On April 28 2001, Madonna’s What It Feels Like For A Girl was the Hot Shot Debut (highest new entry) at #38 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart. What It Feels Like For A Girl eventually became Madonna’s 25th #1 Dance hit in the U.S.
Despite the club success of the remixes, some fans and critics were displeased with the use of the Above & Beyond remix in the music video, and with the dark nature of the Guy Ritchie-directed clip, preferring the more subtle and restrained attack of the album version. Others felt that the more aggressive and confrontational feel of the remix and video were natural extensions of the emotions and experiences that Madonna was exploring within the song; feelings that were left bubbling beneath surface of the deceptively gentle and subdued album mix.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, in retrospect one thing is clear: when revisited through the lens of the current “Me Too” movement, the overarching themes that Madonna explored with the release of What It Feels Like For A Girl were ahead of the curve in terms of social discourse. Although the same could be said for so much of Madonna’s work.