Human Nature

Album: Bedtime Stories (1994)
Charted: 8 46
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Songfacts®:

  • Madonna is no stranger to controversy, but there's only so much criticism a person can take. The media took aim at the Material Girl for expressing her sexuality in her notorious coffee table book Sex, and the unapologetically explicit Erotica album. In "Human Nature," she mocks the pearl-clutching outrage of her critics, sarcastically cooing, "Oops, I didn't know I couldn't talk about sex."

    She told the Los Angeles Times: "It's my definitive statement in regards to the incredible pay-back I've received for having the nerve to talk about the things that I did in the past few years with my Sex book and my record. It's getting it off my chest. It is defensive, absolutely. But it's also sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek. And I'm not sorry. I do not apologize for any of it."
  • Madonna highlights the double standard of scorning a woman for embracing her sexuality, whispering, "Would it sound better if I were a man?" She elaborated: "I'm being punished for being a single female, for having power and being rich and saying the things I say, being a sexual creature - actually, not being any different from anyone else, but just talking about it. If I were a man, I wouldn't have had any of these problems. Nobody talks about Prince's sex life."
  • The hip-hop infused R&B track samples elements of Main Source's "What You Need" from the 1993 album F--k What You Think.
  • The music video, directed by Jean-Baptise Mondino, is all about breaking free from restraints. Tightly wrapped in leather and latex, a whip-wielding Madonna and her dancers are trapped in identical white cubicles, an effect the Chicago Tribune dubbed "S&M Hollywood Squares."

    Mondino structured the shot to keep the focus on the dancing. "I like the steadiness of the performance because then you can really enjoy the movement of the body. You see the skill," he said. "I like to shrink - as much as I can - the stage because I can grab her. If not, everyone is running around and I'm not good with this. So I came up with the boxes [laughs] and I knew that with the boxes I had to do with something quite un-expect-able because there's not too much stage to dance in. So there's something beautiful about it and they looked like bees or something."

    When Madonna told the director she wanted a dance-oriented clip, he introduced her to the work of Eric Stanton, an illustrator known for S&M-inspired drawings. "We didn't want to go for the straight S&M," she explained. "We wanted to have it be more about making fun of it."
  • Most radio stations censored the chorus-closing punchline "I'm not your bitch, Don't hang your s--t on me."
  • This peaked at #2 on the Dance chart.

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