This Classic Madonna Track is a Song For World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day. This day means a great deal to many of us. The peak of the AIDS crisis generated some unforgettable songs by major artists that still hold up today. 

Released in 1992 and largely misunderstood at the time, Madonna’s Erotica was called “a post-AIDS album about romance” by Rolling Stone. The effects of the AIDS crisis are felt throughout the record. 

One track in particular stands on World AIDS Day. That’s the penultimate track, In This Life. The slow song, with orchestral arrangements, is about gay men in Madonna’s life she lost to the disease, including singer Martin Burgoyne, who was a good friend and former roommate, when she lived in New York in the early 80s. Burgoyne died from AIDS in 1986 at the age of 23. Christopher Flynn was Madonna's dance teacher and mentor, who died of aids as well. It’s also likely the song was inspired by the AIDS-related death of artist Keith Haring

The haunting track features percussion that many have likened to a doomsday clock, and it samples George Gershwin’s blues lullaby “Prelude No. 2.” 

This track was very much ahead of its time. It probably still is. 

Other key tracks to revisit on World Aids Day include:

Bruce Springsteen’s Oscar-winning “Streets of Philadelphia” from Philadelphia 

“The Last Song” by Elton John

“Boy Blue” by Cyndi Lauper

And “Sing” by Annie Lennox

Below are the full lyrics for “In This Life”

“Sitting on a park bench

Thinking about a friend of mine

He was only 23

Gone before he had his time

It came without a warning

Didn't want his friends to see him cry

He knew the day was dawning

And I didn't have a chance to say goodbye


In this life

I loved you most of all

What for?

'Cause now you're gone and I have to ask myself

What for?

What for?


Driving down the boulevard

Thinking about a man I knew

He was like a father to me

Nothing in the world that he wouldn't do

Taught me to respect myself

Said that we're all made of flesh and blood

Why should he be treated differently

Shouldn't matter who you choose to love


In this life

I loved you most of all

What for?

'Cause now you're gone and I have to ask myself

What for?


People pass by and I wonder who's next

Who determines, who knows best

Is there a lesson I'm supposed to learn in this case

Ignorance is not bliss


In this life

I loved you most of all

What for?

'Cause now you're gone and I have to ask myself

What for?


People pass by and I wonder who's next

Who determines, who knows best

Is there a lesson I'm supposed to learn in this case

Ignorance is not bliss


Have you ever watched your best friend die

Have you ever watched a grown man cry

Some say that life isn't fair

I say that people just don't care

They'd rather turn the other way

While we wait for this thing to go away

Why do we have to pretend

Some day I pray it will end


I hope it's in this life

I hope it's in this lifetime

I hope it's in this life

I hope it's in this lifetime 

You Voted: What Are the 10 Greatest Madonna Songs of All-Time?

We here at Instinct Magazine ran a simple poll on our social media accounts Tuesday by asking the following question: what is your all-time favorite song by the one and only Madonna?

Boy did y’all let us have it. The overwhelming response to this question proves how many of us in the LGBTQ community are so galvanized by this one-of-a-kind pop idol, as the responses many of you gave us went beyond a simple song title… they had reasoning and memories as well.

Madonna has recorded hundreds of songs over her illustrious 30-plus year career which many of you touched upon when giving us your pick. Some went as far back to her career beginnings in the early 80’s, others chose her popular hits as she entered her early 30’s and some went very obscure with picks that this writer had no idea even existed!

Overall, 75 songs received at least one vote on our social media polling, proving just how diverse and amazing Madonna’s collection of hits really are. Which ones, however, got the most votes?

After tallying up the votes, there were ten that led more than all the rest. Number one and two wasn’t too much of a surprise, at least from this writer’s POV, however some of the other ones did surprise me as I didn’t realize how popular they are.

For instance, “Like a Virgin”, one of her longest running number one singles, only received a handful of votes. Other songs on the lower end of the voting totem poll included “Music”, “Holiday”, and one of my personal favorites, “Take a Bow.”

Here are the 10, however, that were answered the most frequently between yesterday and today. Did your favorite make the cut? Let us know!

1. “Vogue”

2. “Like a Prayer”

3. “Frozen”

4. “Express Yourself”

5. “Ray of Light”

6. “Hung Up”

7. “Into the Groove”

8. “Live to Tell”

9. “Borderline”

10. “Deeper and Deeper”

Madonna Encourages Us to Vote With a Blast From the Past on Social Media

This is the push, guys. Midterm elections are TOMORROW, and it’s time to encourage everyone to get out and make their voices heard. 

The Queen of Pop is aware of this, and she shared a blast from the past on social media this morning to encourage her fans to ex-press them-se-elves. Hey-hey-hey-hey.

