Don't Tell Me (Madonna song)
|"Don't Tell Me"|
|Single by Madonna|
|from the album Music|
|Released||November 14, 2000|
|Format||CD single, Maxi single, Cassette single, 7", 12"|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"Don't Tell Me" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Madonna, for her eighth studio album Music (2000). Written by Joe Henry, Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, while being produced by the latter two, the song was originally written by Henry, Madonna's brother-in-law, as "Stop" for his eighth studio album, Scar. A demo of the song was given by Madonna's sister, with the singer and Mirwais changing the tango-influenced track to give a more similar sonic style to her background music, but keeping its lyrics.
"Don't Tell Me" is a country and dance song, with elements of trip-hop and folk within its composition, and its lyrical content features "don't-tell-me-what-to-do" lyrics, where Madonna asks her lover to not tell her who she should love, or how she should love. It was released as the second single from the album on November 21, 2000 by Maverick Records. The song was also included on the compilation albums GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009).
"Don't Tell Me" received positive reviews from music critics, who cited the song as an album standout and praised Madonna's "soulful" vocals performance. Madonna also received comparisons to Sheryl Crow on the track. It was commercially successful, reaching the number one in Canada, and the top five in several regions, including Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, where it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It also topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart, while also making her tie with The Beatles and stay only behind Elvis Presley for the most top-ten singles and most gold singles in the Billboard history. "Don't Tell Me" has sold around 4.5 million copies to date.
The accompanying music video for "Don't Tell Me" was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and featured Madonna as a cowgirl walking down an automated treadmill walkway in front of a projection screen, with cowboys dancing and playing on the sand in the video played on the screen behind her. The video received two nominations on the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, while also being nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form. Madonna has performed the song live on the Drowned World Tour (2001) and the Re-Invention World Tour (2004), and also as a mashup with Miley Cyrus' song "We Can't Stop" when she appeared on Cyrus' MTV Unplugged special. A number of references to the song and cover versions were made.
- 1 Background and release
- 2 Recording and writing
- 3 Composition and lyrics
- 4 Critical reception
- 5 Chart performance
- 6 Music video
- 7 Live performances
- 8 Cover versions and references
- 9 Track listings and formats
- 10 Charts and certifications
- 11 See algo
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Background and release
In September 1999, it was announced that Madonna had reteamed with producer William Orbit for a possible follow-up to her Grammy-winning, multiplatinum 1998 album Ray of Light, according to the singer's spokesperson. Madonna was also signed to be on the movie "The Next Best Thing", also contributing to its soundtrack. In January 2000, Madonna announced that she was going to experiment with electronica on her then-upcoming album and was said to be venturing into the popular European dance style known as trance. The next month, Madonna released a cover of Don McLean's "American Pie" as a single to the soundtrack of "The Next Best Thing", while in April 2000, it was announced that French musician Mirwais Ahmadzaï was creating a melding of dance and pop songs with a disco feel for the album. In June 2000, "Music", the lead-single from the album of the same name, leaked online via fan sites and Napster over Memorial Day weekend and it was released in early August 2000. The song was a commercial success worldwide, topping the charts of over 9 countries, and later "Don't Tell Me" was released as the second single from the album on November 14, 2000.
Recording and writing
In May 2001, Joe Henry, Madonna's brother-in-law, released his eighth studio album, Scar (2001); featuring a track called "Stop". The demo of the song, written by himself, was first created at his home studio with string samples. Later, Henry played the demo for his wife and she said, "You know, I can really hear Madonna singing this song. You should send it to her, you know, she's making a record in London right now." However, he claimed, "If I was going to pitch something to her, I could probably dig something up, but it certainly wouldn't be this." Later, his wife sent Madonna a copy of the demo, but it was so musically different from the record she was making that she didn't know how she could make any use out of it. After some time, he was talking to Madonna on the phone and she asked to rearrange the track to fit in better with the album, recording the song months later. Henry claimed in an interview that he was surprised that, lyrically, it remained completely intact.
