Gotcha. 79 SCORE: 7.945 2015 PLACEMENT: DOWN 10 - 70 of 210 (7.723) HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 27 (@P'NutButter @Sprockrooster @rdp @OSHi @Cutlery @gezza76 @Babyface @Andrew.L @Phonetics Boy @Jonathan27 @paullypaul @Andy French @fatyoshi @Up Down Suite @godspeed @Dreampopboy @Coochi @Drew @joeee @Jimmyandroid @Crisp X @Mister_G @phoenix123 @Remorque @Music Is Life @japanbonustrack @tommylander) LOWEST SCORE: 4 x 5 (@sfmartin @GimmeWork @VeryPSB @Verandi @happiestgirl) MY SCORE: 8.5/10 In a lot of ways, Like A Prayer was the first iteration of what I would consider Madonna's now-classic approach to albums. If her empire was built on serving era-defining banger after era-defining banger on the straight Pop albums before, then this album was Madonna's first push at seeing just how much power she had. For one of the most iconic, best selling albums of all time, Like A Prayer is an oddly quiet, introspective record for a lot of its run once the massive one-two punch of its first two singles is dealt with. Written entirely in a fortnight too, in what must have just been a spurt of intense creativity, it's earned its reputation as one of the best pop albums ever, and it's thanks to tracks like this. We've spoken a lot about generational grief recently (because y'all keep eliminating the songs about it!) but on "Promise To Try" we see it from another angle: the weight of expectation. I mentioned this in an earlier write up, but I've always found, "[so-and-so] would be so proud of you." to be... a bit of weird thing to say to people about deceased loved ones. Would there be... instances they're not proud? Were they not before? And what would you, the person saying that, even know about it in the first place? Something that sounds like it should be comforting quickly becomes something that can consume. Plainly, "Promise To Try" is about Madonna vowing to faithfully remember her mother, but I do have to wonder if there's an additional meaning in there in that she's also vowing to do her best to make her proud. Children naturally strive for the validation of their parents, but the most fucked thing of all is that most of the time... they already have it, and there's no need to try and attain it. This ends up doubly true when the person you're trying to impress, the person you're trying to make so proud of you, is no longer around to say, "Hey, take it easy. What you've done is amazing and enough." And that's not even counting the pressure to remember people in certain ways rather than how they really were. No one's perfect, but isn't it funny how death can make one so? We forget all the bad stuff and martyr them. I wonder if Madonna will have a similar fate. You can hear the weight of all that in Madonna's vocal performance on this record, which is just... out of this world. Madonna's voice in general is something that's taken a lot of unfair knocks over the years, but she's one of the most versatile pop singers to ever exist, and the fact that a track like this exists on the same album as "Express Yourself" - a pop performance for the ages - is a testament to that. That soft, wavering lilt in her voice that makes it sound like a secret being confessed; something almost too intimate; uncomfortable to hear. Patrick Leonard provides solemn piano backing before strings swell in the middle-eight to really wring your tear ducts dry. A song, folks. It also pairs wonderfully with its paternal counterpart, "Oh Father", but we're not getting to that for a while. "Promise To Try" was never performed live, but it was used in Truth Or Dare during an incredibly weird sequence in which Madonna visits the grave of her mother in a true moment of absolute fantasy/reality art-pop blending of what's real and what's not. I'm pretty sure Madonna's brother came out after the fact and said it was all put on, but he says a lot about a lot of things, doesn't he? Here's the clip of that moment with some deeply warped audio, presumably to avoid getting snatched off YouTube. Enjoy!