Saturday, September 10, 2022

"Express Yourself" by Madonna

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3925
Date:  06/03/1989
Debut:  41
Peak:  2
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  The title track lead single from Madonna's fourth album Like a Prayer would become her first platinum seller that spent three weeks at the top of the Pop chart. The shape shifting tune and its controversial video set a new mature tone for Madonna's music and people were paying attention. To follow it up, this next track was selected for release. Its dance/funk beat and empowering lyrics, along with another striking video, helped the song catch on quickly. It debuted just a hair outside the Pop Top 40 and quickly zoomed up into the Top 10 becoming her sixteenth consecutive single to hit that mark. It would eventually spend three weeks at the #2 spot and sell well enough to go gold. The tune would also do well at Dance (#1) and AC (#12). Just as this single hit the Pop chart, the album would drop to #2 after spending six weeks at the #1 spot and already reaching the double-platinum sales level.

ReduxReview:  With "Like a Prayer" being a more serious, mature outing that courted some controversy, having this playful, empowering track come out as a follow up was the exact right move. It served as a tasty palate cleanser that was still meaty and more mature than her earlier hits. For me, Madonna had a capable and recognizable voice. She was never a diva - no one would put her chops in the same category as say folks like Streisand and Celine Dion. However, she made her songs her own and it worked. On occasion though there were tracks where she really kind of went for broke and sounded very good and I think this was one of those performances. She sounded strong and I think that helped convey the message of the song.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For many folks, if you mention "Express Yourself" images of the associated music video immediately come to mind. With themes and visual queues taken from the 1927 Fritz Lang classic film Metropolis, the video was certainly memorable. It was also at the time the most expensive music video ever made at around $5 million. It was directed by up-n-coming filmmaker David Fincher, who would later receive multiple Oscar nominations as Best Director. The video was immediately tossed into heavy rotation on MTV where for a while it would be played every hour. It would later be nominated for five MTV Music Video Awards and would win three (Direction, Cinematography, and Art Direction).  This would not be the first time that a Madonna video would be among the most expensive ever made. In 1995, her video for "Bedtime Story" would also be made for $5 million. She would then top herself in 2002 when the video for her James Bond theme "Die Another Day" would cost $6.1 million. However, those three still take a backseat to what continues to be the most expensive music video ever made, the $10 million "Scream" from Michael and Janet Jackson.


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