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> 'Like A Prayer' ē album discussion, 4th album | 1989
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Santa Haus
post May 13 2020, 11:11 AM
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Henrietta R Hippo
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A place to discuss Madonna's 4th studio album 'Like A Prayer'. Released in 1989.

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. Pray for Spanish Eyes
11. Act of Contrition

What are your thoughts on this album? Share any opinions, memories, favourite songs, or just discuss it anytime you're re-listening!
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Santa Haus
post May 13 2020, 11:11 AM
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Santa Haus
post May 18 2020, 08:04 PM
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Henrietta R Hippo
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This is always a great listen. It's not a perfect album (like the singles would suggest tongue.gif) but it is a great package and has so many moments throughout it. I love how at times it is Madonna at her most grand, but at other times, it is her at her most vulnerable.

I have always been conflicted on the artwork. I don't really like it as a representation of the album (think about what we could've got in terms of the themes the album explores), but at the same time, its impact and influence has been big, and I feel like it's an image synonymous with Madonna now. What do others think about the artwork?
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dandy*
post May 18 2020, 08:41 PM
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If you could scrap Love Song and Act of Contrition and replace with Supernatural, Vogue and Rescue Me as a glorious album closer it would contend for my favourite album of hers.


Artwork wise, it's okay but not amazing. I detest the quality of the artwork on the repressing though, it looks almost like a cheap photocopy when compared to the original.
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Jay❄
post May 19 2020, 03:31 AM
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I'm also conflicted about the album cover! However I'm not sure what image I would prefer in its place. The Herb Ritts shoot has lots of great pictures, but I'm not sure that any of them stand out as being the one for an album cover. Maybe this comes the closest, but I'm not sure about a black and white image for the cover.

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dandy*
post May 19 2020, 05:35 PM
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I'd prefer something like this. Plus I'm imagining a deluxe in purple velvet wub.gif

Although I do get why the original artwork was chosen, it was very daring at the time to have an album cover focussed on that area of a woman's body and even more so with the top button undone on her jeans. I mean it's obviously nothing compared to artwork these days but I'm pretty certain that Madonna was the first to even attempt that level of implied sexuality in a full album cover.
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vibe
post May 19 2020, 05:43 PM
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I dont think I have heard her speak on why this cover was chosen and her face image wasnít used.

She did the same for IC , however we know why , she wanted the pic used of her grabbing her crotch but the record company wouldnít allow it .
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SnowQween
post May 20 2020, 06:41 AM
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Itís obviously a MOOD PIECE in a way she had never tried before. Itís also obviously the first proper taste of Madonna the ARTIST…, but unfortuntely Love Song really lets the side down. It doesnít mean a lot now that weíve lived through the decade horribilis since 2010 but it was one of her worst songs pre-2010. Nearly everything else is great, plus itís aged so well for the most part.
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vibe
post May 20 2020, 08:18 AM
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Love song isnít that bad !! Without it we wouldnít have hung up in the same way !
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Liam.k.
post May 24 2020, 05:41 PM
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One of her best albums! wub.gif Madonna really pushed herself creatively here, but making a strong, catchy pop album is still at the forefront. I love the passionate, unpolished vocals and how she continued to tackle important themes within a pop structure, something she had established with 'Papa Don't Preach' on True Blue. There's a lot of different moods and styles yet it all works as an album.

I really like the album artwork! It's daring and symbolic, a female equivalent to The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers. I agree with Jay that none of the other photoshoots particularly scream "album cover". I do like this fan-made cover that reveals a bit more of the existing cover:



I might even prefer it actually? It captures what I already liked and adds a bit of colour.
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jlj
post May 25 2020, 01:20 AM
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This is my favourite Madonna album from the 80s and Iíd say itís around 3rd overall tbh for me. Itís art tbh! Itís when she really started to just do what she wanted with no f#s given. I loved the religious themes and the one two punch opening of Like A Prayer and Express Yourself. YES. A timeless album too itís a Madonna album I can listen to no matter what mood Iím in. I can say itís pretty universal too I think this is the album Iíd get my non stan friends to listen too if I had to pick one album by her (either this or true blue).

