Should Have Been Bigger: Madonna’s “Turn Up The Radio”

Mike Wass | May 9, 2020 2:34 pm
Flashback: Madonna's 'Girl Gone Wild'
Madonna's 2012 banger 'Girl Gone Wild' should have been a massive smash hit.

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

MDNA is Madonna’s most uneven album. When it’s bad (“I Don’t Give A,” “I’m A Sinner” and “Best Friend”), it’s quasi-torturous. But when it’s good (“Girl Gone Wild,” “Superstar” and “Love Spent”), it’s dance-pop bliss. The album’s fourth and final single definitely falls into the latter category. Co-produced with Martin Solveig, “Turn Up The Radio” was released with little fanfare after the album had already run its course. It charted in several European countries, before accepting its fate as a footnote in the Queen of Pop’s discography.

Which is highly annoying given that “Turn Up The Radio” is the kind of sugary sweet, ’80s throwback that gets Carly Rae Jepsen (and the other electro-pop girls) rave reviews on Pitchfork. “When the world starts to get you down and nothing seems to go your way,” Madonna begins the feel-good bop. “And the noise of the maddening crowd, makes you feel like you’re going to go insane — there’s a glow of a distant light, calling you to come outside.” That takes us to the French house-inspired chorus: “Don’t ask me where I wanna go, we gotta turn up the radio.”

“Turn On The Radio” is basically 2012 Madonna channelling 1986 Madonna. In other words, what The Gays have been begging for since the turn of the century. It’s cute, nostalgic and goes down easy. The song also holds up better than the vast majority of MDNA production-wise. Given its retro influences, “Turn Up The Radio” has a timeless quality that sets it apart. Oh, and then there’s the delightful, Tom Munro-directed video, which finds the living legend driving around Italy in a convertible picking up hotties.

Revisit the slept-on bop, which most definitely should have been bigger, below.

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