Ann Powers

Madonna At The Super Bowl: 7 Songs We Hope She Plays

She's tough enough. Here Madonna is on stage during the Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. i i

She's tough enough. Here Madonna is on stage during the Blonde Ambition tour in 1990.

Michel Linssen/Redferns hide caption

itoggle caption Michel Linssen/Redferns
She's tough enough. Here Madonna is on stage during the Blonde Ambition tour in 1990.

She's tough enough. Here Madonna is on stage during the Blonde Ambition tour in 1990.

Michel Linssen/Redferns

Blockbuster entertainment just got better, or at least could be for at least one 30-minute stretch in February. After two years of Super Bowl halftime performances that earned mostly boos — The Who's faltering attempt to rock out in 2009 and The Black Eyed Peas' typically ADHD-inducing routine in 2010 — a take-charge woman might be moving in to tidy up the place. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Madonna is reportedly in talks with the NFL to play the halftime show.

Doubters might question Madonna's ability to be family-friendly, or the wisdom in bringing her estrogen-powered hits into a testosterone-fueled environment like Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium. But Madonna was born (or self-invented, anyway) to play the Super Bowl.

Our Lady of Platinum and Corsets is the most competitive player in the history of American music — an up-by-the-bra-straps Horatio Alger who's consistently worked to have the biggest crossover hits, the most elaborate tours, the most attention-getting videos and the tightest abs in pop. Since the 1980s, she's eaten steamed vegetables out of Tupperware to stay in fighting form when she could have dined on caviar every night. And she loves sports!

Sure, Madonna's taste runs to athletic pursuits that aren't the most conventional: parkour, yoga, feminist boxing. But her fighting spirit will serve her well on that awkward mid-field stage, making her appearance the most Super Bowl-appropriate in years. Here's a playlist of Madonna songs that would perfectly fit the halftime show.

Madonna Super Bowl Playlist Wishlist

Cover for Madonna

Holiday

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Madonna

One day a year Americans come together to eat chips and dip, drink carbonated beverages and yell at a television. In these divided times, it's important to cling to our secular holidays, and Madonna's 1983 hit sets the mood.

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Cover for Madonna

Borderline

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Madonna

Football is a sport of lines, border and otherwise. As we cheer for every first down, this 1984 classic will help the Packers and the Patriots (or the Redskins and the Chargers, or....you tell me) keep on pushing.

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Keep It Together

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Like a Prayer

Sports is more exciting when things start to fall apart. That doesn't always happen in the Super Bowl. Mismatches and flat-out slaughters are common. On the off chance that this is a competitive, exciting game, we recommend this funk cut from Madonna's groundbreaking 1989 album Like A Prayer, which is a great rallying cry for an ace team under stress.

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This Used to Be My Playground

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Immaculate Collection/Something to Remember

It's highly doubtful that Madonna will perform any ballads during her possible Indianapolis extravaganza. If she should choose to bring the mood down for a minute, though, an excerpt from this 1992 ballad would be quite appropriate. It's the theme song from her own sports movie — the femme baseball biopic A League of Their Own -- and, with its wistful tone, captures the melancholy, Friday Night Lights side of the gridiron.

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Cover for Ray of Light

Ray of Light

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Ray of Light

"And I feel like I just got home ..." Madonna's 1998 ode to yoga bliss may seem a bit hippie-dippy for end zone dances, but with William Orbit's intelligent dance beats behind her, Madge transforms a meditation on self-acceptance into a kick-ass rallying cry. I want to see somebody do a touchdown dance to this.

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Cover for Confessions on a Dance Floor

Jump

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Confessions on a Dance Floor

The video for this inspirational track from the 2006 album Confessions on a Dance Floor features parkour, the French street dance/sport that Madge also incorporated into her subsequent tour. Running backs might consider some of the moves invented by these streetwise Euro dudes to get through the line.

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4 Minutes

  • Artist: Madonna
  • Album: Hard Candy

Inviting Justin Timberlake to cameo during a Super Bowl spectacle is certainly a risk. But Madonna's not one to brook any slips, nipple or otherwise (in the video, Justin relieves Madge of nothing more than a harmless belt). And what more could a pigskin-preoccupied American want than a game in which any given four minutes really matter? Bring it!

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