Album: Rebel Heart
Madonna and her boyfriend try surviving in their desolated city in the insufficient “Ghosttown.”
An assaying synth opens the single, setting a faltering tone. She peeks out the door. A rustling sound causes her to poke her head back in before surveying the outside again. With some tentative steps, she emerges from her house and onto the porch. Garbage bags are all over her lawn. Abandoned cars line the street. She knocks on a couple doors. No one answers. She looks through the windows. Next door, dinner is still on the kitchen table. Across the street from her, the television is still on. Grateful to be alive, she runs back inside and gets her boyfriend. Things are going to get worse. It’s only the beginning. The only person she knows who will look out for her will be him. She believes that for right now, their plan should be to stay put. (“Maybe it was all too much/Too much for a man to take/Everything's bound to break/Sooner or later, sooner or later/You're all that I can trust/Facing the darkest days/Everyone ran away/But we're gonna stay here, we're gonna stay here.”)
In the pre-chorus, her boyfriend remains quiet, letting her take the lead. She tells him it’ll be ok. (“I know you're scared tonight/I'll never leave your side.”)
In the chorus, she says she’ll be strong for the both of them. It’s going to be them. They are going to get through it together. (“When it all falls, when it all falls down/I'll be your fire when the lights go out/When there's no one, no one else around/We'll be two souls in a ghost town/When the world gets cold, I'll be your cover/Let's just hold, onto each other/When it all falls, when it all falls down/We'll be two souls in a ghost town.”)
It began as couple news blurbs, a few small inches in the national section. Signs of trouble were there. She enters an empty home with her baseball bat. There’s got to be supplies they could use. Her boyfriend asks her if she smells smoke. She stops searching and starts sniffing. An explosion occurs. She and her boyfriend crouch on the floor, holding onto to each other as the glass flies around them. (“Tell me how we got this far/Every man for himself/Everything's gone to hell/We gotta stay strong, we're gonna hold on/This world has turned to dust/All we've got left is love/Might as well start with us/Singing a new song, something to build on.”)
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung again.
In the bridge, a few hours later, after they’ve both stopped shaking, they decide to venture out again. She was able to find a flashlight, allowing to see in the pure night. She holds onto her boyfriend, trying to avoid fallen street lamps. (“I know we're all right, cause we'll never be alone/In this mad mad, in this mad mad world/Even with no light, we're gonna shine like gold/In this mad mad, in this mad mad world/When it all falls, when it all falls down/I'll be your fire when the lights go out/When there's no one, no one else around/We'll be two souls in a ghost town.”)
The chorus is sung again to end the single.
Madonna remains calm and nurturing. She takes it too well that the world is going to end. There’s no fear in her voice or a sense of a real crisis.
The tame “Ghosttown” has an intriguing premise, raises the stakes and then does nothing