forthcoming, but for now a Madonna Timeline to whet the appetite.

Originally released at the tail end of 2014 in the midst of the disastrous leak that saw most of the ‘Rebel Heart’ album exposed well before its time, ‘Ghosttown’ received universal praise, a magnificently haunting video, but little promotion. In the tumultuous scramble for how best to salvage Madonna’s greatest album since ‘Ray of Light’ it seems the powers-that-be jetted from one song (‘Living For Love’) to another (‘Ghosttown’) to another ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’) hoping one would instantly ignite. Of course, without any sort of singular sustained or focused promo push on a single one, each made little impact. That’s a damn shame, as ‘Ghosttown’ is easily one of the most moving songs of her last three albums.

MAYBE IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH

TOO MUCH FOR A MAN TO TAKE

EVERYTHING’S BOUND TO BREAK

SOONER OR LATER, SOONER OR LATER

 

YOU’RE ALL THAT I CAN TRUST

FACING THE DARKEST DAYS

EVERYONE RAN AWAY

WE’RE GONNA STAY HERE, WE’RE GONNA STAY HERE

 

I KNOW YOU’RE SCARED TONIGHT

I’LL NEVER LEAVE YOUR SIDE

 

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

I’LL BE YOUR FIRE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT

WHEN THERE’S NO ONE, NO ONE ELSE AROUND

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

 

WHEN THE WORLD GETS COLD, I’LL BE YOUR COVER

LET’S JUST HOLD ONTO EACH OTHER

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

A post-apocalyptic love song, it touched on a timely theme that the entire ‘Rebel Heart’ album expounded upon: the survival of the soul through the act of love. Having just made it through the god-awful winter of 2015, where snow covered and ravaged the Northeast for a good four months straight, many of us could relate to what it was like having to hold onto each other to get us through the dark times.

I would sit in the dim gray rooms of early morning, typing away on my lap-top, its glowing screen the only portal to light, and I remember feeling like that winter would never stop. Storm after snow-storm left us shut in, my regular trips to Boston canceled over and over again. It was the longest I’d been away from that favorite city in over a decade. I felt isolated, removed.

I listened to this song like a mantra. When tears threatened, it quelled them. When anger arose, it calmed me. Some songs were made for helping us get through things.

TELL ME HOW WE GOT THIS FAR

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF

EVERYTHING’S GONE TO HELL

WE GOTTA STAY STRONG, WE’RE GONNA HOLD ON

 

THIS WORLD HAS TURNED TO DUST

ALL WE’VE GOT LEFT IS LOVE

MIGHT AS WELL START WITH US

SINGING A NEW SONG, SOMETHING TO BUILD ON

 

I KNOW YOU’RE SCARED TONIGHT

I’LL NEVER LEAVE YOUR SIDE

 

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

I’LL BE YOUR FIRE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT

WHEN THERE’S NO ONE, NO ONE ELSE AROUND

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

 

WHEN THE WORLD GETS COLD, I’LL BE YOUR COVER

LET’S JUST HOLD ONTO EACH OTHER

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

How did we get through it? Andy was here. And JoAnn made a visit. And even in the midst of snow, my work pal Ginny and I would brave the road to Starbucks for a mid-day escape of laughter and fun and vital escape. Pumping gas or shopping for groceries, I’d look into the eyes of strangers and feel a sympathetic understanding, some sense of ‘we’re-all-in-this-together’ that made things better. I’m not usually so attuned to others, so willing to let down my guard and shared in an experience, but sometimes it gets you through the day – and a terrible winter.

Madonna was reaching out too, in her music was a new warmth and vulnerability not quite there on her otherwise-scorching ‘MDNA’ album and its predecessor ‘Hard Candy.’ The ‘Rebel Heart’ era was ushering in a red-hot yet heartfelt woman who seemed to feel rather keenly the need to connect again. We were all ready for it. 

I KNOW WE’RE ALRIGHT

‘CAUSE WE’LL NEVER BE ALONE IN THIS MAD MAD, IN THIS MAD MAD WORLD

EVEN WITH NO LIGHT

WE’RE GONNA SHINE LIKE GOLD IN THIS MAD MAD, IN THIS MAD MAD WORLD

 

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

I’LL BE YOUR FIRE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT

WHEN THERE’S NO ONE, NO ONE ELSE AROUND

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

 

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

I’LL BE YOUR FIRE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT

WHEN THERE’S NO ONE, NO ONE ELSE AROUND

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

 

WHEN THE WORLD GETS COLD, I’LL BE YOUR COVER

LET’S JUST HOLD ONTO EACH OTHER

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN

WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

WE’LL BE TWO SOULS IN A GHOSTTOWN 

Though the song made the aforementioned lack of impact, it came with one of the most beautiful videos of Madonna’s career, featuring Terrence Howard and telling a hopeful story of being the last few people left standing, and coming together in the midst of a ruined world.

Madonna has made a life of rising from the ashes of any burnt-out shell of destruction – whether said doom was of her own making or someone else’s. She’s rebounded from all sorts of calamitous scandals, from caustic relationships, from failed marriages, and from personal and professional failures. That resiliency is at the core of ‘Ghosttown’ – it’s raw, it’s romantic, and it’s the only road to salvation she’s ever known.

SONG #114 – ‘Ghosttown’ – Late Winter/Early Spring 2015

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