“Oops, I Didn’t Know We Couldn’t Talk About Sex”: Feminine Angstiest Songs #1

January 1, 2009 at 5:49 am 1 comment

In 1994, Madonna released Bedtime Stories, an album with less overt sexuality than Erotica (1992) but with plenty of imagery nonetheless. Although “Secret” and “Take A Bow” were the most popular singles on this multi-Platinum album, “Human Nature” takes the cake when it comes to expressing feminine angst. I’ll explain why in this first installment of many about songs I like to jam to when I’m feeling like a man-eater.

Before Madonna rendered herself curveless through yoga and God only knows what else, she filmed the music video for “Human Nature,” wearing body-hugging black vinyl and donning chestnut cornrows among a sea of smutty men and women. Anonymous hands begin to fondle a seated Madonna just before she slams her legs shut. We then see her dancing in a white box, along with the other dancers in S&M-esque garb. Throughout the song, Madonna seductively whispers the following mantra: “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” The backless, frontless boxes could represent superficial repression from which Madonna is ultimately free with access through the front and back doors.

Madonna is unapologetic about her sexuality, self-expression, and decisions: “I’m not sorry / It’s human nature / And I’m not sorry / I’m not your bitch / Don’t hang your shit on me.” Sometimes a partner’s words and actions serve as an attempt to silence us, but we can take the upper-hand in the blame game. I’ve taken this too far by refusing to apologize for things that actually are my fault, but I like the concept of using human nature as a defense when appropriate.

“Human Nature” came back to life in Madonna’s 2001 Drowned World Tour as she performed it while riding a mechanical bull. Not to be outdone by her past self, Madonna recruited Britney Spears to sing along in November 2008. This version of “Human Nature” includes the infamous line, “It’s Britney, bitch!” The cougar and her cub have been released into the wild yet again.

Unabashed and unwilling to adhere to haphazard social constructions, Madonna delivers yet another knockout performance. My favorite line of the song poses an age-old question: “Would it sound better if I were a man?”

Entry filed under: Pop Culture, Rave Review, Sexuality. Tags: , , , .

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