When Madonna released “You Must Love Me” from the film Evita in 1996, it not only reached the top 20 on the charts (pretty good for a theater-infused ballad) but it won an Academy Award as well. Fans and critics were surprised by Madonna’s vocal range and emotional singing.
Now, Lana Del Ray has come to ruin (although unintentionally) the memories of one of Madonna’s best songs to date. And her new remake has actually earned some good reviews.
“The Lana Del Rey/Andrew Lloyd Webber collaboration you didn’t know you needed arrived on March 5. They unite for an exquisite interpretation of ‘You Must Love Me,'” says Idolator‘s Mike Wass, who says that the ballad fits Lana’s voice and aesthetic “like a glove.”
Ernest Macias of Entertainment Weekly calls the remake “haunting,” and adds that Lana Del Rey claims Andrew Lloyd Webber is one of her inspirations for music. Unfortunately, judging by the remake, Webber should be offended. Lana Del Rey’s remake of Madonna’s “You Must Love Me” is as bad as Madonna’s remake of “American Pie.” It may be even worse.
The instrumentation, slightly different than Madonna’s version, starts off compelling enough. Then, Del Rey comes in, sounding arguably technically better than Madonna, but completely emotionless. Madonna at least knew her limits and stuck to her range (although it was surprisingly good considering Madonna’s previous songs), but Del Rey tries to go a couple keys above Madonna and ends up sounding completely flat.
The main difference between Lana and Madonna’s version as the latter had a point. It had a path, which the listener emotionally traveled on. But Lana’s version of “You Must Love Me” is an empty vessel. It doesn’t know if it wants to be sad, happy and sad, or even just happy. You can bet that Madonna’s critics will come in and scream how great Lana’s version is and how Madonna’s is lacking because she “doesn’t have the talent.”
Madonna’s critics have always been vicious, but they have particularly upped their ante this past decade. It’s not enough to denounce the “Queen of Pop” and her recent work, which has been admittedly mixed. Now, they go back in time and denounce Madonna’s previous work that was considered great at the time. Take 1996’s Evita — a film that won Madonna a Golden Globe, respectable box office numbers, and a mega-successful soundtrack. As an article by this author from the Inquisitr noted recently, many in the press and on social media now consider it a “flop,” when it was far from being one.
It’s great that singers with technically more proficient voices are taking on Madonna’s classics, but they need to understand that they could never copy Madonna’s vocal vulnerability. And that’s just fine, but they better stay far away from “Take a Bow.”