In the latest installment of our game "One For The Aliens, One For The Sun," Billboard editor and Soundcheck contributor Joe Levy must pick two Madonna songs that will meet very different (albeit hypothetical) fates. One song will be loaded onto a wandering spacecraft for aliens to discover and enjoy many years from now. The other song will be erased forever, after its spacecraft is sent directly into the heart of the sun.
Levy joins host John Schaefer and the game's creators, blogger Adam Dawson of WNYC's It's A Free Country and musician Jarrett Nicolay of the band Astra Via, to give his picks for Madonna songs that will make the ultimate sacrifice.
One For The Aliens: "Borderline"
"First of all, let us give praise. Because when the aliens get here, and they finally hear some Madonna music and see some Madonna videos, they are totally going to forget about using the blood of our cats and dogs for a new source of energy for their dying planet or the recipes in that cookbook the Cylons gave them, To Serve Man. So, which song to work this trick? So many choices! So much goodness! "Get Into The Groove" is the definitive Madonna statement of purpose, "Beautiful Stranger," her funniest track, "Justify My Love," her sexiest, and "Human Nature," her most underrated.
"But for the aliens it's "Borderline" time. Super catchy and super disco, and it shows that the underappreciated pop classicism in her music was there from the very start. Sweet and sexy in equal measure, and really a lot of both. Plus the vocals sound like a extraterrestrial is singing, and the aliens will dig that." --Joe Levy
One For The Sun: "Till Death Do Us Part"
"Again, so many choices! So much badness! Because, you know, ballads. And "La Isla Bontia." And her serious side. But even most of that won me over the 1,000th time through, and ballads keep her from acting more, so there’s that. But you can send "Till Death Do Us Part" straight into the sun and I'll never miss it.
"It's not just that it’s a totally cringe-y exemplar of her serious side, or that it sums up her divorce from Sean Penn (and its let's-hope-fictional scenes of domestic violence) with bromides like "You're not in love with someone else / You don’t even love yourself."It's that the music stinks.
It’s tinny, it doesn’t have a decent hook, it doesn't know if it's a pop song or a funk song, and like many better songs on Like A Prayer, it's a totally failed attempt to be Prince, in this case, the very worst Prince album, Around the World in a Day. Burn it up." --JL