Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by RJF, Apr 19, 2020.
Do we need a new page @RJF babe?
Let's do this.
YOUR RUNNER-UP IS...
11 x 21
2015 PLACEMENT: DOWN 1 - 1 of 210 (10.122)
80s RATE WINNER
HIGHEST SCORE: 10 x 121 (@nikkysan @AshtrayHeart @Andreas @Tigerlily @Vasilios @aux @Jwentz @Raichu @No hay banda @dodoriazarbon @P'NutButter @eatyourself @m_dimitrov @nanafan @djmakemewet @discoteca @tom71 @Lucy Honeychurch @Sprockrooster @Euphoria @rdp @maverick_79 @Doenjang @rav4boy @OSHi @Angeleyes @Future Lover @JMRGBY @Remyky22 @Cutlery @Suburbia @matthew. @gezza76 @madgemad @soratami @GimmeWork @Endothelium @Babyface @dylanaber @Mjg0806 @relby @Jonathan27 @elear @Ana Raquel @Andy French @fatyoshi @WoW73 @Up Down Suite @godspeed @CasperFan @torontodj @theelusivechanteuse @1991 @Babylon @Syzygyz @Dreampopboy @Fuchsia @NightmareBoy @Skyline @BreatheBox @FridayNight @Coochi @DominoDancing @muddleddreams @scottdisick94 @letuinmybackdoor @Drew @Sideout @unnameable @RetroPhysical @citoig @Xanax @TrueBeliever @DinahLee @aaronhansome @SloMover @Jimmyandroid @JonBcn @Candy Perfume Girl @paperboyfriendd @Miss Lange @Crisp X @Epic Chocolat @Mister_G @phoenix123 @Lila @Pop Life @K94 @clowezra @Filippa @Rogue @ABoy’sGot2Suffer4Fashion @wintersleep @evilsin @KingBruno @eliminathan @Remorque @Digital Ghost @Trinu 3.0 @acl @ufint @RainOnFire @M24 @Ramalama @nametag @Holly Something @Markus1981 @sexercise @Mr Blonde @happiestgirl @Music Is Death @strangekin @fancygreen @Bangers&Bops @Weslicious @Beautiful Child 2 @tommylander @Touchofmyhand @Maki @Push @beyoncésweave)
LOWEST SCORE: 6.5 x 1 (@Butterfly... why didn't I chuck your entire ballot out again?)
MY SCORE: 11/10
It was so close.
So, outside of a brief stay at the top at the start of the voting, "Like A Prayer" fell to #2 and just could not get past "Frozen". "Vogue" was briefly ahead of them both but it didn't last. There were times where it came within touching distance, there were times where they tied (the GAG if that had been the final result) and maybe, on the odd time between my every-ten-votes leaderboard collation, maybe the result flipped. But "Frozen" and its permafrost set in hard at the top spot, and didn't let go for pretty much... the entire run. This is not the result I wanted, and I'm sure it's not the result a lot of you wanted either, but I honestly find it hard to be disappointed. We are spoiled in this rate by the material; every entry in the Top 5 had a decent case for winning, and our winner is spectacular and worthy. So let's get on with celebrating two of the finest pop songs to ever grace our ears.
Like a lot of revelations, "Like A Prayer" came to Madonna while she was in turmoil. Her movies? FLOPPING. Her marriage? OVER. Her hair? BROWN. Her age? THE SAME AS HER MOTHER'S WHEN SHE DIED. In the midst of this emotional maelstrom, she was also finding that, in classic Madonna fashion, it was time for a change in sound. Not only did she recognise the importance of growing with your audience, she also wanted the new album to portray just how much of a fucking wreck her headspace was, and further her role in the recording process after already being heavily involved with everything on True Blue from the ground up. Which, again, is such a strange thing to spotlight, considering how these days we just assume all pop albums draw on the experiences of the artists singing them. So she tasked trusted collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray to come up with the sounds that would inspire her, eventually binning off the latter when he wasn't producing the goods. Miss Bray would go on to ride Madonna's coattails for the next decade, cash his royalties, and even release what was essentially an album of bootleg Madonna demos the same week Madonna gave birth to Lourdes, so don't cry for him, Argentina.
