I'll Remember

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For other meanings, see I'll Remember (disambiguation).
"I'll Remember"
Single by Madonna
from the album With Honors
B-side "Secret Garden"
Released March 8, 1994
Format CD single
Recorded 1994
Genre Pop
Length 4:23
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Madonna
  • Patrick Leonard
Madonna singles chronology
"Bye Bye Baby"
(1993)
"I'll Remember"
(1994)
"Secret"
(1994)

"I'll Remember (Theme from With Honors)" is a song by American recording artist Madonna. It was released on March 8, 1994, by Warner Bros. Records as the soundtrack single of the film With Honors. The song was a radical change in image and style for Madonna, who had received negative feedback, both critically and commercially, for the prior two years due to the release of her book Sex, the studio album Erotica and the film Body of Evidence. Warner Bros. decided to use Madonna as the vocalist for the song after noting that most of her previous soundtrack singles had achieved commercial success. "I'll Remember" has characteristics of late-70s styled songs. It utilizes a synthesized keyboard arrangement to bring about a continuously reverberating sound of heartbeat. Madonna's voice is supported by backing vocals.

Contemporary critics praised the song, hailing it as one of her best work. It was nominated for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television at the 37th Grammy Awards and Best Original Song at the 52nd Golden Globe Awards. "I'll Remember" was also a commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her fourth number-one hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also topped the singles charts in Canada and Italy. The accompanying music video portrayed Madonna singing the song in a stylized recording studio. Her look and style was compared to the imagery of the music video of previous single "Rain". The androgynous portrayal of Madonna smoking in the last shot, was appreciated critically for breaking gender barriers.

Background[edit]

The year 1992 saw the release of the book Sex by Madonna. However, the book, which contained explicit sexual imagery and pictures of voyeuristic fantasies, was negatively accepted by the critics as well as some her fans.[1] Madonna's fifth studio album Erotica and the film Body of Evidence were released at the same time; both failed to garner critical and commercial acclaim. Hence she decided to re-invent her image, to connect with her fans and repair the damage that her provocative image had caused to her career.[1] "I'll Remember" was one of the songs that was developed for this purpose. It was included in the soundtrack of the film With Honors. Madonna's own label, Maverick, was charged with the task of putting together the soundtrack album. They decided to have Madonna sing the song "I'll Remember", after noticing that all of her soundtrack releases have been commercially successful.[1] The ballad was co-written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and Richard Page. "I'll Remember" did not appear on any Madonna album, but was included in the ballads collection Something to Remember (1995). Regarding her feelings for the song, Madonna commented,

"I think most of the time when my records come out, people are so much distracted by so much fanfare and controversy that nobody pays attention to the music. [...] I can't tell you how painful the idea of singing 'Like a Virgin' or 'Material Girl' (1984) is to me now. I didn't write either of those songs, and wasn't digging very deep then. I also feel more connected emotionally to the music I'm writing now, so it's more of a pleasure to do it."[2]

Composition[edit]

A 26 second sample of "I'll Remember". Madonna sings the chorus of the song which is backed by vocals and a steadily reverberating keyboard bringing about the effect of heartbeat.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

According to author Rikky Rooksby, the song is written in the style of Album-oriented rock (AOR) by bands like Boston or Foreigner. It is slowed down from the tempo of rock songs and utilizes a steadily reverberating synth keyboard to bring on the effect of a heartbeat. "I'll Remember" has characteristics of late Seventies song apart from the arrangement and the low bass. Madonna sings in a low-key voice which is almost overshadowed by the synth arrangement.[3]

