Metal Blade Records On May 17, As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis appeared in…
- Posted on Apr 18th 2007 2:00PM by Bill Crandall
'Live to Tell,' Madonna
From 1986's 'True Blue'
I remember hearing British folkie John Wesley Harding credit Madonna with being a good folk songwriter. I laughed ... until he blew me away with his acoustic version of her 'Like a Prayer.'
And Harding didn't even pick the woman's best folk song. That distinction belongs to 'Live to Tell,' the 1986 number she penned and sang for then-husband Sean Penn's movie 'At Close Range.'
Like most of Madonna's '80s output, the arrangement is abysmal: cheesy metal guitar licks occasionally busting through the sea of synthesized keyboards and drums. And -- like on earlier hits 'Lucky Star' and 'Borderline' -- Madonna's vocals are of limited range, but they reveal a grace and wisdom previously hidden.
Written with producer Patrick Leonard, 'Live to Tell' is an eerie, melancholy song of struggle. What kind of struggle exactly? Who knows? But, as a video, the "burn inside of me" lyrics fit nicely with the film's murderous clips, and they were also later fluidly co-opted as an anthem for AIDS survivors.
But, mostly, this song meant that the pop star du jour -- yep, the one with the sexy bellybutton -- would be around for a long time.
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