Madonna is the Mistress of Innovation, and she’ll always be relevant, but if there is one single moment in time where she was at the absolute zenith of her popularity and influence, it’s right about 1990, when this PSA went out. This is just after Like a Prayer, in the era of “Vogue” and the movie Truth or Dare (which was the most successful documentary ever at the time). 

In the funny and cute PSA, Madonna is barely clothed, in bright red lingerie. Two muscly male dancers in white tees and butt-hugging jorts (the 90s!) are the window dressing. Madonna raps a politicized spin on the spoken-word bridge from “Vogue.”



Strike A Pose There’s Nothing to it—V O T E mid terms! #vote

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

The lyrics: 

“Truth is where you find it

Get uppppp and voooote

Dr. King, Malcolm X

Freedom of speech is as good as sex

Abe Lincoln, Jefferson, Tom,

They didn't need the atomic bomb

If you don't vote, you're going to get a spanking.”

Arguably, for some of us, that should have ended with, “If you DO vote, you’re going to get a spanking!” You know who you are.

While we're at it, here's a voting PSA Madonna recorded two years later, at the height of her Erotica era. It's really cheeky. She takes a jab at MTV, and she even takes a sly dig at Cher

Never stop being you, Queen!


You heard her, guys: Get out and V-O-T-E tomorrow!

Film Critic Madonna Has Some Strong Opinions About Barry Jenkins' Follow-Up to 'Moonlight'

The Queen of Pop, our beloved LGBTQ+ icon, has some strong words for Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and his new movie: she’s a big fan.

Yesterday, Madonna took to her social media to praise the upcoming romantic drama film If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the 1974 novel of the same name by James Baldwin.

In a highly enthusiastic post, Her Madgesty said:

“Another Remarkable and Unforgettable film by Barry Jenkins!! Dir. of Moonlight. Based on a novel written by Our Lord James Baldwin! Amazing Actors! Gorgeous cinematography and camera work.

Score insanely beautiful! So many great messages. Out on November30th! Run to see it! thank you #bandrybarry#bealestreet #ifbealestreetcouldtalk #annapurnapics#jamesbaldwin ” -Madonna

Set in 1970s Harlem, the sprawling family drama If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of a young African-American woman who seeks to clear the name of her wrongfully accused lover as she prepares to give birth to his baby.

James Baldwin is one of the best and most influential Black, queer writers ever. There was a great, Academy Award-nominated documentary about him released last year called I Am Not Your Negro. Seek it out if you haven’t seen it. Baldwin died from stomach cancer in 1987. Richard Wright called Baldwin “the greatest black writer in the world.”

I saw If Beale Street Could Talk last night, and Madonna is right. I mean, Madonna is always right about everything, guys… but I figured I would offer my two cents.

Annapurna releases If Beale Street Could Talk on Nov. 30. Here’s the trailer.



This Week Marks Three Major Pop Music Anniversaries For Three of Our Favorite Icons. Which One Means the Most?

This week marks three major milestones: three of the biggest music releases for three of our favorite pop icons and outspoken LGBTQ+ allies.

October 19: The 20th anniversary of Cher’s iconic single Believe (the album of the same name was released three days later).


October 20: The 26th anniversary of Madonna’s album Erotica.


October 23: The 20th anniversary of Britney Spears’ first single, …Baby One More Time.


We’re curious: Which of these means the most to you? Which do you think holds up the best and will stand the test of time?

I like all three of these, but for this writer it’s a no-brainer: Erotica all the way.

A concept album, Erotica was mostly reviled in its day. Good luck finding a pop star today who hasn't borrowed from it enormously, repeatedly. All of them have—over and over.

Rolling Stone was one of the only positive reviews in 1992; they got it, calling it, "a post-AIDS album about romance.”

This music has meant a great deal to me since I was in my teens and was figuring out that I was gay. It is a dark album that's helped me get through some of the darkest periods of my life. It's an album that takes you on a journey, and ultimately it's about the power of love.

Related: All 13 Madonna Studio Albums, Ranked

This record is Madonna the artist at her most experimental, fearless and vital. I really hope she taps into these innovative instincts on her 14th studio album, due next year. I will adore her no matter what, but I want her to stop following trends; she is the ultimate trendsetter. Erotica was so ahead of its time, and I know Madonna still has this life force and creativity in her. I have no doubt.

Erotica is an iconic, enduring and inclusive part of LGBTQ+ culture.

That said, I can definitely appreciate Britney and Cher, and I’m certainly open to hearing opinions other than my own. 

Please let us know which of these releases means the most to you, and why.

Madonna and The Fat Jewish Hold 'Ee-rotic' Dance Auditions in New Skincare Promo. It's Really Bizarre.

