Friday, July 25, 2008

640. Madonna - Like A Prayer (1989)

Track Listing

1. Like a Prayer
2. Express Yourself
3. Love Song
4. Till Death Do Us Part
5. Promise to Try
6. Cherish
7. Dear Jessie
8. Oh Father
9. Keep It Together
10. Spanish Eyes
11. Act of Contrition


Unless you just came out from under the rock you were born you will have heard a couple of the songs in this album, hell, three or four at least. And honestly it isn't all that bad, actually it's better than the last two Michael Jackson albums we've had the displeasure to get here.

It's pop, but Madonna is trying to do something different, there's a message... about spousal abuse, child abuse... well abuse really. In the end it doesn't rise much above pop, but it is a good pop album for the late 80s (dubious praise indeed).

Some of the tracks are very hummable, I am sad to say. It has, of course, dated terribly, but there are songs which do have their amount of charm here. It seems like I'm trying to excuse myself for having liked it and that is partially true... I won't ever listen to it of my own free will again but it's inoffensive, much less offensive than I expected.

Track Highlights

1. Dear Jesse
2. Oh Father
3. Like A Prayer
4. Love Song

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Like a Prayer was considered to be Madonna's most accomplished artistic statement at the time, incorporating rock, dance, pop, soul, and funk elements into the album. Rolling Stone magazine hailed it "as close to art as pop music gets". It was recorded in 1988 with collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, and also includes a duet with R&B pop singer Prince. It featured the first of several songs throughout her career in which she talked openly about her mother's death, "Promise to Try"; Madonna even dedicated the album to "my mother who taught me to pray." She also addresses the end of her marriage to actor Sean Penn in the song "Till Death Do Us Part."

Before the commercial release of the first single and title track, Pepsi decided to use the song as part of their soft drink commercial featuring Madonna. In addition to this, the company had also struck a deal to sponsor her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. The commercial was aired twice before the release of the music video on MTV. Pepsi had no idea about the controversial content depicted in the video; Madonna witnesses a murder, kisses a black saint, displays stigmata after cutting her palms on a knife, and dances in a field of burning crosses. Religious groups were furious and threatened to boycott Pepsi. They decided the risk was too great, and they canceled their ad campaign and sponsorship deal, although Madonna got to keep the $5 million in her contract.

Dear Jesse, what is interesting about this on the album is the fact that it segues seamlessly into Oh Father about parental abuse, making it a statement about lost innocence:

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