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List price: £11.99|
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Average customer rating:
4.67 out of 5
Media: Audio CD|
ISBN/ASIN : B000002LGQ
Manufacturer : Warner|
Release data : 30 March, 1989
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This is the definitive 'pop' album, and one of Madonna's best (as I don't count Ray Of Light as a pure 'pop' album). Here is a track by track review:
LIKE A PRAYER - an earthy, gospel-influenced track, easily one of the best pop songs ever. It has a very live feel to it - 5/5
EXPRESS YOURSELF - another live sounding track, this track renounces the former materialism of Material Girl, but grates slightly after time - 3.5/5
LOVE SONG - duet with Price, Love Song is Like A Prayer's worst moment; bland, boring and dated - 1/5
TILL DEATH DO US PART - almost a contradiction, this track deals with the breakdown of marriage and domestic abuse, while backed by an uptempo, jolly melody. A grower - 4/5
PROMISE TO TRY - a greatly personal track about her mother's death, this haunting ballad is a standout - 5/5
CHERISH - in stark contrast to the serious tone of the album is Cherish: light, poppy, but lyrically mature, this a perfect summer tune - 5/5
DEAR JESSIE - the most innovative track on Like A Prayer, this is reminiscant of the psychadelic 60s era, with a break in the middle and change of pace - 4.5/5
OH FATHER - full with allusions to religion and paternal relationships, this beautiful ballad is easily Madonna's greatest ever song - 5+/5
KEEP IT TOGETHER - like Till Death Do Us Part, this is lyrically serious underpinned with an uptempo instrumentation. A grower - 4/5
PRAY FOR SPANISH EYES - another haunting ballad, this Latin-infused track, makes previous Spanish attempt La Isla Bonita from three years previously sound positively tacky - 4.5/5
ACT OF CONTRITION - rivalling Mer Girl and Paradise (Not For Me) as Madonna's spookiest song, Act Of Contrition sees her talking over a reversed Like A Prayer, culminating in her screaming, "what do you mean it's not on the computer!!!" - 5/5
Overall, a great effort, only dwarfed by later effort Ray Of Light, Like A Prayer is a must-have album.
Setting the standards others cannot match
It is unfortunate that so many people judge Madonna by her image rather than her music. Even among those who listen to her music, some quickly spot her limited vocal range and instantly decide that she can't be any good. All those people are missing out on one of the finest – as well as one of the most successful – singers in the history of pop music. Although this album is not my favorite Madonna album, it is the kind of album that only Madonna could have recorded. Perhaps more than any other, it shows why Madonna should be taken seriously as a singer-songwriter of true quality.
The album yielded four top five UK hits, these being Like a prayer (which made number one), Express yourself, Cherish and Dear Jessie. In the USA, Dear Jessie was apparently not released as a single but Oh father and Keep it together both were. Oh father was not originally released as a UK single, but made the UK top twenty in 1996 following its release to promote the compilation, Something to remember. On the assumption that you are familiar with most of these songs, I'll focus on the others.
Love song (a duet with Prince that the two of them co-wrote), although interesting in its own way, does not quite live up to its billing. You would think that a duet featuring the two hottest pop singers of their day would be an automatic choice for a single. It wasn't even released as a single because there are several other songs that are stronger – actually, all the other songs are stronger except Act of contrition, the brief final track that features Madonna talking over the reversed tune of the title track.
Till death do us part is a very sad song about a violent marriage, but with an up-tempo melody that hides the real meaning of the song. This kind of paradox is not unusual in pop music. In the sixties, Baby now that I've found you by the Foundations used a similar idea. Maybe one day somebody will re-interpret the song, just as Alison Krauss did with that Foundations song, slowing it right down to highlight its sadness.
Promise to try, a touching ballad, is a tribute to Madonna's late mother and the difficulty of living without her. Pray for Spanish eyes is another excellent ballad, this time with a touch of Latin.
This is not Madonna's most instantly appealing albums but is certainly one of her most interesting, containing a lot of deep personal messages. If you doubt Madonna's talent as a songwriter, study the lyrics to some of these songs. As a singer, she knows about her limited vocal range and works within it, never over-stretching. It does not surprise me that Madonna has been continuously successful for twenty years. Long may she reign as queen of pop.
One to cherish
Like A Prayer is the album that proved Madonna could make pop music- believable, heartfelt and chockoblock full of emotion.
From the Beatlesesque little girl lost feel on Dear Jessie to the heartbreaking ballad of regret and fatherly love/hate- Oh Father- each track is adult pop at its finest.
Keep It Together and Express Yourself send you spinning from the tearful songs and back onto the dancefloor! That's the great thing about this terrific album, it has a song for each mood.
If you got into Madonna via Ray Of Light and you need some classic Madonna tunes to keep you listening until Music is released, then Like A Prayer is for you!
If you don't already own it, why not? Like Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, this classic album proved Madonna's worth as an artiste and a musical icon.