Madonna is still tirelessly promoting her mega-expensive though well-reviewed skincare line MDNA Skin. In her latest online commercial, she’s joined once again by The Fat Jewish (Josh Ostrovksy)

In a six-minute segment cheekily called “Roll Call,” the Queen of Pop is advertising a $200 infrared “beauty roller” that honestly looks a bit phallic. Maybe that’s not accidental. She and Ostrovsky see several world-class dancers accomplish amazing feats with their bodies—but it always comes back to this wand that’s supposed to—well, what exactly is this thing supposed to do again? I’ve seen several commercials for this thing, and I still don’t know what it does.

I can totally respect Madonna’s many side hustles. 100%. But after the release of a lousy track yesterday (Madonna was a featured artist on Quavo’s confusing “Champagne Rose,” along with Cardi B, who confuses me), I’m starting to worry.

Earlier this year, she made ripples with an interview about her upcoming fourteenth studio album, criticizing current popular music for sounding homogenous-- singling out tracks with tons of guests on them. Like…? Isn’t that exactly what this “Champagne Rose” track is? A confused mess of too many cooks?

Historically, Madonna is the Mistress of Innovation. But since 2008’s Hard Candy, her records and other artistic output have copied what’s trendy, with mixed results. At worst, her recent material has sounded downright lifeless. Which is just insane-- Madonna has more personality and spirit in her pinky than most music stars do in their entire bodies.

Related: All 13 Madonna Albums, Ranked

The best part of this new skincare promo video is the last few seconds. Madonna sings the “Erotica” chorus into one of her beauty products, a makeshift mic. Just watching her sing that takes me there. Erotica was so ahead of its time. A lot of people hated it when it came out; it’s now seen as an influential classic, one of the best pop albums of the 1990s. That album is Madonna the uncompromising artist at her most vital-- a far cry from the new track or promotional vids with the Fat Jewish.

I’m fine with Madonna doing bizarre adverts for beauty products I don’t even understand, and I’ll abide her having some fun guesting on forgettable hip-hop tracks, but I don’t want Madonna to lose her edge. I don’t want her to follow trends instead of experimenting.

I do not want her to sell out. One the best songs of her entire catalogue, a ballad called “Gone” that closes the great album Music, begins with the line,

“Selling out, is not my thing…”

I adore Madonna. Madonna is actually one of my personal heroes. Her contribution to pop culture cannot be overestimated, and she’s been an outspoken gay ally since long, long before it was cool— something we should never forget and never take for granted.

As a diehard, though, I really, really, really want her to deliver in 2019. I know she has a surprising, exhilarating album in her somewhere. I know she has the raw materials to keep being great for decades to come.

Watch Roll Call below. Do you think I’m being too sensitive? Should I just sit back and let Madonna have her fun on the internet? Or do you share some of my concerns? Please let us know in the comments.


Madonna Just Changed the Release Date of Her Fourteenth Studio Album.

The Queen of Pop is, as always, hard at work. She’s currently traveling the globe to promote her expensive but well-reviewed MDNA Skin line of skincare products.

In a new interview with WWD published on Monday, Madonna was promoting a $200 beauty roller. She also informed fans that her fourteenth studio album won’t be out until 2019.

“I’m finishing my record, which I’m going to release next year. Yep, in between rose mist spray and serums, I’m actually making music. Can’t quit my day job.”

It was previously reported that her new album would drop by the end of 2019.

This sounds like bad news, but maybe it isn’t. I am a hardcore, diehard, live-it-and-breathe-it Madonna fan, and as hard as it is for me to wait, I’m fine with the pushback if it means she’s really taking her time with it to make it something special.

Madonna is a multitasking businesswoman, and that’s fine. There’s less than nothing wrong with a side hustle or twelve.

But aside from being a mother of six, this fan wishes the music to be Madonna’s top priority. It’s what put her on the map, and she remains the best-selling female recording artist in history, per the Guinness Book of World Records.

Her worst studio album ever, though it definitely had its moments, was 2012’s MDNA. Producer William Orbit (he also worked on Ray of Light) said in the press that the album didn’t turn out great because Madonna was focused on other business ventures.

Related: Instinct Ranked Madonna's 13 Studio Albums

If spending a few more months on #14 is a matter of really honing in and making it shine, that’s just splendid.

The first single from the new album is rumored to be “Beautiful Game.” She performed the track at this year’s Met Ball.


I love how aggressive she still sounds at 60, and I love the phrase “Because your world is such a shame/Because your world’s obsessed with fame/Because your world’s in so much pain.” There’s no question that she’s still got it. The life force we’ve fallen for since the 80s is still there in plain sight.

Madonna’s most underrated talent, even though it’s the one that she’s perhaps best-known for, is her gifts as a singer-songwriter. She has written incredible, breathtaking lyrics on numerous occasions. She is best when she’s not following trends but rather experimenting.

