Madonna “Vogue” Lyrics Meaning

“Vogue” is a song by Madonna from her album “I’m Breathless” in 1990. Madonna wrote and produced it with Shep Pettibone. The song was inspired by voguing, a dance from the underground gay scene in New York City.

The lyrics of the song promote having a good time on the dance floor, regardless of where you’re from or the challenges you may face. This message of inclusivity and escapism resonated with people, making “Vogue” an iconic anthem of its time.

In this article, we’ll explore the meaning behind the lyrics.

Madonna “Vogue” Lyrics Meaning


Strike a pose

Strike a pose

Vogue (Vogue, vogue)

Vogue (Vogue, vogue)

The “Intro” of the song sets the tone with the words “Strike a pose” repeated twice, followed by “Vogue (Vogue, vogue).” It’s an invitation to strike a fashionable and confident pose while voguing, a style of dance. This sets the mood for the song’s themes of self-expression and empowerment on the dance floor.

[Verse 1]

Look around, everywhere you turn is heartache

It’s everywhere that you go (Look around)

You try everything you can to escape

The pain of life that you know (Life that you know)

When all else fails and you long to be

Something better than you are today

I know a place where you can get away

It’s called a dance floor

And here’s what it’s for, so

In “Verse 1,” the lyrics describe a sense of sadness and difficulty in life, referred to as heartache. The singer observes that this feeling is everywhere, and people try various ways to escape from it.

The dance floor is presented as a place to find relief and happiness, offering a chance to be something better than one currently is.


Come on, vogue (Vogue)

Let your body move to the music (Move to the music)

Hey, hey, hey

Come on, vogue (Vogue)

Let your body go with the flow (Go with the flow)

You know you can do it

The “Chorus” encourages the listener to get into the groove and dance. It tells you to let your body move to the music and go with the flow. The repeated phrase “Come on, vogue” is an invitation to embrace the dance style of voguing and enjoy the music without inhibition. It’s a call to have a good time on the dance floor and express yourself freely.

[Verse 2]

All you need is your own imagination

So use it, that’s what it’s for (That’s what it’s for)

Go inside for your finest inspiration

Your dreams will open the door (Open up the door)

It makes no difference if you’re black or white

If you’re a boy or a girl

If the music’s pumping, it will give you new life

You’re a superstar

Yes, that’s what you are, you know it

In “Verse 2,” the lyrics emphasize the power of imagination. It suggests that all you need is your own imagination, and you should use it because it can be a source of inspiration. By going inside your mind and tapping into your dreams and creativity, you can open doors to new possibilities.

The verse also highlights the idea that music has the ability to transcend differences such as race or gender, and when the music is playing, it can make you feel like a superstar.


Beauty’s where you find it

Not just where you bump and grind it

Soul is in the musical

That’s where I feel so beautiful

Magical, life’s a ball, so

Get up on the dance floor

The “Bridge” of the song emphasizes that beauty can be found in various places, not just in physical appearance or in the act of dancing provocatively. It suggests that beauty is also present in the music itself, where the singer feels beautiful and magical. The bridge encourages you to get up on the dance floor, celebrating the transformative and uplifting power of music and dance. 


Vogue (Vogue)

Beauty’s where you find it (Move to the music)

Vogue (Vogue)

Beauty’s where you find it (Go with the flow)

The “Refrain” repeats the word “Vogue” and reinforces the message that beauty can be found in various places. It encourages you to move to the music and go with the flow while emphasizing that beauty is not limited to specific actions or appearances.

[Verse 3]

Greta Garbo, and Monroe

Dietrich and DiMaggio

Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean

On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly, Harlow, Jean

Picture of a beauty queen

Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire

Ginger Rogers dance on air

They had style, they had grace

Rita Hayworth gave good face

Lauren, Katharine, Lana too

Bette Davis, we love you

Ladies with an attitude

Fellas that were in the mood

Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it

Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it



In “Verse 3,” the lyrics reference several iconic figures from the past, including Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and Joe DiMaggio, among others. These people were famous for their style, grace, and achievements. The verse also mentions legendary dancers and actors like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, along with Ginger Rogers. It acknowledges their elegance and talent.

The verse then mentions various Hollywood stars and actresses, celebrating their beauty and allure. The lyrics convey a sense of admiration for these iconic figures and their impact on popular culture.

The verse ends by urging everyone to take action and join in the dance, emphasizing the idea of striking a pose and embracing self-expression. 


Oooh, you’ve got to

Let your body move to the music

Oooh, you’ve got to just

Let your body go with the flow

Oooh, you’ve got to

Vogue (Vogue, vogue, vogue)

The “Outro” of the song reiterates the message of letting your body move to the music and going with the flow. It encourages you to embrace the dance and enjoy the rhythm.

The phrase “Oooh, you’ve got to” emphasizes the importance of giving in to the music and dancing freely. It’s a final call to action, inviting you to express yourself through dance and enjoy the liberating feeling it brings.

Music Video

Madonna’s famous “Vogue” music video was directed by David Fincher. It was filmed in February 1990 in Burbank, California, and features a stunning Art Deco-themed set. The video pays homage to Hollywood’s golden era by recreating famous photos, including those by Horst P. Horst.

In the video, Madonna and her skilled dancers deliver a remarkable vogue dance routine while emulating the iconic poses of Hollywood legends. Madonna stands out in unforgettable outfits like the sheer lace dress and the famous “cone bra.”

Deeper Meaning Behind “Vogue”

Madonna drew inspiration for “Vogue” from the New York City nightlife, particularly the voguing dance style performed by the Xtravaganza crew. Voguing originated in the city’s underground ballroom scene, providing a platform for marginalized communities to express themselves and embrace their unique identities.

The song encourages everyone to enjoy themselves on the dance floor, regardless of their background or the challenges they face.

The lyrics portray the dance floor as a place without boundaries, where rebirth and transformation are possible through movement. Madonna also promotes inclusivity with lines like “It makes no difference if you’re black or white, if you’re a boy or a girl.”

In the song, the dance floor is depicted as a sacred space, where one can escape and become a “superstar.” This idea is encapsulated in the lyrics, “When all else fails and you long to be something better than you are today, I know a place where you can get away – it’s called a dance floor.”

However, there was a debate about Madonna profiting from a culture that was already marginalized. Some praised her for shedding light on voguing, while others criticized her for potentially appropriating it. This debate is explored in the FX series “Pose,” which delves into the complexities of ballroom culture and the struggles faced by its members.

Despite the controversies, “Vogue” remains a timeless dance hit, appearing in remixed versions on three of Madonna’s greatest hits compilations: The Immaculate Collection (1990), Celebration (2009), and Finally Enough Love (2022).

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