The artwork is a bit meh. Iím always kinda conflicted at major pop female albums what donít have them on the cover but I kinda get the cover to an extent but itís not her best artwork at all. I guess Iím just used too it really but there were some great imagery from this era and some incredible music videos and live performances too. What a way to end the decade on.
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spiceboy
post May 25 2020, 12:17 PM
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Omg love both of these!! In fact I prefer both to the original wub.gif
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Bjork
post May 25 2020, 01:08 PM
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one thing I never understood is why Til Death Dop Us Part was never a single
for me, instant best track off the album hands down from the 1st time I listened

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Santa Haus
post May 25 2020, 11:24 PM
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I really like this cover:



Maybe if there was a deluxe version (or actually the 30th anniversary edition!) could've used this and it would've worked perfectly.
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Liam.k.
post May 25 2020, 11:35 PM
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There has been whispers of a 30th anniversary physical release but there seems to have been constant delays. There was on reason or another as to why it didn't get released last year and then I was actually told by someone 'in the know' that it had been penciled in for a release in March just been, which obviously got affected by the pandemic.
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Tafty
post Jun 10 2020, 07:38 PM
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Moving onto album 4, which holds her absolute best single! WHAT A SONG and the video ofc... legendary! Just on that song alone you can hear just how far she's come as an artist and how responsible it is for delivering us the Madonna we all know and love, now. 'Express Yourself' is a lot of fun and one of her most recognisable "earliest" hits. 'Cherish' feels underrated to me. It feels instantly recognised as one of her hits, but I don't think it gets enough love! It's lovely and so fun. 'Oh Father' I'm not familiar with, but I've definitely heard it before and I don't think I've ever heard 'Dear Jessie', but it's nice! The production has been stepped up a couple of notches throughout this album, which is appreciated, but overall I preferred 'True Blue', but this is a good album!

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

Yeah, I knew she wouldn't top LAP aha. But I really enjoyed everything down to 'Keep It Together'. 'Oh Father' and 'Promise To Try' are ok. Not sure I'd ever go out of my way to listen to the last 3 tracks though. Act of Contrition just seemed like it was trying to be more than it was (which was a mess). 'Love Song' was a definite.. errmmmm moment to me. Probably my least favourite track across all 4 albums so far! Another solid album overall though. I really liked 'Till Death Do Us Part' though!


Album Rankings:
01. True Blue
02. Like A Prayer
03. Madonna
04. Like A Virgin
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dandy*
post Jun 10 2020, 08:00 PM
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Interesting to read your thoughts Jonjo! I agree with you that Like a Prayer is her best ever song - and that Love Song is one of her very worst!!! I can only assume that it was a Prince reject and that Madge was so in awe of working with him that it had to get a place despite being of questionable quality.

My two faves after the title track are 'Til Death Do Us Part and Oh Father. The former has definitely dated a little bit but the strength of the theme and melody is still there - it was a big favourite of mine back in 1989. Oh Father is just gorgeous, it a took me a few years to appreciate it fully but it's pretty much my favourite ballad of hers these days, the lyrics are lovely and the strings really make it. I'm also fond of Promise To Try too, both ballads are about her parents and I think they show a personal touch that she hadn't previously shown on earlier albums.

Also - I love that you enjoyed Dear Jessie, that was my favourite as a child! It gets a lot of flack but I still have a soft spot for it, I like the Beatles style influences and the childish joy of the whole thing.
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Santa Haus
post Jun 10 2020, 08:09 PM
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I think that's the same bottom 3 as me for this album! Good to see you showing love for Till Death Do Us Part <3

Oh Father and Promise to Try are two stunning moments on this album and remain two of her best ever ballads! They are the highlights of the album for me away from the title track (which is of course legendary and one of the most iconic pop songs of all time).
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Liam.k.
post Jun 11 2020, 01:13 PM
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There were few collaborative sessions with Prince but the two just didn't connect, which makes sense when you hear 'Love Song'. I guess it was thought that the album couldn't go without a Prince vocal collaboration if it was something people were anticipating (was it common knowledge pre-album release?). I can see what they're going for with 'Love Song' but it's just so plodding.

I think it was you Dandy that suggested something like 'Gold' would work well on this album and I have to agree it could have been a great moment.

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Santa Haus
post Jun 11 2020, 05:33 PM
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Prince and Madonna are both perfectionists and both very stubborn with their visions and what they want their art to be like. I can't imagine how their recording sessions would've worked but oh-to be a fly on the wall for them ohmy.gif Two geniuses, that maybe had so much star power that they counteracted each other and the end result was... somehow Love Song.
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