After the opening singles, Like a Prayer and Express Yourself, Madonna’s 1989 album Like a Prayer doesn’t really know what to do next. The vaguely perky Till Death Do Us Part is stuck in the super-boring sandwich of Love Song and Promise to Try, and the whole thing seems pretty directionless.
However, once past the mid-point the album begins to get more interesting. In the more ambitious Dear Jessie Madonna gains points for effort for flexing her psychedelic muscles, but the surprisingly poignant Oh Father is the clear star of the second half. In an album that attempts to transition Madonna’s reputation from shiny pop diva to bona fide artist, this semi-autobiographical ballad about an abusive parent succeeded in challenging my view of her, at least.