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Album: Ray Of LightReleased: 1998Charted:
Madonna tries to get through to a cold lover who's freezing her out in this electronic ballad, co-written by longtime collaborator Patrick Leonard. "You're frozen, when your heart's not open," she sings.
Madonna told Q Magazine
: "I was interested in fusing a kind of futuristic sound but also using lots of Indian and Moroccan influences and things like that, and I wanted it to sound old and new at the same time... I was so obsessed with the movie The Sheltering Sky
and that whole Moroccan/orchestral/super-romantic/man-carrying-the-woman-he-loves-across-the-desert vibe. So I told [Patrick Leonard] that I wanted something with a tribal feel, something really lush and romantic. When he started playing some music, I just turned the [digital audio tape] on and started free-associating and came up with the melody."
This climbed charts around the world, but its popularity in Belgium was short-lived after a judge ruled that it plagiarized the song "My Life's Getting Nowhere" by Salvatore Acquaviva. "Frozen" was banned in the country until 2014.
This was Madonna's sixth #2 single on the US pop chart, making her the artist with the most #2 hits in the history of the Billboard Hot 100.
In the music video, directed by Chris Cunningham, black-haired Madonna plays a shape-shifting witch who wanders the desert. The English director is known for his work with electronic acts like Aphex Twin, Autechre, and Bjork. "Frozen" won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects.
Madonna considered shooting the video in Iceland but opted for a desert in California. She explained to MTV News: "You know what, I'm going to be freezing. I'm going to be miserable, I'll be complaining all day, I'll be sorry that I ever chose a cold place. So I said, 'Let's do it in the desert, it'll be warm,' and it would be sort of the opposite, because even though you think of deserts as being hot, they're still sort of frozen in terms of there's no vegetation and they're very desolate. I thought that that would still work as a visual, but then we got there and it was like 20 degrees below zero, it was bitterly cold, and I was barefoot. I was barefoot for the entire video, and then it started pouring rain and everyone got really sick, and it just actually turned out to be a really miserable experience."
Jeff Scott Soto recorded this with the Swedish rock band Talisman in 1998. It's also been covered by German goth rockers Girls Under Glass, British rockers Gene Loves Jezebel, and the French/Dutch Eurodance group Mad'House.
This was featured in the 2010 Glee episode "The Power Of Madonna," though it was not performed by the cast.