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Confessions: 15 Years Later

Grindr
&
Editorial team
July 15, 2024
8
min. read
Confessions: 15 Years Later
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When Madonna dropped Confessions on a Dance Floor in November 2005, she gave us an instant queer classic that would prove enduring and influential. Listen to Dua Lipa's excellent new album Future Nostalgia, which includes several tracks produced by Madonna's Confessions collaborator Stuart Price, and you'll hear glittering fragments of its discofied DNA.

Trailed by the huge, Abba-sampling single “Hung Up,” Confessions on a Dance Floor sold 10 million copies worldwide and remains – to date, anyway – the last time that Madonna set pop music’s agenda instead of grappling to find her place in it. Here, 12 LGBTQ people from around the world choose their favorite Confessions banger and explain why it means so much to them.

HUNG UP

"I’d recently come out and moved to Poland for work. I didn’t know any other gay people in Warsaw so I used to take myself clubbing on a Saturday night, and "Hung Up" became such an anthem for me. It was such an anthem for everyone: in Warsaw people would down their drinks and flood to the dance floor when the intro kicked in.

"For people like me who'd grown up with Madonna in the '80s and now felt like we'd found ourselves, it was like she was giving us a new dance album just as we were hitting 30. And a bit later, when I got together with my first boyfriend, that album became our album and we played it over and over. We split up five years ago but we’re still in touch and that album still has so much resonance for me, for him, and for us as exes." – Daniel, 45, Warsaw

Get Together

"It’s been my favorite since I first heard the album as a kid; nine-year-old me probably just thought it was an exquisite banger. At the time I definitely didn’t understand that it resonated so strongly with me because of the feelings of longing and confusion it captures. For me, this song is about the adrenaline that comes with realizing that the fantasy of love and lust that can feel so out of reach for queer people isn't quite as out of reach as you think. Even when I listen to it now, I get that rush; it's the same rush I feel when I meet other queer people for the first time." – Ross, 24, Manchester

Sorry

"How many times have we been in the situation Madonna sings about in “Sorry?" Saying 'sorry' is very important, but so is not accepting a 'sorry' when you know the person doesn't mean it. And Madonna created a disco anthem to make us think about it while we're on the dance floor. It's impossible not to relate to lyrics like 'you’re not half the man you think you are,' which in my experience are screamed by gay men whenever they hear this song!

"But above all, it’s an empowering track and a very inclusive one – let’s not forget the number of languages she says 'sorry' in. Madonna didn’t want anybody to miss the message. I think another reason it speaks so loudly to the LGBTQ community is the brilliant remixes Madonna put out to promote it. It's especially exciting that she asked the Pet Shop Boys, queer pop icons in their own right, to put their spin on the song so Neil Tennant could duet with Madonna. Pure heaven!" Agustín, younger than Madonna, Madrid

Future Lovers

“I love that after the album’s opening headrush, Madonna, who's always so studiously controlled, seems to regain her composure here. We’re instantly hooked by the unmistakable rubbery throb of the bassline – a glorious homage to Donna Summer’s "I Feel Love" that's not quite a sample – and then Madonna unveils this sort of quasi-spiritual life coach persona. The instructions she gives are oppressive, alluring, and reach serious levels of camp when she tells us to ‘forget your problems, administration, bills and loans.’

"I think it’s interesting that "Future Lovers" is the only track that [Madonna's Music and American Life collaborator) Mirwais produced on this album. It’s brittle, hard-edged, and thrilling; I guess in a way it never quite hits the exhilarating highs of the album’s classics, but I like how it’s self-possessed and elusive in its own way.” – Dylan, 33, Dublin

I Love New York

"Obviously “Hung Up” was the big hit but “I Love New York” lodged itself in me. It's the guitar chords, the house tempo, the fuck-you energy, even the petty Texas diss: 'Isn’t that where they golf?' During one live performance she replaced that line with 'and you can suck George Bush’s dick!' which was catnip for my budding political sensibility.

