Madonna: The Discography Rate - COMPLETE | Page 366 | The Popjustice Forum

Madonna: The Discography Rate - COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by RJF, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. RJF





    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!

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  2. I was genuinely ready to scream for a second.
  3. This forum (when it comes to rates) HATES ballads, so I think it's done bloody well. Completely understandable why Madonna hasn't ever performed it, but I'd still be intrigued to hear her sing it live
  4. "Promise to Try" is one of those songs where lyrics are much more valuable than the sonic aspect of song, and that affected my scoring. While it does have some beautiful melodies, instrumentation and vocals, I can't really put this among her best ballads, sonically speaking.

    Lovely write up, @RJF!
  5. How about you fucking DIE??

    No one is going to tell me there is no 80sphobia when her best album of that decade is being ravaged like this.

    Also, imagine not giving Words a 10! Could never be me!
  6. Oh, and this means that "Till Death Do Us Part" is the longest lasting non-single when it comes to her 80s output, right?
    The correct choice - it's my second favourite album track of that decade, too, and I nearly gave it a 10.
    Andrew.L likes this.
  7. This is one of my favourite write-ups so far. This feels early for "Promise to Try" but an 8 is what I gave it so.

    This line...
    Sail On, Maki and joeee like this.
  8. Oh, so we're at that point where pretty much every elimination got a 10 from me, and everything is painful.

    Music Is Death, K94, evilsin and 14 others like this.
  9. Lila

    Lila Staff Member

    How the fuck is Devil Wouldn’t Recognise You still in this.
  10. Promise To Try is definitely one of her key tracks vocals-wise. And writing-wise. I sort of forget about it when I consider her work because as stated, it feels like a quiet confession more than a declaration for all to hear. Gorgeous nonetheless.
  11. I should've given Promise To Try a 10...

    And I definitely think I overscored Devil Wouldn't Recognise You now...

    Phonetics Girl likes this.
  12. Now I'm bleeding 10s. Just deliver the final blow and get rid of Bitch I guess ":("
    Maki and Phonetics Girl like this.
  13. Can we stop touching Like A Prayer???
  14. That was my least favorite left from Like a Prayer and actually Express Yourself is next in line but it probably won't be the next to go. Either way none of the remaining tracks from the album should be going anytime soon, but we'll cut both Til Death Do Us Part and Cherish much earlier than we should because of course we will.
    Chezam likes this.
  15. [​IMG]
    rav4boy likes this.
  16. Ddd, I know it isn't actually but it's my lowest score remaining for the album at 8/10, I still like the song don't get me wrong. If I give anything a 7/10 or above I generally have it on regular rotation.
    rav4boy likes this.
  17. RJF


    I mean, we can talk about songs going too early, but I would argue that no song at this point has done poorly. We're still eighty songs out from the finale and hitting nearly an 8/10 average. Even "Promise To Try" had a relatively high 4/10 as its lowest score. Everything's doing well at this point.
    Music Is Death, K94, evilsin and 24 others like this.
  18. Yeah, like what's the opposite of that two bins racing gif?
  19. RJF


    Anyway, shall we get on with our final elimination of the day so I can be free?
  20. True but now the goal-posts have been moved to the context of the Top 100 and within that Top 100 only, there's a 'too early' or 'too late' for our favorites and non-favorites, so that's all I mean when I say it.
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