Madge Madness – Like a Prayer

 

Sure everyone has heard of March Madness but let’s be honest here, wouldn’t you rather take part in MADGE MADNESS, our celebration of all things Madonna? Yep, us too so be sure to join us as we dive into her entire catalog, look into her fashion and style throughout the years and maybe even a few more surprises along the well! And don’t be afraid to share your thoughts of the Material Girl with us too!

Next up in our series is Like a Prayer. Just click on the album cover below to add this album to your iTunes account. We have even included a Spotify playlist for you to listen along with us! 


Three years after True Blue, we find Madonna at a dark point in her life when it came time to create her 4th album. Madonna had attempted film work and it wasn’t well received. Her marriage to Sean Penn, her one time muse, had violently fallen apart. Madonna was also turning 30, the age her mother was when she passed away. Madonna’s inner conflict was perfect storm of self-doubt and devastation. however Madonna being Madonna, she turned her pain into passion and found her way back to the studio.

 

Like a Prayer was released in March of 1989 and it was bold and it was musically daring. A clash of musical styles, in a sea of emotional subtext, Madonna wove a juxtaposed story about her past and present to create her future. Like a Prayer calls back to Madonna’s Catholic upbringing and no just how it affected who she was, but how she would allow it to affect her future.

Like A Prayer – No subject to blending innuendo and liturgy, Madonna opens the album with double entendre and a gospel choir. It’s not clear just who Madonna is seeking out. Is it her parents? Is it a lover? Or is it God? Each answer changes the meaning of the very layered song.

Express Yourself – Continuing Madonna’s passion for encouraging her audience to be themselves, whoever this is. Madonna does this while paying homage to the funk that inspired her creativity. Shying away from the material girl, this song reminds people self worth is priceless and the most worthwhile thing to posses.

Love Song –Madonna co-wrote every song on this album however, The collaborator on this song, is none other than Prince. The song is about a couple that are trying to figure out if they are gonna move on to what’s next and working out if it’s worth it. These two icons created a love song that they clearly state, “This is NOT a love song.” What it is though…is an perfect blend of the styles of icons!

Till Death Do Us Part –Madonna opens up about herself in a lot of ways on this album. This song is perhaps the start of that within the track listing. Madonna’s failed (and very public) marriage to Sean Penn is at the core of this song and hence its ironic use of the phrase that inspired the title. The lyrics of the song paint a scary image when you hear Madonna singing about a love she knows has no life left but yet longs for what once was, and the scarred memories she’s left with.

Promise to Try – A song in two parts. Madonna seems to be singing to her deceased Mother and wondering if her mother can hear her. Part two is a more grown up Madonna speaking to her younger self and reminding her to never forget her mother. At this point in Madonna’s career, this is the most beautiful and vulnerable peek behind the curtain Madonna has let the world see of her.

Cherish – Following a song about a breakup from someone who mistreated her, this song is showing that Madonna still believes in the idea of love even following a painful breakup. Love is possible and she still longs for the love she’ll cherish.

Dear Jessie – If you recall, on True Blue, Madonna used lyrics to paint a vivid picture. This song, however, is a much more cartoonish and vibrant world then the island paradise of Bonita. It almost sounds like a fairy Godmother helping to comfort a child in need of a world of fun. Considering how Madonna is looking backwards at past traumas and relating them to her own at the time, It seems fitting she would revisit the world she retreated to as a child to help cope with the sadness around her.

Oh Father –After discussing one tumultuous relationship, Madonna reached back to another one: her father. To say the least, her relationship with him was rocky. It wasn’t good. Madonna talks about being hurt by someone who should love you but in the end strives to be able to forgive even if she cannot forget.

Keep it Together – After singing about the struggles of coming to terms with her mother’s death, her broken relationship with her dad, Madonna accepts that in the end her family is what made her. This is her way of thanking her family for always being there as she became a public figure and when her reality seemed artificial, she could always return to the real world she came from. This is the second Prince collaboration on the album and he graces it with the car.
Spanish Eyes – As the 80s were coming to their end the AIDS epidemic had ravaged millions of lives. Madonna, never shying away from using her platform to speak out for what is right, Madonna sang for those lost and those still alive. She was speaking from the perspective of someone who has lost friends or family because in reality…she had.

Act of Contrition – This song is Madonna’s final nod to the religion of her past and the life she’s currently living as she recites the ever important prayer to the Catholic people to the ever importance of having a dinner reservation. A tongue in cheek way to close an album about the bridging of past and present. Oh…ya like that guitar? Well guess who rocked it for her….yup….his majesty….Prince.

Madonna’s changed her game with this album. She managed to show her skills as an artist. She sought to show that we still have those things about us that will never change: the things that make us who we are. Madonna was at her most vulnerable with this album. When she sings “Express Yourself” she’s practicing what she speaks with everything that came after. Madonna had released three prior albums full of music that were successful because the audience related to them. With Like a Prayer, Madonna opened up, let people in, and the people never left.

 

Next up, Erotica! Stay tuned as Madge Madness rolls on here at WERRRK.com!

About Sidney Stokes 190 Articles
Sidney Stokes lives in an loft apt in the gayborhood of New Nerd City on the Planet Pop, but outside of his head…he lives in Los Angeles where his interests are as vast as and spread out as LALA Land.

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