Like A Prayer
March 21, 1989
The 'Like A Prayer' album is in stores
Studio album by Madonna
Released: March 21, 1989
Recorded: September 1988 – January 1989 at D&D Recording, New York City, Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, California
Label: Sire Warner Bros.
Producer: Madonna Patrick Leonard Stephen Bray Prince
Singles from Like a Prayer
"Like a Prayer"
Released: March 3, 1989
Released: May 9, 1989
Released: August 1, 1989
Released: October 24, 1989
Released: December 10, 1989
"Keep It Together"
Released: January 30, 1990
Like a Prayer is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 21, 1989 by Sire Records, three years after her previous studio album. Madonna worked with Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard, and fellow icon Prince on the album while co-writing and co-producing all the songs. As Madonna's most introspective release at the time, Like a Prayer has been described as a confessional record. She described the album as a collection of songs "about my mother, my father, and bonds with my family." The album was dedicated to her mother, who died when Madonna was young.
The album uses live instrumentation and incorporates elements of dance, funk, gospel, and soul into a more general pop style. Madonna drew from her Catholic upbringing, as seen in the album's title track and lead single "Like a Prayer". The lyrics deal with themes from Madonna's childhood and adolescence, such as the death of her mother in "Promise to Try", the importance of family in "Keep It Together", and her relationship with her father in "Oh Father". Madonna also preaches female empowerment in "Express Yourself". Upon its release, Like a Prayer was mostly praised by music critics. Rolling Stone hailed it as "...as close to art as pop music gets."
Commercially, Like a Prayer became an international success like its predecessors, reaching the top of the charts in multiple territories. The album was certified quadruple platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America. Six singles were released from the album: "Like a Prayer", "Express Yourself", "Cherish", "Oh Father", "Dear Jessie", and "Keep It Together". "Like a Prayer" became Madonna's seventh number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, while "Express Yourself" and "Cherish" peaked at number-two. Worldwide, the album has sold over 15 million copies.
With the singles' accompanying music videos, Madonna furthered her creativity and became known as a leading figure in the format. The music video for "Like a Prayer" was a lightning rod for religious controversy, using Catholic iconography such as stigmata and burning crosses, and a dream about making love to a saint, leading the Vatican to condemn the video and causing Pepsi to cancel Madonna's sponsorship contract. "Express Yourself" was the most expensive music video made up to that date. The album preceded Madonna's ground-breaking Blond Ambition World Tour. At the end of the 1980s, following the release of Like a Prayer, Madonna was named as the "Artist of the Decade" by media such as Billboard, MTV, and Musician magazine.
Background and development
Madonna worked on the album with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard, who she collaborated with for 1986's True Blue. She also enlisted the help of fellow icon Prince for their duet on "Love Song". Madonna co-wrote and co-produced every song on the album. Recording began in September 1988 and continued until January 1989. Madonna and her husband Sean Penn filed for divorce in January 1989, following a nullified divorce filing in late 1987 and several well-publicized fights involving Penn, one of which led to a 60-day prison term. The incident inspired the song "Till Death Do Us Part", which details the failed marriage. Like a Prayer developed an introspective theme, utilizing confessional lyrics about personal issues. Madonna described the album as a collection of songs "about my mother, my father, and bonds with my family. ... It's taken a lot of guts to do this." It was claimed the album was her "most different" work to date.
Like a Prayer was dedicated to Madonna's mother, who died when Madonna was five. The songs "intertwine her search for faith with her search for her mother." Madonna's struggle with religion inspired the album. "The theme of Catholicism runs rampant through my album", she said. "It's me struggling with the mystery and magic that surrounds it. My own Catholicism is in constant upheaval." "The album is drawn from what I was going through when I was growing up", Madonna told Rolling Stone. She added, "I'm still growing up."
The album was titled for the influence of Catholicism on Madonna's early life. The album cover has been seen as a reference to Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones. The packaging on the first pressings of the CD, cassette, and LP were scented with patchouli oils to simulate church incense. A publicist for Warner Bros. Records said, "She wanted to create a flavor of the 60's and the church. She wanted to create a sensual feeling you could hear and smell." The inlays included pictures of a brunette Madonna. The album also included an insert with safer sex guidelines and a warning about the dangers of AIDS, to which Madonna had lost friends.