Patrick Leonard and Madonna fought a lot during the recording process, but ultimately, what came out intense sessions was gold. Patrick Leonard has even said that as they were constructing "Like A Prayer", they just knew it was going to send wigs into the stratosphere, yes God!!!  and could feel that it was something monumental. Madonna wrote the entire thing in three hours. In fact, the vocal on the final version is actually the only vocal they ever recorded. Last year, when Darlene Lutz was attempting to auction off some of Madonna's private belongings (including the letter Tupac wrote her, which came up earlier in the thread), one of the things was a cassette containing the original Like A Prayer demos. Patrick Leonard, loyal, decent, and general badass, basically went:
...and leaked the contents of the tapes, diminishing their value to any bidder immensely. One of the demos he leaked was the demo of the title track, with the vocal from the same day it was written, which is... the exact same vocal we've been hearing on record for over thirty years now. Phew! So many times when these girls and their gassed up producers are like, "We did it in one take!!!!" we're usually like, "We can tell, Demi." but of course mother is out there nailing the genesis of the best pop song ever in one go. Of course. God bless Patrick Leonard for still looking out for our girl after all these years. We can maybe forgive him for clutching his pearls a bit at the song's sex/religion wordplay and trying to get Madonna to change it. It's not like she listened to him anyway. Kii!
Let's switch things up and talk about the video a little earlier than when we normally do, because it is a massive part of what made "Like A Prayer" as infamous as it is. In it, Madonna sees a young woman attacked and murdered by a gang, shortly followed by a black man (who had arrived seconds after to see if he could aid her) is wrongfully arrested for the crime, and Madonna flees to a church for sanctuary... wait why am I describing the video for "Like A Prayer" to anyone on this fucking forum? The video is alarmingly ahead of its time, and feels more vital than ever in 2020 as racial tensions boil over in the US. Like, a music video from the biggest popstar in the world addressing racial profiling by law enforcement, the stigma of interracial relationships, and using the KKK's own fucking imagery against them? In 1989? Are you fucking kidding me with this? That's without even touching the video's portrayal of the song's sex/religion dichotomy, which takes Madonna's "it's about a girl so in love with God he becomes the only man in her life" explanation for it to new feverish heights as she beds a saint on the pew pews right there in the church. It is a thrilling, wild, boundary-pushing, innovative, groundbreaking, iconic, iconoclastic pop music video, and one of the best to ever be recorded. It's almost passé to say so, especially in this thread were the impact of Madonna is felt more keenly than nearly anywhere else in the world, but it was this video that really gave so many other girls the blueprint to start fucking around with religion and sexuality in so many interesting ways we've seen in the last thirty years. I've never been one of these stans who always needs Madonna to get a mention the moment a crucifix pops up, but I do think she deserves more credit for how she broke down barriers in how mainstream pop acts started to use their faith and believes and emotions all in tandem to investigate themselves and expose themselves to us in different ways throughout their work. If it seemed audacious at the time, it feels standard now, and it's because of a video like this.
So naturally, white middle America was pissed, because they have nothing better to do get angry at Madonna for subverting their burning crosses and looking better dancing in front of them than they ever do in their white sheets. The video was famously also the reason Madonna lost a massive endorsement with Pepsi, who were lined up to sponsor her next tour, and had given her free reign to create a two minute commercial for them that in fact premiered the song for the first time... literally a day before the actual video released. When the real video came out, people started to boycott Pepsi by association. Madonna was indifferent to the scandal, but when Pepsi started losing deals with major fast food chains virtue signalling instead of just Joe and Sally from Milwaukee buying Coca Cola on their grocery run that week, they pulled the advert and dropped all association with the song and Madonna. Although they still let her keep the cool $5M she made from the deal. Queen. The commercial is here and... is an oddly twee and autobiographical treatment for the track, but hey, I guess it was for Pepsi after all, and Queen looks sensational with that eye-catching blonde stripe in her hair. Make a wish???? I guess.
