Sunday, July 12, 2020

"Who's That Girl" by Madonna

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3192
Date:  07/11/1987
Debut:  43
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Right on the heels of three #1s and two Top 10s from her third album True Blue, Madonna was ready with new music for consumption. This time it was in the form of songs from a movie soundtrack. The screwball comedy Who's That Girl would be Madonna's third starring role in a film and of course it provided an opportunity to make more money for Madonna, the movie studio, and her label via a soundtrack album. Madonna would record four songs for the film, two co-written and co-produced with Stephen Bray and two with Patrick Leonard, which included this first single. The song debuted just outside the Pop Top 40 and then headed straight to #1. It would be Madonna's sixth single to top the chart and in doing so she took the lead in the 80s for most #1s in the decade. She also became the first female artist to score six #1s. Even though the album had five tracks by other artists, including Scritti Politti and Club Nouveau, the soundtrack was credited to Madonna. It reached #7 and would be a platinum seller. The song would get a Grammy nod for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.

ReduxReview:  Madonna's previous single, "La Isla Bonita," had a bit of a Spanish influence to it, so it was a bit surprising that she would continue that on this next single, especially when it had nothing to do with the movie. I guess it was just one of the many phases that Madonna went through. I wasn't the biggest fan of "La Isla Bonita," but it was far better than this track. I'd easily put this last on a list that ranked Madonna's #1s. It would most likely be last for Top 10s as well. It is definitely one of her most forgettable hits. It played like an extension of "Bonita," but less interesting or even committed. It sounded like a tossed together one-off track, which it basically was - "hey, I need a couple songs for a movie, bring something to the studio and we'll figure it out." It ended up being a hit thanks to Madonna's star power at the time and associated tour (and most likely not due to the film...), but when was the last time you heard this song? Or even wanted to? Musically, it was a dip in the road for Madonna and it would take her over two years before she would set aside all the movie and other fame crap and return with music that was profound and passionate.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Madonna's film track record was 50/50 with 1985's Desperately Seeking Susan being a hit and 1986's Shanghai Surprise tanking. She needed to rebound with something good to help better establish her viability as a box office draw. Who's That Girl seemed like the ticket with Madonna capitalizing on her comedic acting skills. Unfortunately, both critics and film goers weren't impressed and the movie became Madonna's second bomb in a row. She would end up "winning" the Golden Raspberry award for Worst Actress. Madonna's next film was in the 1989 ensemble comedy Bloodhounds of Broadway. It barely eked out any money at the box office. However, she would finally dig herself out of the acting hole with 1990's Dick Tracy.



  1. 8/10 for me, I always liked this song by Madonna and thought it was one of her underappreciated efforts, unlike many of Madonna's big hits of the 80's this one doesn't seem to get any recurrent airplay, IMO I thought her worst Top 10 single was her rendition of "American Pie", I remember going "what was she thinking?" when she did that song.

    1. I didn't mind her "American Pie" remake. I kind of liked the weirdness of it all. Apparently, Madonna's "The Next Best Thing" co-star Rupert Everett coaxed her into covering the song for the movie soundtrack. The song was not officially released in the US as a single, but changes on the Hot 100 chart allowed it to get to #29 based on airplay alone. It got to #1 at Dance and reached #1 in many other countries. It was Madonna's first charting song of the 2000s. Later in the year she would unleash her "Music" album, which featured the #1 title track.