In 2018, the world has officially gone insane (or at least the wool isn’t over our eyes anymore and the insanity is just more visible), and men are out of control. We need a great, biting, hard-hitting and hopeful pop record from this feminist icon now more than ever. I am certain that she has it in her.

Interview: WWD

Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or the fellow contributors.

Cher's $40 Million-Dollar Malibu Mansion Raided By Police on Felony Drug Charges

Could this be karma for rudely shading Madonna on Ellen? After all, how many cross the Queen of Pop and get away with it?

Just before her well-reviewed ABBA tribute album Dancing Queen was released [today], Cher’s Malibu mansion was raided by police on Thursday, as reported by TMZ.

The 72-year-old wasn’t home at the time of the raid; she’s on an international tour.

Police executed a search warrant after a Ventura County resident’s drug-related death earlier this month was traced to 23-year-old Donovan Ruiz, the son of one of Cher’s assistants. He was living at Cher's pad at the time. 

Cher’s $40 million-dollar home was a spectacle on Thursday, with a massive swarming of law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics on the scene. Paramedics were on hand in case violence erupted, which apparently it didn’t.

Ruiz was taken into custody for a felony: supplying drugs to someone who dies.

This story is still developing. For more, go to TMZ.

Don’t do drugs, kids! On a more upbeat note, Dancing Queen is available to stream or purchase now.

Cher On Possible Duet Partners: "Adele, Pink, And...Not Madonna"

During a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote her new album, Dancing Queen, Cher took part in a game of “5 Second Rule” and the always-unfiltered music icon did not hold back.

Asked to name three celebrities she would want to do a duet with, Cher responded, “Adele, Pink, and… uh, um, not Madonna.”


Ellen took the Oscar winner to task for not answering the question properly: “Well, alright Miss Negative! He said who you’d want to, not who you wouldn’t want to!”

In true Cher fashion,  she replied with a smile, “Well, I took a little license.”



Actually, Cher has had a problem with Madonna going back decades.

In a 1991 interview, Cher praised Madge for her creativity but critiqued the Queen of Pop’s manners and limited abilities.

 “I think she’s unbelievably creative, because she’s not unbelievably talented, she’s not beautiful and she’s kind of rude!,” said Cher. “She’s creative but she’s rude.”

She would later admit to CBS that her dim view of Madonna actually came from an incident at Cher’s house when Madonna apparently wasn’t on her best behavior.

“There’s something about her that I don’t like. She’s mean, and I don’t like that.

“I had her over to my house once, and she was so rude to everybody. It seems to me that she’s got so much that she doesn’t have to act the way that she acts, like a spoiled brat all the time.

“It seems to me that when you’ve reached the kind of acclaim that she’s reached, and can do whatever you want to do, you should be a little more magnanimous and be a little less of a c**t.”

But in a 2013 Q&A for Reddit, Cher gave Madonna credit for keeping her finger on the pulse of pop culture, writing, “I never hated her, I just thought she was a bitch. Actually I quite respect her. Actually I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I’ve known. I don’t like everything she does, for sure, but she is always riding the crest of the wave. She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos."

Madonna hasn't responded to Cher's latest critique, so staying tuned for that.

In any case, this whole Cher/Madonna feud thing apparently took the hosts of ET Canada by surprise. Watch below.



At the end of the day, we love both of the trailblazing icons.

And truth be told, they wouldn’t be the celebs we adore if they didn’t have their opinions, would we?

Cher’s new ABBA covers album, Dancing Queen, drops on Friday, September 28.

(h/t Billboard)

Madonna's MDNA Skin Commercials Are Weird, Wonderful, and Oh-So Madonna

While we wait impatiently for the Queen of Pop’s upcoming 14th studio album, Madonna is keeping us at least a little bit satiated--and certainly entertained--with video advertisements for her MDNA Skin line.

Madge has been all over to promote her highly scientific, mega-expensive products. For instance, last year she serenaded Jimmy Fallon while giving him a clay facial on NBC.

One of the staples of the skincare line is a $600 chrome clay face mask set complete with a magnetic tool that removes the product from your face without rinsing.

Right now, The Queen of Pop is promoting a toning rose mist spray. Something that should surprise no one: the commercials she’s been releasing online are eye-catching, dramatic and theatrical.


In the latest, Madonna delivers a soliloquy about her obsession with roses, cooing, “I want to live in a world of roses,” while serving impressively razor-sharp vogue moves in closeup, then dancing provocatively in a structured outfit that shows off her famously fit bum. 

She then sprays the mist all over herself and looks a little bit like she's climaxing.

Never change, Mom. Please just keep being you.

While we're on this topic, check out the MDNA promo from last year with “The Fat Jew” Josh Ostrovsky.

And for the record, there is a cheaper alternative to that MDNA face mask set, a battery-free option that runs for $200. We try to be helpful.