Monday, February 06, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #18 - Into The Groove by Madonna

Alyson: In an ideal world, pop stars would never age, never grow up, never falter, and never make mistakes - they'd stay young, lithe and perfect, glamourous, unattainable, and their songs would reflect that. There would be no mis-steps into adult ballads, no searching examinations of other musical genres, no mess and no nonsense. For Madonna though, it's these mistakes that make her career somewhat special - a willingness to fight, a willingess to change with the times. Without the mistakes (The Sex Book) and without her flaws, she wouldn't be the same. She's a flawed person, but a remarkable pop star, especially in the early days when Pop got her out of the rat race. We couldn't do this list without her really.

Claire and I aren't insane, mega Madonna fans - I'm not sure why that is, possibly there's just always been someone else we've been more into, someone new and fresh, and she's been in the background, making amazing pop - Madonna after all has been in our whole life, ambition crazed, doing anything to stay on top, never truly defeated, and we've probably taken her for granted in some ways. The Immaculate Collection, after all, is the greatest Greatest Hits collection in the history of music - perfect pop from beginning to end. Certainly, we wouldn't be doing this list without her. Although in some ways we argue modern Pop stars started with Debbie Harry, without Madonna's obsession to escape the rat race and get front and centre on MTV, 90% of this list wouldn't have happened. There's probably bigger Madonna fans on this collaboration than us, of the woman herself, but even we know she's the most inspirational and important pop figure we will write about on this list.

Insanely, we've probably not defined what, to us, is pop, so far as it goes on this list. Pop to me is an attitude, a feeling - the belief in a music that can take you out of the ordinary and make you dance and move and change your perceptions. It's not novelty, it's not cheap, and it's not throwaway. It's a feeling in many ways - and if any song truly will underscore that, it's Into The Groove. It's a song that's not really on this list for it's tune or remarkable musical impact (although we could rave about that too, but it's deceptively good in that regard) - it's here for it's attitude. We find something very important in pop songs that centre on music to forget your problems and get your cares out on the dancefloor. Into The Groove would be here just for one line, "you can dance, for inspiration" if nothing else, since it's at the heart of the pop credo. It's almost a moot point to discuss this song in any terms other than celebrating it's joy. It's a simple and pure expression of dance floor magic, the ability to use music to lift yourself out of a depression, out a funk. Simply and purely, it's a song about escape, maybe the first modern pop song to express that desire - and that's something very, very special to celebrate. Poets, tedious wordsmiths and miserable indie "gods" will never write a line to match "Only when I'm dancing do I feel this free".

Truly, a work of art, and an inspiration. It's far more important a song than you might think.


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