That’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs all over, isn’t it? Karen O is specifically cool because she’s gangly. She is the CJ Cregg of rock, the new new wave Racnoss who can carry off dressing like Su Pollard because she doesn’t give a monkey’s, and ‘Sacrilege’ is the alt.rock ‘Like A Prayer’. Praise be!
1985 was Madonna’s annus mirabilis, barely a week passing without a saucy New York dance-pop nugget brightening up the UK charts. She bagged eight Top 5 hits, including bona fide breakthrough ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Holiday’ recharting 18 months after its initial Top 10 appearance, first No.1 ‘Into The Groove’ and the utterly forgotten ‘Angel’. Try and sing it, go on. So the slutty Material Girl angle was all sewn up; now it was time for the serious artiste.
We’d already had the ever-so-earnest ‘Live To Tell’, but ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ was the big one. A rather less trashy tackling of her Catholic guilt than ‘Like A Virgin’, it was real, honest and oddly – paradoxically – innocent. Dramatic too. ‘Like A Prayer’ would scare the horses, but ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ is the raw truth. Madonna was still fresh and unpredictable and winningly rounded too, not the skin-smeared Terminator we blanch at today.
Taken purely at face value, ‘Papa…’ is an easy singalong, but Junior might just have seen it as an oblique way of telling me to shut up. We can salute creativity like that. We also found the song good for call and response – “Papa preach?” “Papa DON’T preach!”
Pressed on the actual quality of the record, Junior declared it “good.” A future in music journalism awaits.
Just what was stuck in Roland Gift’s throat? Maybe he’d sniffed too hard at the Like A Prayer sleeve. And what happened to this lot, anyway? The Raw & The Cooked album was the year’s most unexpected must-have, which must have made them shedloads of cash and stored up a cache of goodwill for whatever they wanted to do next. Nothing.
A catchy single, this, snaring soul, rock, pop and funk fans all at once. Junior is all of these. It was slyly released into the no-man’s land of early January – when the record buyers are sick to the back teeth of Cliff and Slade, and will even propel a sub-par washed-up Duran Duran single into the Top 10 – and what do you know, the first memorable hit of the year.
As Junior bounced her chair along the floorboards, I had a gander at the tracklist for the R&TC. It reminded me of Jukebox Junior Theory 2c: no one makes tightly-edited, quality-controlled, filler-free 10-track albums anymore. We’re assailed with “added value”, bonus tracks, unfunny skits and will-this-do?-isms, and it’s all a load of crap.
She’s snogging a BLACK CRIMINAL JESUS. Shocking, I’m sure, but Madge didn’t need to whip up a storm here. Her power pop peak sold itself. It came out of nowhere too: the Who’s That Girl film and soundtrack had underperformed, the singles were shoddy and sales had diminished; the You Can Dance remix album had met a public rapt with indifference. Blonde Ambition to Blonde Ambivalence.
So, she went brunette and found some songs. The Chameleoness of Pop.
Junior’s a brunette already, but she’ll never be a successful chameleon until she discovers colours that aren’t pink. The song was a hit – she smiled and bounced as she put her pink-sleeved arm into her pink anorak.
I remember buying the album along with Soul II Soul’s Club Classics Vol. One and The Stone Roses’ debut, a solid burst of purchasing in Virgin Milton Keynes. Then, of course, I took it home and sniffed Madonna’s patchouli-scented crotch.
I forgot to upload the mp3. Ah, you know how it goes.