Composition and lyrics
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Don't Tell Me" was written by Joe Henry with additional lyrics by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, with the latter two also producing it. Ahmadzaï also provided programming, acoustic guitars and keyboards, while Michel Colombier arranged strings. It was composed using common time in the key of D major, with a moderately tempo of 97 beats per minute. Madonna's vocals range from the lower octave of G3 to the higher note of A♭4. Sonically, "Don't Tell Me" was considered "a country meets dance" track with trip hop beats infused with an acoustic "folksy" riff. During an interview for Interview Magazine, in March 2001, Madonna discussed the lyrics, stating, "To me it is a romantic song. Just, you know, rip my skin off, do not tell me who I should love, or how I should love. Don’t tell me to give up. To me, in a way it’s like that Frank Sinatra song, 'If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere'." The lines " "Tell the bed not to lay / Like the open mouth of a grave / Not to stare up at me / Like a calf down on its knees" were dubbed "confusing" and "weird" by some critics.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic called it a "stunner"; an "intricate, sensual [and] folk-psych" track. Ben Greenbank of Sputnikmusic wrote that the combination of two rabidly different genres works excellently." A writer for NME considered the song an "alt-alt-country, hacked-up acoustic guitar over knife-sharp beats," comparing her to Sheryl Crow. Gary Crossing of Dot agreed, writing that the song has "a touch of Sheryl Crow perhaps with nice Massive Attack-ish string arrangement, oddball stop-start beats," but considered the track "quite forgettable otherwise." Danny Eccleston of Q also saw similarities to Sheryl Crow, calling the song "Music's closest cousin to the internal landscapes of Ray of Light," also noting that the song has "a masterful ending - as a rhythm of insectoid whirrs and bendy ARP-style ‘wowp!’s join the guitar while Michel Colombier’s strings ape the peal of church bells." Cynthia Fuchs from PopMatters wrote that the song "is another near miss, with admirable attitude but, well, laughable lyrics." Regis D'Angiolini of CD Now was more critical with the song, calling it an "oddball amalgamation of folk and electronica that doesn't work." While reviewing her second compilation album, Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine commented about the track:
"'Don't Tell Me' was the most unlikely follow-up to 2000's 'Music'. Stop-and-go guitar riffs, an atypical structure and peculiar lyrics ('Tell the bed not to lay/Like the open mouth of a grave/Not to stare up at me/Like a calf down on its knees') made it an unlikely hit to boot. But a hit is exactly what it was, earning Madonna her 27th Top 5 hit and 24th gold single (tying the Beatles). "Don't Tell Me" found Madonna at her most soulful, with a vocal performance reminiscent of the forceful tone of "Express Yourself."
In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their top 20 favorite Madonna singles of all time by Q magazine, and "Don't Tell Me" won the number 13 spot. In 2005, the song was placed at number 285 on Blender magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born". In 2013, Keith Caulfield of Billboard listed "Don't Tell Me" at number 26 on "Madonna's 40 Biggest Billboard Hits" list. Amanda Hutchinson of MetroLyrics placed the song at number 7 on her "Playlistin': 10 Best Madonna Songs" list, writing that "Everything about Madonna's 2000 hit "Don't Tell Me" is awesome: the sassy don't-tell-me-what-to-do lyrics, the 'Sweet Home Alabama'-style guitar licks, and Madge's amazing cowboy look in the music video." Website HowStuffWorks ranked the song as one of her top 25 songs from the 2000s decade.
While listing "The 100 Greatest Madonna Songs", Louis Virtel of The Backlot ranked the song at number 25, writing that on the song "Madonna's a lonesome troubadour defending her very being while invoking some tried-and-true country music imagery. The whole whirs and gyrates like a lasso, and it’s an unmistakable radio moment of the early 2000s." Mark Graham of VH1 placed the song at number 20 on his "53 Favorite Madonna Songs", in honor of her 53rd birthday, and Bill Lamb of About.com listed the track at number 34 on his "Madonna's 38 Top 10 Pop Songs". Matthew Jacobs of Huffington Post listed "The Definitive Ranking Of Madonna Singles" and "Don't Tell Me" was picked as her 20th, with Jacobs writing that the song is "one of the standouts from the 'Music' album," noting that "the country-inspired 'Don't Tell Me' thrived because it was such an unlikely follow-up to the electronic-infused title single."
