Madonna – La isla bonita
By late February 1987, Spring was advancing quickly. Days were getting longer and the desire for Summer parties was growing. I remember a party in particular, in a sort of manor just outside the city, a kind of old farmhouse with the courtyard, partying inside and outside the venue. I had a girlfriend, and we went crazy dancing and listening to the great songs of the moment, like Rumors by Timex Social Club, Word up, all kind of funky stuff… but of course this was the song of the moment. We were rehearsing for a very long hot Summer, like today’s teenagers, who in my opinion are still listening to this song!
On the other hand this song made you desire sea and Summer right from its title in Spanish, presenting itself in a foreign and sensual language; the song is basically in English, with words or entire phrases in Spanish.
The artist who highlighted the erotic charge that a foreign language often evokes was the queen of seduction and provocation. We already understood how complete and brilliant she was, and destined to last and to be a teacher and talent scout for many: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.
Patrick Leonard wrote this song planning to give it to Michael Jackson, but the song was rejected because of the title; Madonna saw the potential of the song and rewrote only a few verses, and for her it was like putting the most beautiful diamond in the splendid jewel set presented with the magnificent album True Blue, from which La Isla Bonita was the fifth single released.
And actually this song began to be very frequent on radios all over the world as early as the Summer of 1986, despite not having yet been released as a single (it will only be released, as we say, in February 1987), and despite Madonna having just released another important single from the same album: Papa Don’t Preach.
La Isla Bonita is considered a precursor of latin pop and marked the appearance of Spanish in Madonna’s artistic production: we can find other Hispanic elements in Who’s That Girl, Spanish Eyes, I’m Going Bananas, as well as in Spanish versions of some songs and in the duet with Ricky Martin (Cuidado Con Mi Corazon). In recent years, Madonna’s affection for Latin atmospheres has become even more evident.
In the video, Madonna plays two characters: a religious girl and a flamenco dancer.
La Isla Bonita is commonly identified with the island of Ambergris Caye in the state of Belize (curiously the only non-Hispanic language state of Central America), where there is a city called San Pedro. Actually Madonna herself, in a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, stated that she knew in no way where San Pedro could be, perhaps even just in a highway exit.
She told New York Times that the song was actually a tribute to the beauty and mystery of the Latin American people. Who knows who recognized, in a little boy sitting on a car in the video clip, a very young Benicio Del Toro …
Madonna on Wikipedia