'The album "teems with 60's and early 70's echoes – of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Sly and the Family Stone – all pumped up with a brash, if occasionally klutzy, 80's sense of showmanship." A press release said the album includes "a number of hot dance tracks" but noted, "much of the material ... is of a personal tone."
Madonna drew from her Catholic upbringing, as seen in the album's title track and lead single "Like a Prayer". She described it as "the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life. From around 8 to 12 years old, I had the same feelings. I really wanted to be a nun." The lyrics deals with themes from Madonna's childhood and adolescence, such as the death of her mother in "Promise to Try", the importance of family in "Keep It Together", and her relationship with her harsh father in "Oh Father". Madonna also preaches female empowerment in "Express Yourself", "in which Madonna expresses a 30-year-old's view of life unshadowed by rebellion and lingering lapsed Catholic pain." "Till Death Do Us Part" is about the violent dissolution of Madonna's marriage to Sean Penn. The song was described as "an anxious jumpy ballad that describes a marriage wracked with drinking, violent quarrels and a possessive, self-hating husband. Its ending finds the couple locked by their unbreakable marriage vows into a miserable cul-de-sac." Madonna noted that could have happened to her and Penn had they followed the Roman Catholic doctrine and not filed for divorce. "Dear Jessie" was inspired by Patrick Leonard's daughter. It was described as "a musical fantasia about pink elephants, lemonade and the land of make-believe, offers a stylish swatch of late Beatles-style psychedelia." The album also includes themes of love on "Cherish" and "Love Song", "a yowling come-hither duet" with Prince. "Spanish Eyes" is said to have "confronted the still-taboo issue of AIDS." Stephen Holden of The New York Times noted, "The songs, which deal directly and very emotionally with her failed marriage to the actor Sean Penn, her family, and her Catholic girlhood, transcend the brassy dance-pop of her three previous records to reveal Madonna as a vulnerable human being." Jon Pareles of the same publication mused that the album "is largely a meditation on male power and love, from paternalistic religion to parents to partners."
The album debuted at number eleven on the Billboard 200, and within three weeks was number one, where it would stay for over a month. The singles "Express Yourself" and "Cherish" both reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, while "Oh Father" was her least successful single since 1984, peaking at number twenty. "Keep It Together" reached number eight, and "Dear Jessie" became a hit single in Europe, with an animated video. After the advent of the Nielsen SoundScan era in 1991, the album sold a further 575,000 copies in the United States. The album was also very successful in Asia and Oceania. In Japan, Like a Prayer reached number one on the Oricon weekly albums chart and remained on the chart for 22 weeks. At the 1990 Japan Gold Disc Awards held by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, Madonna won three awards for "Artist of the Year", "Grand Prix Album of the Year"—which acknowledge the best-selling international artist and best-selling international album of the year, respectively—and "Best Album of the Year – Pops Solo". It also became her sixth platinum album in Hong Kong, the most for any international artist of the decade. Like a Prayer has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
The title track "Like a Prayer", "whose lyrics could be about carnal or religious transcendence", was the first single to be released from the album in March 1989. Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly said, "The gospel-infused title track demonstrates that her writing and performing had been raised to heavenly new heights." The song was featured in a television advertisement for soft drink manufacturer Pepsi, although the ads were canceled following the song's controversial music video. In the video, Madonna incorporated many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, and a dream about making love to a saint. Holden of The New York Times said the video "surpasses Madonna's earlier music videos in its heady swirl of sacred and profane images." The scandal led "Like a Prayer" to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Madonna's seventh U.S. number-one single. It also reached number one in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, among other countries.
The album's second single, "Express Yourself", is "an unabashed groove tune" which is "smart and sassy." Madonna preaches female empowerment, and advises girls not to settle for less than they are worth. It peaked at number two in the U.S. and was a top five hit worldwide. The music video was inspired by the classic Fritz Lang film Metropolis (1927). Its budget of $5 million made it the most expensive music video in history at the time it was made (it is currently the third most expensive of all time). It was followed by "Cherish", an adult contemporary hit which also peaked at number two on the Hot 100. The song "manages a nod to the Association song of the same title" and "makes savvy retro-rock references." The album's fourth single, "Oh Father", is "an homage to Simon & Garfunkel and tells the story of an abused child." The video, inspired by Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941), reunited Madonna with "Express Yourself" director David Fincher.