"But I think most important for me was the line 'other cities make me feel like a dork.' As a loud, lanky, and closeted teen whose love of Le Tigre and CSS confused the few distant friends I had, the idea that New York would erase my dorkdom was intoxicating. I couldn’t wait to visit and see if Madonna’s promise would come true. Gay men have long been drawn to New York and who better than Madonna to put that into a song?"– Mo, 28, New York

Let It Will Be

"The lyrics really deliver on the title of the album, and there's a magic dynamism to the production that was only enhanced on The Confessions Tour. Her performance of "Let It Will Be" was the highlight of the tour for me, and I still imagine her letting go on stage every time I hear the song.

"I think Confessions resonates with us so much because it's a Madonna album, and she's much more than a pop star to the queer community. She's an artist and activist who stood up for us in the '80s and '90s when no one else with her platform would. More specifically, the queer community has a deep relationship with dance music and disco, and Madonna understands that the best dance music is both an escape and a confession. This album captures that duality perfectly." – Abdi, the age Madonna was when she released "What it Feels Like for a Girl,” LA

Forbidden Love

"I used to listen to “Forbidden Love” on my sister’s pink iPod Mini as a 13-year-old boy and feel such a deep, secret longing and yearning. I knew at this point that I wasn’t straight, but I was still many, many years from accepting that fact. I wasn’t sad, though, when I listened to this song. There was a sense of excitement that one day I’d fully experience that 'forbidden love.' – Jackson, 28, Melbourne

Jump

"I think it’s the most pulsating track on the record: there’s an urgency to the production which is perfect alongside the lyrics telling us to just fucking go for it. My favorite part is the bridge: ‘I can make it alone, my sisters and me, my sisters and me.’ I see that as Madonna’s call for female empowerment: she's telling us it’s time to move on, follow her lead, and jump. And we all do. I still play it in my DJ sets!" – Lady Lloyd, 29, London

How High

"I just find this song really euphoric and the production is tremendous. And I think the lyrics have an amazing existential layering to them; it's Madonna thinking of a world after we're gone. Will we have made a difference? Will we matter? Was it all for nothing? These are all really powerful ideas for me." – Court, 37, Denver

Isaac

"The album's second half has connected more with me as I've got older and experienced all the heartbreaks and disappointments which Madonna sings about on the first half. My trio of favorite tracks are “Isaac," “Push,” and “Like It or Not” because those songs showcase someone who's earning back their self-respect and confidence to live life again. They're songs about seeking happiness again. I particularly enjoy “Isaac” because listening to it almost feels like a spiritual experience. It's an exploration of one’s definition of happiness amidst other emotions like misery and regret." – Mark, 30, Seattle

Push

"I really enjoy the melody and the Eastern vibes in this song, but I find the lyrics more powerful. I really connect to them because I believe that your partner isn’t just your lover or your best friend; if he deeply loves you, he'll make you feel more confident and help you to grow and become wiser and stronger.  Whenever I listen to this track, I feel grateful for people who've improved my life and made me the man I am today.

“I feel quite sad that Madonna’s love songs are kind of underrated; some people only seem to appreciate her for her dancing tunes. "Push" is a perfect example of how she can write a simple but beautifully touching romantic song.” – Many, 28, Paris

Like It or Not

“I like how the whole album can be perceived as a response to the American Life 'backlash,' and "Like It Or Not" comes right at the end. It’s quite jarring because it’s the only slow-ish song on the album and she’s essentially saying: 'Are you done dancing? Because I have something to say now.' It’s just really defiant – at the time she was only in her forties but already facing so much ageism, and this song is essentially her saying: ‘Fuck you, I’m going to keep what I’m doing.'


“It's very obvious Madonna wrote a lot of it herself because the lyrics are full of 'life is a paradox'-type lines. But in a way, that’s what I love about it. She’s not always the most eloquent songwriter but I think that’s what makes this song so sincere and so honest.” Daniel, 29, Newcastle

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