Losing multi-national corp backing didn't do a goddamn thing, FYI. "Like A Prayer" is one of Madonna's most successful singles ever, so naturally it is one of the most successful singles for anyone ever. It blew into every chart imaginable, hitting #1 in the US and the UK, despite all the bluster from the moms and pops in the former, and more than proved that Madonna was bigger than a fucking soda pop. They sponsored her fucking Super Bowl halftime show over twenty years later anyway, so mum got hers.
Let's move on to our 11/10s, shall we? We'll... be steadfastly ignoring references to this easily winning the entire rate for the sake of my own sanity. The first up to the plate is @LTG, who recounts a tale of absolutely humiliating adolescent homosexuality which he seems to talk about positively rather than a traumatic life event. What, are you well adjusted or something?
"Getting into Madonna is such a wondrous pastime with almost 40 years of officially released music. Faguettes today can log in to forum dot popjustice dot com saying they stan Girl Gone Wild having never listened to anything pre-Confessions, while others go out to bat that she's not done much of note since I'm Breathless.
Everyone's introduction to the queen is unique, but there's a point in all our lives where she grabbed our attention with her steely determination and hasn't let go. My discovery took a number of years. I was aware of some of the Ray of Light and Music singles through cultural osmosis growing up.
But it was channel hopping through the music channels in around 2002/03 that I was introduced to my 11 for the first time. The 'Like a Prayer' video had it all. Drama, a storyline, Madonna's mug. But mostly THAT SONG. Prince's guitar leading into that glorious intro.
That song set me on a course to stan this woman more than any other artist, buying the Like a Prayer album and working from there. This is Madonna's world and we're just living in it.
Once in a year 7 French lesson we weren't doing any work, and people were talking about their favourite songs and I sang most of Like a Prayer in a nostalgic moment of whatever.
It works in all its iterations. The iconic "God" intro and the exorcising Imacculate Collection version. The trashy dance Sticky and Sweet mix. The monks at the Met Gala mix. I almost cried when it got wheeled out at my Rebel Heart tour date and in the Palladium in February.
There are other songs I thought about choosing for my 11, and this might be the obvious choice. But in the end, this was the only choice."
If only more of the voters had agreed with you. Next up is @joe_alouder, who sounds like a bit of a size queen, talking about how big and long everything is.
"How does one reckon with something this seismic? Maybe it's my youth talking but the idea this song wasn't there, fully formed at the start of the universe is almost ridiculous. The idea that people were there dancing to this in clubs as a brand new song as opposed to a bulletproof classic imprinted on their lives since they knew music itself. I mean the song itself is a masterclass in atmosphere, of the dark giddy euphoria that tinges every moment, like the rush into the light before death, the first forbidden taste of sexual ecstasy, the sheer euphoria of fleeting life. Madonna wants to take us 'there' but takes us everywhere. She is all of those things incarnate; angel, devil, mother and child. The saved and the saviour. The video bringing all these into sharp focus. For 5 and a half minutes, the mystery of life is just a little clearer and for many a queer person, maybe we weren't so alone.
(ddddd the fact I wrote this under the explicit assumption its winning by a landslide)"
SHUT UP. Although sometimes it's alarming to think that "Like A Prayer" has been out for literally my entire life. The night I was born, Madonna was actually performing in Wembley Stadium as part of the Blond Ambition Tour. I'm now also the same age Madonna was when she wrote "Like A Prayer", although I'm admittedly slightly less accomplished. There be some magic in thaT, surely. Let's cross over to @Andrew.L now, who if memory serves, is actually older than "Like A Prayer" by a wee bit. It's irrelevant, but I thought I would say it.