"Dear Jessie", which "boasts kaleidoscopic Sgt. Pepper-isms", was released in Australia, the United Kingdom, and some other European countries. "Keep It Together" is inspired by Sly and the Family Stone. It was the sixth and final single to be taken from the album. In Australia, it was released as an double A-side with "Vogue", resulting in a number one hit.
1."Like a Prayer" Madonna, Patrick Leonard 5:39
2."Express Yourself" Madonna, Stephen Bray 4:39
3."Love Song" (with Prince) Madonna, Prince Rogers Nelson 4:52
4."Till Death Do Us Part" Madonna, Leonard 5:16
5."Promise to Try" Madonna, Leonard 3:36
6."Cherish" Madonna, Leonard 5:03
7."Dear Jessie" Madonna, Leonard 4:20
8."Oh Father" Madonna, Leonard 4:57
9."Keep It Together" Madonna, Bray 5:03
10."Spanish Eyes" Madonna, Leonard 5:15
11."Act of Contrition" Madonna, Leonard 2:19
"Spanish Eyes" was re-titled "Pray for Spanish Eyes" on certain editions of the album and also on the "Oh Father" single release in 1989.
Girl Gone Wild
March 21, 2012
'Girl Gone Wild' video premieres on Youtube
March 02, 2012
The 'Girl Gone Wild' Single is released
Single by Madonna
From the album MDNA
Released: March 2, 2012
Format: Digital download, CD, maxi, 12"
Recorded: 2011; Sarm West Studios (London, England), MSR Studios (New York City)
Genre: Dance, electropop
Label: Live Nation Interscope
Writer(s): Madonna Jenson Vaughan Alle Benassi Benny Benassi
Producer(s): Madonna B. Benassi A. Benassi
"Girl Gone Wild" is a song by American recording artist Madonna, released as the second single from her twelfth studio album, MDNA (2012). On July 2011, Madonna started to record material for the album. She then enlisted record producer Benny Benassi to work with her on the project. Benassi produced a few demos that were sent to songwriter Jenson Vaughan, who worked on the lyrics before sending them to Madonna. From these sessions, "Girl Gone Wild" was created and then included on MDNA. The song was released on March 2, 2012, by Interscope Records.
Musically, "Girl Gone Wild" is a mid-tempo dance party track that draws influence from four-on-the-floor. The song features electro and house elements, and is similar to Madonna's previous singles "Music", "Hung Up" and "Sorry". After the song was released, Joe Francis, the creator of a franchise of the same name, threatened to sue Madonna for copyright infringement if she sang the song during her performance at Super Bowl XLVI. The singer's team stated that Madonna wasn't aware of either Francis or the lawsuit, and that several songs with the same name had already been released by other artists.
The song received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its composition, but criticized its similarity to songs by Britney Spears and Usher. Following its release as a single, the song reached number 47 in the Canadian Hot 100 chart and number six on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. It debuted at number 38 on US Pop Songs due to radio airplay, becoming her first album since Music to have two singles to chart there. It also peaked at the top of the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, becoming Madonna's 42nd chart topper, extending her record as the artist with the highest number of number one hits on that chart.
A black-and-white music video directed by Mert and Marcus, was released on March 20, 2012. It received critical acclaim for the editing, choreography, boldness and Madonna's look. They noted that the video takes inspiration from several past videos released by Madonna, such as "Erotica", "Justify My Love", "Human Nature" and "Vogue". The song was performed as the opening number during The MDNA Tour.
Background and artwork
In December 2010 Madonna posted a message on her Facebook page exclaiming: "Its official! I need to move. I need to sweat. I need to make new music! Music I can dance to. I'm on the lookout for the maddest, sickest, most badass people to collaborate with. I'm just saying." On July 4, 2011, Madonna's manager Guy Oseary, announced that Madonna entered the studio to begin the recording sessions for her twelfth studio album. Madonna then enlisted record producer Benny Benassi to work with her on the project. Benassi was working on the release of his fourth studio album Electroman, when Patrick Moxey of the producer's label Ultra Records stated that Benassi would "work well with some of the major American superstar artists" so he requested additional tracks from Benny and his longtime production partner, Ale (Alejandro) Benassi, also his cousin. A few demos produced by him were then sent to songwriter Jenson Vaughan, who said: "I was really attracted to his lyrics and I feel Benassi in my bones, because those bass-driven tracks are so inspiring. It's a bit like cooking, like, 'Ooh, what would this sound like together?'". Vaughan returned a demo after a week, which Moxey shared with Benassi's European co-manager Paul Sears, who in-turn shared the demos with Madonna's manager Guy Oseary.