The song starts with a C major chord sequence and is used on the flattened seventh key of the sequence. But the actual key of the song is D major. It is set in a time signature of common time with a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute. Madonna's voice spans from F3 to G4.[4] A much stronger arrangement of drums are used in the second verse.[3] The chorus uses the chord sequence of D–G–Bm–A while the first two lines of each verse uses the chord progression of D–Bm–A–Bm and G–D–G–A. During the intermediate line "I learned to let go of the illusion that we can possess", the structure changes to D–Bm–G–D–A–G–A.[4] Backing vocals are used on the later choruses for support with the strings, cascading down to a minor arrangement before the third one. The song ends with fading out and devoid of any musical climax. Lyrically the song talks about Madonna looking back on a good love affair.[3]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Author Christopher Feldman in his book, Billboard Book of Number 2 Singles, described the song as a "tender ballad."[1] Billboard music editor Timothy White called the song as lilting and one of Madonna's classics in his book Music to My Ears: The Billboard Essays : Portraits of Popular Music in the '90s.[2] He also complimented the song for talking about a dead relationship.[5] Author Rikky Rooksby called the song as one of Madonna's biggest ever singles and a stronger cut.[3] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called the song as a "soundtrack gem".[6] Author J. Randy Taraborrelli in his biography of Madonna called the song a beautiful one. According to him, "it sounds like a flick theme too, equipped with smart chords and big emotion. It is reminiscent of another movie theme of Madonna's, 'Live to Tell' (1986)."[7] Music critique Peter Buckley noted that the song was atmospheric and one of Madonna's best works, showing her ability to stay in touch with and adapt to musical developments.[8] "I'll Remember" earned nominations for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television at the 37th Grammy Awards and Best Original Song at the 52nd Golden Globe Awards.[9][10]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song debuted at number 35 on the Hot 100 chart for the Billboard issue dated April 2, 1994.[11] After seven weeks, the song reached a peak of number two on the chart.[12] It stayed there for four weeks, being blocked from the top spot by All-4-One's "I Swear". The song became the fifth single by Madonna to reach the top two position and tied her with Elvis Presley for the most number-two songs. However, this record was broken by Madonna in 1998, when her single "Frozen" peaked at two.[13] The song also topped the Adult Contemporary chart for four consecutive weeks, becoming Madonna's fourth number-one for this chart following "Live to Tell", "La Isla Bonita", and "Cherish".[14] The single spent a total of 26 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on June 14, 1994. It was named by Billboard as one of the best-selling singles of 1994, having sold 500,000 copies within that year.[15][16]

In Canada, the song debuted at 52 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart.[17] After seven weeks it reached the top of the chart for the RPM issue dated May 16, 1994.[18] The song was present on the chart for 24 weeks,[19] and was ranked at number two on the Year-end RPM chart for 1994.[20] In the United Kingdom it debuted at ten on the chart and reached seven the next week. It was present for a total of eight weeks on the chart.[21] According to The Official Charts Company, "I'll Remember" has sold 100,090 copies in the United Kingdom, as of August 2008.[22] Across Europe, the song became a top 40 hit in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Switzerland. The song reached the top-ten in Australia, Ireland and Sweden and peaked the chart in Italy. It peaked just outside the top 40 in Germany.[23][24][25][26][27]

Music video[edit]

A woman sporting black, cropped hair and wearing a large necklace around her neck, singing in a recording studio.
Madonna sporting black, cropped hair and wearing a large necklace, sings the song in a recording studio. Her look for the video was compared with that in the video of the song "Rain".

The music video was directed by Alek Keshishian, who had previously directed the live performance versions of "Like a Virgin" (1984) and "Holiday" (1983) from the Truth or Dare documentary and also the music video of her single "This Used to Be My Playground" (1992).[28] The video featured production credits by Diane Greenwalt, editing by Patrick Sheffield and photography by Stephen Ramsey.[29] It features Madonna in a stylized recording studio singing the song with back up singers. The video was compared to the music video of Madonna's single "Rain" (1993).[30] Her look in the video, consists of blue-black icy hair, bright blue eyes and a long dark dress with a beaded necklace around her neck.[30] Madonna's face was mainly shot above her head, with her face looking up just ahead of the camera focus. Sometimes she looks to a video screen behind her which plays the scenes from the film, as if to take inspiration for her singing.[30] Other times she is accompanied by her back-up singers, mainly during the chorus, and sometimes she sings alone.[31] In front of the studio, the producers are shown deciding which part of the song should be put in lower bass.[30]

