Beyoncé went meta with her “Queens Remix” of lead single “Break My Soul” by interpolating Madonna’s “Vogue” into her instance classic House song, and I cannot stop devouring and dissecting it.
Somehow, Beyoncé just improved my favorite pop song of all time.
I’ve been spinning Beyoncé’s new record Renaissance for a few weeks now. If there’s one quick way to my music-loving heart, it’s to produce an album full of durable songs that’s dancefloor ready from front to back. While I’m not an official BeyHive member, but Beyoncé is on my list of artists of whom I keep a complete discography – so, I’ve had (and have heard) all of her songs.
My complete collection doesn’t usually extend to remixes, but in this case I made an exception. That’s because this remix of “Break My Soul” interpolates Madonna’s “Vogue” and ads a whole set of new lyrics from Beyoncé riffing on Madonna’s classic film star rap in the original song.
It’s well-established on this blog that “Vogue” is my personal gold standard of pop singles. When Madonna released it 32 years ago it struck me like a lightning bolt, as much for it message of finding acceptance on the dancefloor as for its House beat.
“Vogue” was Madonna’s first dabble in House music, thanks to co-writer and producer Shep Pettibone and his samples from The Salsoul Orchestra’s post-disco classic “Ooh I Love It (Love Break Groove).” Voguing itself was a NYC ballroom culture dance style that hadn’t broken through far into the mainstream at the time. It’s unsurprising Madonna would hear a house beat and think of the dance, but it was pure serendipity that she wound up making the word and the dance synonymous with House music across the world.
(This was memorably documented on the first episode of Season 2 of Pose, “Acting Up,” which gives a fictionalized glimpse at how the NYC ballroom scene initially reacted to Madonna’s track.)
As I’ve grown and learned more about house music, voguing, and ballroom, I realize that even though Madonna was using “Vogue” to shine a spotlight on ballroom culture, she was also appropriating it for her own use. It was the moment that marked her ascension to global dominance. She used that platform to preach acceptance and to raise awareness for HIV/AIDs, and she employed many dancers and choreographers along the way, but it’s not as though of all her success trickled down the people who were innovating Voguing in the ballroom scene. [Read more…] about Music Monday: “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” – Beyoncé, featuring Madonna’s “Vogue”