Oseary commented that the singer "loved [the producer]. Benny is such a quality person; I think that made it all flow so much easier." She travelled to London to record several demos with the Benassi brothers. Two tracks from those sessions, "Girl Gone Wild" and "I'm Addicted" was included on MDNA's final track listing. A day after Madonna's performance during the halftime show on the Super Bowl XLVI, the singer was interviewed by Ryan Seacrest and confirmed that "Girl Gone Wild" would be released as the second single from the album. She also revealed during the interview that pop singer Britney Spears would not be featured on the album's version of the song, after speculation of both working together surfaced online. The cover art, which shows Madonna just in lingerie got a positive review from Entertainment Weekly, saying that she "still wears underwear in public better than most women half her age". Daily Mail thought that "the barely-there outfit is to be expected of a woman who repeatedly sings about sex in songs like 'Like a Virgin', 'Justify My Love' and 'Erotica'."
The song has received mixed reviews from music critics. Keith Caulfied of Billboard deemed it as a "very dance-by-the-numbers with Madonna" song, and further assessed that the chorus made "Girl Gone Wild" a memorable song. Robbie Daw from Idolator said that "Madge [is] doing what she does best: turning up the heat on the dance floor," but that "the song is packed with tried-but-true sexual pop cliches." Pop Crush's Scott Shetler gave the song a more critical review, rating it two-stars out of five. He did enjoy the musical composition saying it was "a club-ready song from her upcoming ‘MDNA’ album that fits right in with the current crop of contemporary dance-pop music" however, he considered the lyrics as "reductive", and noted that they were was too similar to Usher's single "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love". Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone said the song "smartly inverts the overpowering apocalypse pump of 'Till the World Ends' into Euro-spa electro burble that's buoyant and warm-rinse soothing. It's the sound of a woman who hits the dancefloor for restoration more than craziness," while a MSN Music writer considered it a "fun n' fluffy dance number" from the album.
Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson wrote that "Girl Gone Wild" sounds like a "Tumblr-meme version" of "Get Together". Robert Copsey of Digital Spy felt the single did not live up to expectations, but stated the production credits for MDNA had fueled "over-inflated expectations". Copsey found it wasn't as "forward-thinking" as her past records and exampled the lyrics "Girls they just wanna have some fun/ Get fired up like a smoking gun" as a factor of this, although he concluded his review writing "we defy anyone who isn't singing this back to themselves immediately after." The New York Observer journalist Daniel D'Addario compared it to her 2000 single "Music", but added that "Madonna was twelve years younger at that time and thus perhaps a more convincing 'bad girl', so too was our culture... –maybe it’s time for her to try something totally different?" Writing for The Observer, Gareth Grundy proclaimed "Girl Gone Wild" to be a "clumsy rave-pop", while MTV journalist Bradley Stern felt that it emulated her single "Celebration" (2009).
Background and synopsis
During her interview with Ryan Seacrest, Madonna confirmed that a music video for "Girl Gone Wild" would be filmed on the week of February 17, 2012. Fashion photographers Mert and Marcus were confirmed as the directors of the video. The photographers had previously worked with the singer on a photoshoot for both the American magazine Interview and MDNA artworks. Ukrainian dance group Kazaky appears with her in the video, as well as fashion models Brad Alphonso, Jon Kortajarena, Rob Evans, Sean O'Pry and Simon Nessman. A lyric video for the song premiered on Vevo on February 27, 2012 at 9am PST and Noon EST. A 30 second teaser video was released on March 9, 2012. Robbie Daw of Idolator compared the black-and-white preview to the singer's music video for "Erotica" (1992). In the video, Madonna sported a brassiere designed by British lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur, which is also featured on the song's cover. The singer's stilettos, which were custom-made by footwear designer Paola Bay, consisted of black silk embroidered with silver threading. "She wanted them as high as possible and to be able to dance with them on," stated Bay. "We did three fittings to make sure they were like second skin." The video was released via E! News on March 20, 2012 at 7 and 11:30 PM, and was made available on their website shortly after. Jocelyn Vena of MTV described the plot in a review:
"The video opens with Madonna in full glamour mode (big hair and diva makeup) declaring how she wants to be good but just can't fight the bad. Spastic shots of her doing yoga are intercut with ones of her dancing around and sexy male dancers posing with one another (and sharing an apple in a way we haven't seen before). The video also features an electrifying dance sequence, with men in tights and heels, really calling attention to Madonna's never-ending need to create memorable images. It's clear this girl wants to have fun and she wants to be licked, kissed and grinded on by hot dudes. Eventually, Madge proves she's still got the moves when she joins the dancers for another choreographed sequence. As the video continues to show the singer and her dancers just being attractive with one another, the final shot is a close-up of Madonna, crying thick, black tears, proving that wild girls are saddest when the party is over."