"Don't Tell Me" debuted at number 78 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, on the week ending December 9, 2000. It climbed to number 54 the following week, while in its third week, it reached the top-forty at number 35. After its commercial release, the single climbed from number 16 to number 4, giving the singer her 34th top-ten hit. The feat made her tie with The Beatles and put her within reach Elvis Presley's record of 36 top-ten hits at the time; however, Madonna surpassed both when she released "4 Minutes" in 2008, becoming the artist with most top-ten singles in Billboard history. On March 28, 2001, the RIAA certified "Don't Tell Me" gold, becoming her 24th gold single and tying her with The Beatles for the second spot of most gold records in the United States. On the Hot Dance Club Songs, it managed to remain for 14 weeks on the chart, outlasting "Music" and tying with "Ray of Light" as Madonna's longest running club hit since "Bedtime Story" (1995). In addition, "Don't Tell Me" is Madonna's biggest hit on the Adult Top 40 chart, where it peaked at number four.
The song was also a huge commercial success around the world, peaking in the top five in many countries. It hit the number one spot in Canada, New Zealand, becoming her twentieth number-one single in Canada and fourth consecutive (following "Beautiful Stranger", "American Pie" and "Music"), while in New Zealand, it became her fifth number-one and second consecutive (following "Music"). In the United Kingdom, "Don't Tell Me" reached the number four slot, on December 8, 2000, becoming her twelfth consecutive top-ten single. According to The Official Charts Company, the song has sold 185,000 copies there. In Australia, "Don't Tell Me" peaked at number seven and it was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 70,000 units. In Italy, "Don't Tell Me" peaked at number 2 for two non-consecutive weeks, in Finland, it reached number 3, while in Norway, the song managed to reach number 6. "Don't Tell Me" has sold around 4.5 million copies to date.
The music video for "Don't Tell Me" was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who worked with Madonna in her videos for "Open Your Heart", "Justify My Love", "Human Nature" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore", and filmed in October 2000. The choreography was done by Alex Magno, who also collaborated on the Drowned World Tour. The tour designers Dsquared and Arianne Phillips also designed Madonna's cowgirl costume. The video features Madonna walking down an automated treadmill walkway in front of a projection screen, while cowboys dance and play on the sand in the video played on the screen behind her. Later, they join Madonna in front of the screen in a choreographed dance routine. The iconic final scene of the video depicts a cowboy riding a Skewbald horse in slow motion getting thrown to the ground, and getting up again.
The video was nominated for two awards on the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Female Video and Best Choreography (Jamie King), while also being nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form. The video was also voted Madonna's 10th sexiest video by Extra and 37th best music video by The Backlot.
Madonna performed "Don't Tell Me" on her 2001 Drowned World Tour and her 2004 Re-Invention World Tour. She also performed the song at the Late Night with David Letterman and the German game-show Wetten, dass..?. She performed the song along with Music in the British television programme Top of The Pops. In January 2014, Madonna appeared as a special guest during Miley Cyrus' MTV Unplugged special. She sang a mash-up of "Don't Tell Me" with Cyrus' song "We Can't Stop". According to Cyrus, "Don't Tell Me" is one of her most favorite songs to karaoke to.
Cover versions and references
At the 2001 MTV Movie Awards as hosted by Jimmy Fallon and Kirsten Dunst, a parody of the song (and video) were performed by the hosts, as they detailed the anticipated events of the evening. Fallon at one time dropped to the floor to bathe himself in sand, a la Madonna in the video.
Rock band The Androids recorded a song entitled "Do It with Madonna", where they detail how they would prefer sex with the titular star as opposed to more recently unveiled pop idols. One citation they make to Madonna's appeal is a music video in which she's wearing a "cowboy hat and [...] kicking the dirt", a clear reference to the video for "Don't Tell Me".
Track listings and formats
Charts and certifications
"Again" by Lenny Kravitz
|Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
December 8, 2000
"Goodnight Moon" by Shivaree
"The Underground" by Celeda
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
January 20, 2001
"Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" by Modjo
"Cruisin'" by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
February 25, 2001
"Love Don't Cost a Thing" by Jennifer Lopez
- "Don't Tell Me | Madonna | Releases | Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Kaufman, Gil (September 24, 1999). "Madonna And William Orbit Take Another Spin In Studio". Sonic.net. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Kaufman, Gil (January 13, 2000). "Madonna Turns Up Electronica On Upcoming LP, Producer Says". Sonic.net. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "'American Pie' Rocks Top-40 Radio". Sonic.net. February 9, 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Madonna Taps French Musician Mirwais To Co-Produce Upcoming Album". MTV News. April 18, 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Manning, Kara (June 2, 2000). "Madonna's Music Leaked Online". Sonic.net. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Pop Beat: Madonna, Backstreet Boys, Elton John ...". Sonic.net. July 12, 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Graff, Gary. "Joe Henry, Madonna Collaborate". ABC News. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Worley, Gail. "Almost Famous: An Interview with Joe Henry". Queen Dork. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- "Digital sheet music – Madonna Ciccone - Don't Tell Me". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Publishing.
