I wanna talk about Madonna’s elegiac “What It Feels Like For A Girl.” At this post-Brett Kavanaugh juncture in American life, I think it’s a fine time to appreciate it.

“What It Feels Like For A Girl” was the low-key, musically understated third single from Madonna’s Music album.  

Released in 2000, Music followed 1998’s ambitious, resplendent Ray Of Light. For Ray Of Light, Madonna selected William Orbit as a collaborator, which was at that time considered a left-field choice. Orbit was an eccentric, progressive composer and musician who was best-known for his own curious amalgam of classical and electronic music. Interesting stuff, but the dude definitely did not have any hits. Madonna adored his work and commissioned Orbit to produce, which was a nervy move. It paid off with a gorgeous masterpiece that, while not her greatest commercial success, certainly did sell well. Five million copies in the U.S. and 11 million globally.

When it came time to make a follow-up album, Madonna once again zigzagged. She chose yet another collaborative team, headed by French producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï. She didn’t rebuke Orbit—he was invited to participate in a minor, supporting role—but she did not attempt to duplicate the alchemy of Ray Of Light. When you’re a chart-topping artist like Madonna, there is a lot of incentive to play it safe: Last album worked out great! Let’s do that exact same thing again!

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