Vena thought that the video was "the perfect homage" to the singer's Sex book and her Erotica (1992) days, and continued to describe it as "crunchy, sexy and edgy." X. Alexander also of Idolator compared the concept of the video, which features homoeroticism, to her 1990 music videos for "Vogue" and "Justify My Love". The Huffington Post journalist Sara Dean noted that, Madonna evokes the personas of "Vogue", "Erotica" and "Human Nature" (1995), and questioned if this is the singer's "sexiest video yet". Sophie A. Schillaci of The Hollywood Reporter also noted references to the music video for "Like a Prayer" (1989). E! Online contributor Nathalie Finn commented thus: "Madonna doesn’t need a song to tell us she’s ready to dance all night — just one look at her and you figure she could outlast the average partyer under any circumstances" She further stated, "if the half-naked young studs are any indication, it isn't just the girls 'who wanna have some fun'." The New York Daily News said that "it’s a tossup over who looks better in tights and high-heels, the 53-year-old Material Girl or the bevy of shirtless male dancers who gyrate around her."
Amy Sciarretto of Pop Crush noted that Madonna goes through several alter egos during the video, "such as the rock n’ roll Madonna and the platinum blonde classic Marilyn Monroe version of herself." Sciarretto also praised the video and joked, "we’re betting Ma-donna doesn’t want her young children — Rocco, David and Mercy — to see this clip; daughter Lourdes is old enough where we actually think she could handle it." Lanford Beard of Entertainment Weekly praised the video saying that it "shows Madonna looking the best she has since at least 2005′s video for 'Hung Up'. Of course there is the requisite writhing, hip grinding, a rousing dance sequence, and a smoldering mantourage. It is, in a word, awesome". HitFix was impressed by the music video: "Beautifully shot by fashion photographers Mert and Marcus, the clip is a luscious collection of erotic images: two men biting an apple together, backlit men dancing in high heels, and Madge, looking as if she’s a dewy 25-year old. Man, I’ll take some of that lighting please." The video was chosen by fans on a Billboard poll as her sixth best video of all time in honor of her 54th birthday.
Shortly after the video's release on YouTube March 21, 2012, the video was flagged by many as inappropriate. This caused YouTube to set an age restriction, only allowing those 18 or older to view the video. This caused the video to not be uploaded to VEVO. The video was labeled explicit by YouTube because of "raunchy" and "orgy" scenes. Madonna later commented, ""What's wrong with...what grinding? I'm supposed to be a Girl Gone Wild in the video—how can I go wild and not grind?" (Wiki)
Track listing and formats
CD Single / 12" Picture Disc
"Girl Gone Wild" (Album Version) – 3:43
"Girl Gone Wild" (Justin Cognito Extended Remix) – 4:48
CD Maxi-Single / iTunes Digital Remixes
"Girl Gone Wild" (Madonna vs Avicii – Avicii's UMF Mix) – 5:16
"Girl Gone Wild" (Dave Audé Remix) – 8:05
"Girl Gone Wild" (Justin Cognito Remix) – 4:48
"Girl Gone Wild" (Kim Fai Remix) – 6:33
"Girl Gone Wild" (Lucky Date Remix) – 5:06
"Girl Gone Wild" (Offer Nissim Remix) – 6:49
"Girl Gone Wild" (Dada Life Remix) – 5:15
"Girl Gone Wild" (Rebirth Remix) – 6:49