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Madonna - The Look of Love (1987)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.52
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"The Look of Love" is a song by American singer Madonna from the soundtrack album to the 1987 film Who's That Girl. It was ...

"The Look of Love" is a song by American singer Madonna from the soundtrack album to the 1987 film Who's That Girl. It was the third and final single release from the album and was released on November 25, 1987 by Sire Records. While shooting for the film, then called Slammer, Madonna had requested that producer Patrick Leonard develop a downtempo song that captured the nature of her film persona. She later wrote the lyrics and melody to the backing track developed by Leonard, and the song became "The Look of Love". Madonna was also inspired by actor James Stewart's performance in the 1954 film Rear Window when writing the song.

Featuring instrumentation from percussion, the song begins with a low bass synth line and a slow backing track, followed by Madonna singing the lyrics. Critically appreciated as a haunting track and noted as a "gem" on the album, "The Look of Love" reached the top ten of the charts in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It also charted in France, Germany and Switzerland, while reaching the top 20 of the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles. Madonna's only live performances of the song were on her Who's That Girl World Tour in 1987. During the performance Madonna pretended that she was lost on the stage, like her film character.

Reception

Rooksby called the song as "the other gem" of the Who's That Girl soundtrack along with "Causing a Commotion," and denoted it as "an expressive, understated track." J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography, commented that "'The Look of Love' was an exotic ballad." Don Shewey from Rolling Stone said that the song was "so haunting that it would leave you thinking as to where your life is going." John Evan Seery, author of Political theory for mortals: shades of justice, images of death, commented that the song portrayed Madonna's "discipline of gaze". Brian Hadden from Time found the song depressing. Tiju Francis from Vibe wrote: "For a such a commonly titled song, Madonna’s take does at least offer something a little different. [...] 'The Look of Love' actually sounds like part of the score – Madonna could well be singing over what was previously just the moody character development background synth music apparently present in every film in the ’80s. [...] But its slow-burn feel means the song is four minutes of not-particularly-intense brooding that never peaks – unlike a ballad." In August 2018, Billboard ranked it as the singer's 94th greatest song; Andrew Unterberger opined that its "aqueous production and mysterious melody give it an eerie quality befitting that inspiration, one of Madonna's most bewitching soundtrack compositions". The Guardian's Jude Rogers called it "an occasionally interesting tide of tropical sounds". Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson wrote that "if Madonna indeed wrote this European single in part as a tribute to James Stewart’s character in Rear Window, it’s impossible not to wish she’d instead opted for a lilting ode to Norman Bates’s mother".

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