There are just countless forgotten Madonna songs. There were those minor hits or album tracks that were drowned out by the white hot success of her more popular singles as well as those that got lost in the controversy-of-the-week that seemed to surround most of her career. I was reminded of one of those songs last night – “More” from Dick Tracy and her accompanying album, I’m Breathless.
“Sooner or Later” was the one that won the Oscar and “Hanky Panky” was the naughty one. “More” is the forgotten one. It makes sense because I’m Breathless is kind of the forgotten album or, at the very least, the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other Madonna album. Full of music “inspired” by the film Dick Tracy, all the songs have a very Tin Pan Alley feel to them, with the notable exception of the monstrous hit “Vogue” which I suspect was tacked on at the last minute. This was not Madonna’s normal dance-pop and was most decidedly an adventure in off-roading for her as far as musical style goes.
I, for one, love the song “More.” It is so lyrically clever and pays homage to other standards in many subtle ways. Of course, it’s not an original Madonna composition but was written by Stephen Sondheim (as was “Sooner or Later” and the truly forgettable “What Can You Lose”) and while I am not always a fan of Sondheim, his music works in this context. Many gave Madonna grief for “warbling” her way through these songs, but I actually think her voice is quite good on this album and especially on “More.” The only part of “More” that really grates on me is the very end, when it starts to slow down and the annoying back up singers also don’t help. But Madonna was all over those lyrics and did well with what my non-expert ear hears as a relatively complicated arrangement.
My daughter and I were listening to this song in the car on the way home from her horse lesson last night and she asked me “Dad, is this song from Annie?” Man, it could have been. Although what I think really needs to happen is a big screen remake of Annie with Madonna as Miss Hanigan. Truly, there will never be anyone who owns Miss Hanigan like Carol Burnett did in the very flawed but very fun 1982 version of Annie, I would love for Madonna to get her hands on “Little Girls.”
I was reading an article about movies that should be remade, and Dick Tracy was mentioned, with Lady Gaga in the role of Breathless Mahoney. That is just way too obvious for me and I don’t ever see it happening. And besides, don’t tell anyone, but I was not a huge fan of the original movie, even though Madonna was in it. I remember I had talked my brother into going to it with me, but he bailed at the last minute and we went to Gremlins 2: The New Batch instead. Ultimately, I went by myself. Should have waited for video. Sorry Madonna, you may do a lot of things well, but acting is NOT one of them.
Something’s better than nothing, YES – but nothing’s better than more.