Hot 100 Chart Peak: 4
More ranch-hand glitch-hop from Music, except this time Madonna’s a lonesome troubadour defending her very being while invoking some tried-and-true country music imagery. The whole whirs and gyrates like a lasso, and it’s an unmistakable radio moment of the early 2000s.
"Don't Tell Me" was the second single from the "Music" album and was co-written by Madonna's brother-in-law, recording artist Joe Henry. He would later release his own version of the track, re-titled "Stop," on his 2001 album "Scar." Henry played the demo for his wife and she said, "You know, I can really hear Madonna singing this song. You should send it to her, you know, she's making a record in London right now." However, he claimed, "If I was going to pitch something to her, I could probably dig something up, but it certainly wouldn't be this."
Later, his wife sent Madonna a copy of the demo, but it was so musically different from the record she was making that she didn't know how she could make any use out of it. After some time, he was talking to Madonna on the phone and she asked to rearrange the track to fit in better with the album, recording the song months later. Henry claimed in an interview that he was surprised that, lyrically, it remained completely intact.