"In a rate where there can be only one, you have to go with your heart.
Like A Prayer has been in my life for about 29 years, when my sister got The Immaculate Collection for Christmas. Even out of all those great songs, it stood above the rest as something special (and my sister literally did a Derry Girls esque dance to it at her school assembley, which she then recreated and taught a stranger for a talent show on holiday a year or so later... Queen).
It pulls you in and builds a world around you with Madonna's vocals as the song grows through each verse, until exploding and evolving into it's final form. Even scaled down, the song can't help but sound Euphoric.
It's timeless, yet of its time, especially when you take the amazing video into context, it's powerful, it's a masterpiece.
Every time I've been anywhere and it comes on it always goes off on the dancefloor, it should be played at everyone of her tours, it is not only the best song Madonna has ever done, it is perfection in a Pop Song.
Unbeatable, Like A Prayer,
maybe the best song of all time."
What kinda haiku formatting? Tea though. Next up is @Daniel_O, who will at least have absolutely no regrets.
"This song is my favorite song ever. Absolute masterpiece. Best song ever made. Period. I heard it for the first time when I was about 6 years old, and knew right away i'm listening to something special. I actually considered giving my 11 to my second favorite song ever – La Isla Bonita, just to make sure it gets a little further, but ended up deciding to just give it to the most deserving song."
I wonder how many of y'all are now wishing you didn't give your 11/10 to something that bombed out weeks ago. I told you every vote counted! We then move on to @funkyg who... predicts the future miserably accurately :(
"I guess I am older than most on Popjustice but one of the perks is having experienced Madonna’s career in real time since the release of “Everybody”. And what a career to behold and follow. The multiple peaks and lows, backlashes and comebacks. The multiple reinventions. And yet her creative juices are still actively flowing to this day.
Coming back to 1989, after the True Blue era, Madonna had decisively and undebatably conquered the global peaks of commercial success. Everyone knew that she knew how to expertly use controversy, sex and image to sell and market her music. But her actual musical talents, artistry, merits were still a hazy question mark. Even with me, a growing stan.
And then came Like A Prayer. Like A Prayer – the song, album and era – is not her only peak but in my view, it is the peak of peaks. For once there was no backlash after the era from the hard core fans, casual fans, general public, critics and industry – because there was nothing to backlash about and only everything to celebrate about an artist who had shown such artistic growth and reached such a high level of artistic merit. We were later to find out that she would still continue growing artistically.
From the moment I opened up my Like A Prayer cassette with the scent of patchouli perfume oil emanating from the package hitting me, to the Facts about AIDS card falling out at me, to the opening rumble of Like A Prayer filling the room, it is an experience forever stuck in my mind.
I am not going to write about the artistic merits of Like A Prayer the song. You all know them. @RJF will do a supremely excellent write up about it.
I will say that I know there is a very real possibility that you are not reading this commentary as part of the post for the Number One winning song for this rate. I mentioned that there was no backlash after the Like A Prayer era. Ironically, there has been a slight backlash on, of all places, Popjustice rates. The unbeatable rate song has been losing recent rates. I get that it is overplayed. I get that you are bored of it (winning rates?). Worse still, some may have marked it down because it is “older” than say, Vogue, Frozen or Hung Up. All I want to say is, Like A Prayer is the definition of “timeless”."
Our final bit of commentary from someone who gave "Like A Prayer" their 11/10 is, of course... from me.
Now that it's actually time for me to say something on this, my favourite song in the rate possibly the world, I'm not really sure where to begin. It was strange watching so many of you struggle to pick an 11/10 at the start, or say you had so many choices, because although Madonna's discography is deep and sprawling and love so much of it, the song that I was going to pick for my 11/10 never really felt in doubt. It always had to be this.