The music video ends with a shot of Madonna watching herself recording the song. In this last scene she is dressed in a long black coat and holds a cigarette in her hand.[31] Scholars noted that this last shot clearly illustrates the gender paradox of Madonna, because as she watches her female form singing the song, she herself is dressed in an androgynous way, holding a cigarette, which is associated as one of the symbolic forms of male supremacy.[32] Feminist writer Martha Leslie Allen lauded the video, as well as Madonna, "for breaking free of the conventional portrayal of women yet again, and displaying their duality."[33]

Tracklisting and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen
Italian Singles Chart number-one single
May 7, 1994
Succeeded by
"Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen
Preceded by
"Love Sneakin' Up On You" by Bonnie Raitt
Canadian RPM chart number-one single
May 16, 1994 – June 13, 1994
Succeeded by
"I Swear" by All-4-One
Preceded by
"Now and Forever" by Richard Marx
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
June 11, 1994 – July 9, 1994
Succeeded by
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Feldman 2000, p. 255
  2. ^ a b White 1997, p. 303
  3. ^ a b c d Rooksby 2004, p. 86
  4. ^ a b "Madonna Ciccone – I'll Remember – Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Music Notes. Alfred Publishing. 
  5. ^ White, Timothy (September 30, 1995). "Album Review: Something to Remember". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  6. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (November 9, 2001). "Madonna: GHV2 music review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Taraborrelli 2002, p. 242
  8. ^ Buckley 2003, p. 625
  9. ^ "The 37th Grammy Nominations". Los Angeles Times (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences). January 6, 1995. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Film, TV Nominees for the Golden Globes". Los Angeles Times (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences). December 23, 1994. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending April 2, 1994". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. April 2, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending May 28, 1994". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 28, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  13. ^ Bronson, Fred (April 4, 2008). "Chart Beat Chat: You Are There". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks: Week Ending June 11, 1994". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. June 11, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "Madonna – I'll Remember". Recording Industry Association of America. October 10, 1998. Retrieved June 24, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 59, No. 10, March 28, 1994". RPM. RPM Library Archives. March 28, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "Top Singles – Volume 59, No. 17, May 16, 1994". RPM. RPM Library Archives. May 16, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 60, No. 7, September 05 1994". RPM. RPM Library Archives. September 5, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "Top 100 Hit Tracks Of 1994". RPM. RPM Library Archives. December 14, 1994. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Chartstats – Madonna – I'll Remember". The Official Charts Company. Chartstats.com. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  22. ^ Jones, Alan (August 19, 2008). "The Immaculate Guide To 50 Years Of Madonna". Music Week (UBM plc). Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Madonna – I'll Remember". VRT Top 30 (in Dutch). Radio 2. April 23, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Madonna – I'll Remember (European Charts)". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. 1994. Retrieved July 16, 2008. 
  25. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irish Recorded Music Association. irishcharts.ie. March 30, 1994. Retrieved July 16, 2008. 
  26. ^ a b "Madonna: Discografia Italiana" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. 1984–1999. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  27. ^ a b "Chartverfolgung > Madonna > I'll Remember". Media Control Charts. Musicline.de. May 9, 1994. Retrieved July 16, 2008. 
  28. ^ Cross 2007, p. 290
  29. ^ Madonna (1990). The Immaculate Collection (VHS). Warner Music Vision. 
  30. ^ a b c d Clerk 2002, p. 112
  31. ^ a b "I'll Remember – Madonna". MTV. MTV Networks. September 9, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  32. ^ Association, Michigan Sociological (1999). Michigan sociological review. 13–15. Michigan: University of Michigan. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  33. ^ Allen, Martha Scott (1996). "Media report to women". University of California (California: University of California) 24. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  34. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1994". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Top Annuali Single: 1994" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  36. ^ a b c d "The Year In Music". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 106 (52): 9, 12, 28. December 24, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]