Madonna – Open Your Heart
No, we are not talking about surgery, here we are talking mostly about music, but certainly also about the heart, feelings, passions … and a little also about sex. Yes, because Open Your Heart is a song definitely in the balance between love and sensuality, not vulgar, but with different provocative aspects as it was legitimate to expect from Madonna, after all.
Open Your Heart was originally written for Cyndi Lauper, but she didn’t show much interest, and the song was directed at another group, the Temptations. When they learned that Madonna was interested in the song she had helped to write, they decided to leave it to her. Actually, the original title of the song was supposed to be Follow Your Heart, which was the name of a healthy food restaurant in California. But Madonna changed the title when she decided to sing it personally.
We are in November 1986: Madonna is now a world star, and after the success of the album Like A Virgin she has launched another one, True Blue, which is absolutely consecrating her as a world star. In March the release of Live to Tell anticipated the release of a new album, and then in June the great hit Papa don’t Preach and the whole album were finally released, and Madonna surprised the world with new looks and above all with great interpretations of increasingly mature and profound songs even if still rhythmic and danceable. And more and more often, on the edge of provocation.
Open Your Heart is at the edge of this delicate balance. Certainly it is a love song, but the text contains sentences related to world of sensuality, as it explicitly speaks of desire burning inside. After all, the video is perhaps even more explicit, up to a certain point: Madonna plays a dancer from a strip club, with short black hair, and wearing an iconic garment: the bustier with gold conical tips that we will see from here on in many of her performances, a real trademark created for her by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
The character of Madonna undoubtedly recalls the Liza Minnelli of Cabaret, and probably also the platinum icon of Marlene Dietrich, since after a few scenes Madonna removes her wig showing her real short blond hair to the eyes and to the looks of the customers of the club.
In the course of the video, however, the space for feelings returns. A young boy enters the club and starts dancing until, shortly afterwards, we find a Madonna who, abandoning her sexy clothes, kisses the boy and walks away light-heartedly with him, regardless of the customers’ pleas to go back to dancing in the club. In short, after the sensuality of the Madonna working as a dancer, we see the real feelings and happiness of the true Madonna.
If you are wondering what happened to the young boy, I can tell you that Felix Howard became a songwriter himself, and wrote lyrics, for example, for Amy Winehouse and James Blunt, like the famous 1973.
Open Your Heart became, in the following years, a strong piece of Madonna’s discography, and was the opening song of the Who’s That Girl Tour, therefore a song with a very important visibility, which became a fixed appointment also in the Blond Ambition Tour. After all, the song reached the top of the charts in the United States, and also in almost all European countries obviously reached very high chart positions. Madonna, however, then put the song aside for years, performing only pieces of the song as interludes between other songs until 2012, when she included it in the MDNA Tour, more than twenty years after her last complete performances.
Today, moreover, we know that Madonna is really a timeless performer, an absolute queen of pop and of the 80s who was able to open her heart to us with the help of a wig, a bustier, and a boy who ran happily away with her.
Madonna on Wikipedia