For all the ways that Madonna has struggled with her faith over the years, the biggest irony of all is that her finest song is one that sets out to recreate religious ecstasy, and succeeds. I mean, naturally, Madonna's chosen method in the lyrics is to weave through her bed sheets, but it's more than that. The gospel choir that heighten the stakes and the holiness of it all, the open yearning of her (ONE TAKE) vocal, and how the track is entirely structured around bringing you to a crescendo, to a climax; it basically launches into the stratosphere from the end of the second chorus and refuses to come down after that, where the chorus briefly takes a break from being the apex and becomes simply the gateway to even greater glory. And the euphoria that follows is maybe the greatest two minutes of music ever, with Madonna, unchained from uncertainty and self-doubt, throwing herself around in agonising euphoria, bra straps slipping, dark hair bouncing. An image forever ingrained in my mind. And yours too, if you have any sense. What a moment.
"Like A Prayer" is just pure alchemy. It would not have happened in any other time with any other person. On paper, it shouldn't be nearly as affecting as it always is. Madonna is no stranger to approaching emotional situations or states in her music, and it would be hard to class this as one of them. And yet... it's that innate sense of knowing, isn't it? That you're hearing something something special, that you're listening to something profound and powerful. Maybe that's what receiving revelation is all about; that sense of absolute certainty that what you are feeling and hearing and seeing is real. That's faith. I know the sun is real because I feel its warmth and light on my face. I know the wind is real because it moves my hair and makes me shiver. I know my fucking laptop is real because its keyboard has taken an absolute hammering thanks to this rate, and I know the laptop before it was real because it weighed about 100KG and didn't work properly after I spilled water on it, but it still managed to deliver about 70% of this rate to you. And... I know the people in my life are real because they make me happy, and sad, and everything in between. And I know I'll be able to hug them again, hold hands again, be together again, just be again. And I know that "Like A Prayer" by Madonna is the best song of all time because it is. It is a truth that has lived inside me before I even heard it.
Divine knowledge, given freely. Rapturous.
Like A Prayer OUT.
Live 8 2005
Super Bowl 2012
Rebel Heart in Stockholm, in wake of 2015 Paris terrorist attacks
Eurovision 2019... why
"LIKE A PRAYER" - FULL SCORE SHEET
Mirwais Ahmadzaï 11
Sail On 11
Mikl C 11
No hay banda 10
Lucy Honeychurch 10
Future Lover 10
Ana Raquel 10
Andy French 10
Up Down Suite 10
Candy Perfume Girl 10
Miss Lange 10
Crisp X 10
Epic Chocolat 10
Pop Life 10
Digital Ghost 10
Trinu 3.0 10
Holly Something 10
Mr Blonde 10
Music Is Death 10
Beautiful Child 2 10
Phonetics Boy 9.5
BEST FICTION 9.5
Dangerous Maknae 9
Hurricane Drunk 9
Bleu Noir 7
I’M FUCKING SHOOK
I fully scrolled right to the bottom thinking you were joking.
Oh I didn't think Frozen would actually beat Like a Prayer. I'm shaking
I–?!?!?! Oh my god, I'm kind of gobsmacked. This is the greatest song of all-time... I couldn't even submit commentary because it transcends everything in existence. Like, what the fuck would I say about LIKE A PRAYER???
Oh well, if it couldn't be the greatest song of all-time, at least it's Frozen! Well done, mystic queen.
I knew I should have voted.
I mean... Frozen is iconic.
But Like A Prayer is pop perfection distilled.
Both are 11s.
But also... yaaaaaaassssss
I don’t want to sound mad since Frozen is a masterpiece and other girls could only wish for a song like that.
But Like a Prayer?
I didn't entirely expect this result, despite equally rooting for both songs, and now am very curious to see if "Frozen" managed to achieve the 10+ average score.
I HAVEN'T READ THE WRITE UP YET BUT FUCK
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