Rumors swirled across the Web on Tuesday that Madonna's upcoming Super Bowl set list had leaked. It sent shivers down the spines of pop historians and shrugs across the shoulders of people who know which teams are actually playing in the Super Bowl. Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. have already confirmed that they'll be on hand Sunday in Indianapolis to perform "Gimme All Your Lovin,'" their new collabo with Ms. M. Speculation is that the big hits "Ray of Light," "Music," "Vogue" and "Holiday" could round out the Material Girl's performance.
That's a pretty killer lineup of classic Madonna, to be sure, but as die-hard fans of all things Madge, we've got our own ideas on what she should play (and what she should NOT play EVER). Blow that whistle, ref, because we're kicking off the Rocks Off Suggested Set List for Madonna Bowl I.
Our Superior Super Bowl Setlist
Get into the Groove
Nothing in Madonna's catalogue sets the tone better for a righteous dance party than this 1985 smash from the Desperately Seeking Susan soundtrack. The beat is so infectious that even the fuddiest of duddies can't help but at least tap their feet. Importantly, the song is one of Madonna's best known -- Billboard named it the "Dance Single of the Decade" at the dawn of the '90s. It's exactly the sort of high-energy '80s club track that people love Madonna for, and it'd have the massive TV audience reliving some fond pop memories rather than reaching for the remote.
Justify My Love
Sure, Madonna may be speeding past "cougar" headlong toward GILF territory, but few performers have ever been as good at putting on a large-scale erotic spectacle. Can you imagine the army of backup dancers writhing on stage to this little number? "Justify My Love" was arguably Madonna's steamiest single of all time, featuring a boundary-pushing music video famously banned by MTV. The Super Bowl is already saturated with sex courtesy of the commercials, so we say it's high time Madonna dusted the old girl off for the occassion. The song! Not her... nevermind.
Nothing Really Matters
The birth of Madonna's daughter Lourdes left a deep impression on her music, wiping away much of the lurid shock value that threatened to define her early-'90s work. Few singles illustrated this change in approach better than "Nothing Really Matters," which appeared on 1999's Ray of Light. "Now that I am grown/Everything's changed," Madonna sings. "I'll never be the same." It's a great, bouncy dance track that never received the love it deserved, and its family-friendly themes are a good fit for the event. Especially after the "Justify My Love" orgy.
Don't Tell Me
This single from 2000's Music found the Material Girl dabbling in country, featuring dry vocals over an acoustic guitar loop. The song was a definite stylistic departure for Madonna, both from the club pop of her classic period as well as the French-disco electronica that studded the rest of Music. Put simply, it worked, netting Madge her biggest hit ever on the Adult Top 40 chart. "Don't Tell Me" would make an excellent nod to her 21st Century oeuvre while also throwing a bone to the conservative elements of the Super Bowl audience who'd sooner take up soccer than set foot in a disco.
This 1989 pop classic threatened to slip into obscurity until Lady Gaga none-too-subtly reminded us how great it was with "Born This Way." Not only is it one of Madonna's biggest, brassiest dance tracks, it's also a thundering call for female empowerment. The prospect of blasting its feminist(ish) message into millions of homes during the intermission of America's most macho sporting event is simply too delicious to pass up. And hey, if she breaks out the roger rabbit, we ain't complaining.
The "Is the Puppy Bowl On?" Setlist
Don't Cry for Me Argentina
Madonna scored a top-ten hit with this popular tune from the Evita soundtrack, but Andrew Lloyd Webber simply has no place at the Super Bowl. Seriously, he should probably be barred from the building.
We wouldn't blame Madonna for trying to get some run out of her more recent singles, but this messy collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland just doesn't sound like a Madonna song. It's too busy, too crowded and just too... Timbaland. Pass.
This 2003 single is a muddled wreck that ranks as one of Madonna's worst. It's a weak stab at satirizing the overindulgent lifestyle that was becoming closely associated with America around the world during the Bush Years, but it's better known for rhyming "pilates" with "soy latte" in one of the worst raps of all time.
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The best thing about this soundtrack fodder from Madonna's 2000 flop The Next Best Thing is that she avoided recording the entirety of Don McLean's interminable original. It's nice that Madonna learned how to play guitar and everything, but this dour cover was hardly the ideal vehicle to demonstrate that skill.
The sugary, Motown-flavored title track to Madonna's 1986 album was supposedly a tribute to her then-husband, Sean Penn, but it sounds influenced more by the retro cheese of Grease than any genuine human feeling. It's embarrassingly cute and entirely forgettable. "True" blew.