- Greenbank, Ben (January 21, 2007). "Madonna - Music (album review) | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Sisohy, Ingrid (March 2001). "Interview Magazine (March 2001)". Interview.
- Eccleston, Dany. "Reviews - Madonna: Music (Q Magazine)". Q. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Fuchs, Cynthia (September 19, 2000). "Madonna: Music < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- "NME Album Reviews - Music - NME.com". NME. September 15, 2000. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Crossing, Gary. "dotmusic - reviews - albums - 'Music'". Dot (music). Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Thomas, Stephen (2000-09-19). "Music - Madonna". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- D'Angiolini, Regis. "CDNOW: Items: Madonna: Music: review". CD Now. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Cinquemani, Sal (November 9, 2001). "Madonna: GHV2 | Music Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- "Top 20 Madonna Singles of All-time". Q (Bauer Media Group) 19 (23): 87. December 9, 2003. ISSN 0955-4955.
- "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born (251–300)". Blender. Alpha Media Group. 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- Caulfield, Keith (August 16, 2013). "Madonna's 40 Biggest Billboard Hits". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Hutchinson, Amanda. "Playlistin': 10 Best Madonna Songs". MetroLyrics. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- "Madonna's 25 Most Popular Songs". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Virtel, Louis (February 3, 2012). "The 100 Greatest Madonna Songs". The Backlot. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Graham, Mark (August 16, 2011). "My 53 Favorite Madonna Songs (In Honor Of Her 53rd Birthday)". VH1. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Lamb, Bill. "Madonna's 38 Top 10 Pop Songs". About.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Jacobs, Matthew (April 22, 2014). "The Definitive Ranking Of Madonna Singles". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- "Madonna Passes Beatles, Nears Elvis". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 113 (5): 102. February 3, 2000. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Pesselnick, Jill (May 5, 2001). "Eagles, Madonna Achieve Historic Certifications". Billboard 113 (18): 48. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Billboard Hot 100 - December 9, 2000". Billboard 112 (50): 104. December 9, 2000. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- "Billboard Hot 100 - December 23, 2000". Billboard 112 (52): 76. December 23, 2000. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Pietroluongo, Silvio (2008-04-02). "Mariah, Madonna Make Billboard Chart History". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Madonna - Chart History (Dance Club Songs Pt.3) - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna - Chart History (Dance Club Songs Pt.4) - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna - Chart History (Adult Top 40) - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Music - Madonna | Awards | Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Charts.org.nz – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna | Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna: The Official Top 40". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- "Australian-charts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- "Italiancharts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". Top Digital Download. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna: Don't Tell Me" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". VG-lista. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Rowe, Andrea (December 27, 2009). "Madonna's Hits from 2000-2009". Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- "Rock on the Net: Madonna". Rock on the Net. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "The 10 Best Madonna Music Videos". Extra (TV program). February 3, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Virtel, Louis (August 16, 2013). "Madonna’s 55 Best Videos, In Honor of Her 55th Birthday". AfterEllen.com and TheBacklot.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna sets TOTP date". BBC News. November 17, 2000. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Anitai, Tamar (28 January 2014). "It’s True, Y’all: See Miley Cyrus And Madonna Join Forces Onstage For ‘Unplugged’". MTV. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Jimmy Fallon & Kirsten Dunst ~ Madonna Parody". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "The Androids - Do It With Madonna Lyrics". MetroLyrics. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Lizz Wright Dreaming Wide Awake". Allmusic. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me (CD 2)
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me (Remixes)
- Madonna – Don't Tell Me (The Remixes)
- "Madonna – Don't Tell Me – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Ultratop.be – Madonna – Don't Tell Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Danishcharts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". Tracklisten. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Hits of the World Continued". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 112 (52): 41. December 23, 2000. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Lescharts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Chart Track: Week 01, 2001". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Madonna – Don't Tell Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Madonna – Don't Tell Me". Singles Top 60. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Madonna. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Madonna.
- "Madonna Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Madonna. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Madonna Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Madonna. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2001". Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- "I singoli più venduti del 2000" (in Italian). Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- "Billboard Top 100 – 2001". Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- "Madonna on RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)". RIAA. Retrieved 23 April 2012.