Friday, February 3, 2012

237. Like a Prayer. New Time Religion

Album: Like a Prayer
Artist: Madonna
Year: 1989
Genre: Pop


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

The cover of this album probably sums up Madonna even better than the music inside. The Rolling Stones featured a crotch-shot on Sticky Fingers but even they had the decency to keep the belt done up. Madonna's top button is undone with fingers hooked inside the belt-line implying further efforts to undress are not far away. If the exposed midriff wasn't eye candy enough there's a huge amount of bling to keep the eye occupied. There are rings and other jewels which are hanging from something somewhere (seriously are they the world's longest earrings or hanging off a huge necklace or suspended by something else?) As an image it's flashy, sexy, suggestive and then overlaid with some old time religion when the title of the album and the artist are superimposed over the top.

Like a Prayer saw Madonna move from being a pop diva to something approaching a serious artist. She pulled off this unlikely trick with a mixture of cunning, calculation and lets be honest- daring. It took guts to try and add a dose of religion to a sexy pop mix. It caused her the sort of headlines and media attention that might have buried someone with less determination and business savvy but solidified her place as one of the superstars of pop and not just a relic of the 80's.

The music on Like a Prayer is pop music but it's pop that takes itself seriously enough to want to break out of its decade and still be listened to years later. Most people's idea of reinventing themselves is to change hats, Madonna reinvented her music without ever reinventing herself as something other than a strong woman in charge of her own career. She's definitely someone to be admired. I've got no desire to listen to her music but I can understand why this album was such an inspiration.

Highlight: Express yourself
Lowlight: Cherish

Influenced by: Dolly Parton
Influenced: Britney etc

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This is Madonna's best CD! I always have sex on it! "

-Are you sure that's what you mean?

So is this the answer to your prayers or would you give thanks if you never had to hear it again? Let me know below.

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