Madonna – Like A Prayer Music Video Breakdown.

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DISCLAIMER: I started this post, FUCKING FOREVER AGO (April 26th, 2019) and I’m never going to finish it so it’s time to give up. Anything referring to “last month” or anything like that is now going to be waaaaay off. So here is as far as I got…

Last month, music fans, marked the 30th anniversary of Madonna’s classic “Like A Prayer”. I’d have covered it then, but I haven’t posted on here in ages and couldn’t be bothered. Apparently though, the 30th Anniversary Edition of the album came out today. So what better time to talk about it, right?!

Now, we could debate all day which the best Madonna album is (it’s True Blue), but instead, let’s just take a look at the lead and titular single, Like A Prayer. For shits and giggles, let’s also look at it like I’ve never seen it before… Oh, also, before we start, did you know that the original idea for this video was about an interracial couple being shot to death by the KKK. So, whilst this caused controversy, this is the toned down version!

[00:00]: We start with some sirens and a bit of guitar work as Madonna runs towards the camera. God she looks good. She, not very convincingly “trips” and falls on her face. The actual track starts with the same sirens and such, so I can only assume that they were used to make her look like she was running from them just so it fit the opening of the video.

[00:09]: A door slams shut and we lose the sirens and guitar, and then we get…

[00:11]: CONTROVERSY! (Am I the only person that says that like Prince?) 11 seconds. It took her 11 seconds. A burning cross.

[00:12]: Back to Madonna and her face is now front lit, meaning she fell down in front of this. So, the only reason we saw the door was for the sound effect of the door being closed. LITERAL 80s! Worth point out at this point that the Like A Prayer album contained Express Yourself, which, adjusted for inflation is the second most expensive music video ever made. Presumably that’s why the budget on this one was a little bit more cut back! Incidentally, if you don’t even adjust it for inflation it’s still in like the top 5, only beat out by Scream and her own Die Another Day. Express Yourself was directed by David Fincher, you know! It’s also worth pointing out right now that this one was directed by Mary Lambert. Yes THAT Mary Lambert. Pet Sematary Mary Lambert. Outside of her film work she was quite the music video director in the 80s, especially for Madonna. We have her to thank for La Isla Bonita, Borderline, Like A Virgin, and Material Girl. She also did Nasty and Control for Janet, as well as Lionel Richie’s My Destiny! Right, where the fuck were we!

[00:14]: We cut to Madonna flicking her hair round, as she witnesses…

[00:15]: A woman getting attacked. We see flicky Madge again and then one of the guys notices her? I think, and we then cut back to her, only it’s not the flicky hair Madonna, it’s the laying on the floor, Madonna.

[00:19]: She gets up and starts making her way towards…

[00:22]: This church.

[00:28]: Now we cut to Leon, who one day will be a Jamaican Bobsledder, getting arrested. I think we’re supposed to assume he’s been arrested for the attack on the woman, obviously wrongly.

[00:30]: Madonna enters the church

[00:34]: We go into an almost first person mode and move towards a statue hidden behind some bars, and then back to Madonna.

[00:41]: We then… *shudder* jump cut in time with the music. *vomits* We finally get to see that the statue is, I think, supposed to be Martin De Porres, Patron Saint of Mixed Race People. I think that a lot of people thought that it was supposed to be black Jesus or something, which only escalated the controversy. We do a lot of cutting between the two of them and we briefly see his hands move. Then land back at…

[00:49]: Awww, he’s crying. Probably upset that some white woman thinks it’s ok to just run into his church and start singing.

[00:53]: Madonna moves towards the bars and kneels down in front of Leon, and starts actually singing. She’s hears his voice. Apparently it sounds like an angel sighing. I mean, how would you even know what that sounds like. Probably like anyone else sighing I guess. Fair enough, I’ll let her off.

[01:15]: In some foreshadowing of how Madonna is now, she’s done 8 seconds of singing so needs to lay down. She finds a pew to have a rest. Probably got a dream incoming. *sigh*… *angel sighing*… Yeah, more or less the same.

[01:19]: “I close my eyes” ERGH LITERAL.

[01:20]: “Oh god I think I’m falling” as she falls. The literal nightmare continues.

[01:21]: Madonna continues to fall and is caught by a woman in church robes. Not happy with her purchase, and clearly due to an amazing returns policy, the woman throws her straight back.

[01:34]: At this point we’re… 3 years until Madonna’s Sex book and 2 years until “In Bed With Madonna”, but here is her foot fetish on display.

[01:41]: Madonna has now rested enough to stand up again!

[01:42]: Right, we’re gonna move in bigger chunks now as I’m losing the will to live. She opens the cage thing up and touches the statue who starts to come alive. We get a brief shot of him still looking like a statue, yet moving, in make up that probably took ages. We see that makeup for all of half a second before we never see it again. WORTH IT. He steps down and embraces Madonna. Whispers in her ear. Probably something along the lines of “In a few years you’re gonna get the urge to marry Guy Ritchie, maybe give it some proper thought!” and then he kisses her forehead.

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