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"Live to Tell" is a song by American singer Madonna from her third studio album True Blue (1986).
Originally composed by Patrick Leonard for the score of the film Fire with Fire, the instrumental was shown to Madonna, who decided to use it for then-husband Sean Penn's film At Close Range.
In this mushy tale of lost innocence, Madonna very theatrically conveys a lost fatalism.
Her fragile voice aches for reassurance and healing when she sings 'Will it grow cold? " "After a while I got sick of wearing tons of jewelry—I wanted to clean myself off.
Adam Sexton, author of Desperately Seeking Madonna: In Search Of The Meaning Of The World's Most Famous Woman, felt that "Live to Tell" made a provocative companion to "Papa Don't Preach", the second single from the album.
He added that "Madonna appropriately measured the safety of silence against the urge to unburden herself." Sexton also complimented the production, saying that the "music itself suggests a threatened annihilation, a fact that makes it more haunting." Allen Metz and Carol Benson, authors of The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary, felt that the track expanded Madonna's musical horizons.
This toned down blond appearance was again inspired by Marilyn Monroe.
"Live to Tell" was generally well received by music critics, who frequently referred to it as the best ballad of her career.
The song was released as the lead single from True Blue on March 26, 1986 by Sire Records.
The song is about being strong, and questioning whether you can be that strong but ultimately surviving." "Live to Tell" was generally well received by music critics.
In a review of the album True Blue, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic called it a "tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover".
According to Leonard, Madonna came up with the bridge by herself, extending it from the music that he was playing.
In an interview about the song, Madonna said, "I thought about my relationship with my parents and the lying that went on.
Madonna then starts to sing the bridge (or middle part) — "If I ran away, I'd never have the strength" — between the tonal keys of D and F, closing with the repetition of the chorus until the song gradually fades out.