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Shoulda been huge: Madonna’s ‘Girl Gone Wild’

By Josh Haggis

The mere mention of the acronym “MDNA” to a Madonna fan is enough to provoke groans and eye-rolls, and understandably so – it was mostly a rushed-out, painfully average record.

As Cher so wonderfully put it:


Thankfully, the album has a saving grace in the form of its erotically-charged dance banger Girl Gone Wild.

Released as the second single from MDNA following Madonna’s arguably worst ever lead single, Give Me All Your Luvin’, it was destined to flop from the beginning.

That’s a travesty, because Girl Gone Wild is Madonna to down to a tee. It bares all the hallmarks of a Madge classic, and yet many of her fans shun it and try to pretend it doesn’t exist, like an ugly baby.

The moment she begins to recite the prayer at the beginning, the track screams early ’90s Madonna. Lyrically, it’s riddled with cliches, but when the delivery is this good, that almost becomes a non-issue. Musically, it’s one of her finest moments since Confessions of a Dancefloor – but for those that feel it lacks a little, try the Justin Cognito Remix.

Make no mistake though, this is an absolute smash in its original form. I defy even the song’s biggest critic to hear Girl Gone Wild in a club after several gins, and not feel the need to throw caution (and dignity) to the wind and start dancing. As La Ciccone so eloquently puts it in the song, “it must be the Tanqueray”.

This isn’t a song to sit at home and listen to with a cuppa and a fig roll – it isn’t the effortlessly brilliant midtempo jam Don’t Tell Me, or the lyrical genius of Drowned World/Subsitute for Love. This is your basic, balls-to-the-wall night out anthem, and why does that have to be something that’s considered “below” Madonna?

OK, so the moment we get a Madonna single featuring Pitbull we might be in trouble, but until then the critics of Girl Gone Wild really need to take a seat and let the light in.

When Girl Gone Wild was released back in 2012, much of the criticism aimed at the track focused on the fact Madonna is no longer a girl, but a grown-ass woman. Pushing the misogyny aside, if you place the track in the context of her career, the sometimes clichéd lyrics attain an entirely new meaning.

Madonna is a good Catholic girl who decided she no longer wanted to play by anyone’s rules but her own – it’s how she managed to become the most recognisable musical icon in the world. If anyone is entitled to sing lyrics like these, it’s her.

She’s not Britney, who claims she’s a “slave” for some hot young stud, when she actually wants her spend her days on the beach with her kids and a frappucino; or Christina, who sings about sweating till her clothes come off, when the only sweating she does is in the queue at KFC. These were both merely eras for those popstars: a way to sell records before moving onto to a new persona.

Of course, Madonna has done that. She’s the Queen of Reinvention, after all.  But my point is, behind the facade, it’s abundantly clear that she is, and will always be, the original girl gone wild.


Watch the video for Girl Gone Wild below:

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”][/youtube]


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