On July 22 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Express Yourself was the first song that Madonna and producer Stephen Bray collaborated on for the Like a Prayer album.
“The message of the song is that people should always say what it is they want. The reason relationships don’t work is because they are afraid. That’s been my problem in all my relationships. I’m sure people see me as an outspoken person, and for the most part, if I want something I ask for it. But sometimes you feel that if you ask for too much or ask for the wrong thing from someone you care about that that person won’t like you. And so you censor yourself. I’ve been guilty of that in every meaningful relationship I’ve ever had. The time I learn how not to edit myself will be the time I consider myself a complete adult.”
—Madonna talking to Stephen Holden of The New York Times.
On July 1 1989, Express Yourself became Madonna’s sixth number one single on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart in Europe. It remained in the chart’s top position for three weeks.
On June 24 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself single debuted at #21 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart.
The 12″ maxi single included the following:
- Express Yourself (Non-Stop Express Mix) – 7:57
- Express Yourself (Stop & Go Dubs) – 10:49
- Express Yourself (Local Mix) – 6:26
- The Look of Love (Album Version) – 4:00
On June 1 1990, Madonna was controversially featured grabbing her crotch and breast on the cover of Interview magazine.
Madonna was interviewed by Glenn O’Brien at the Disney Studios, where she was rehearsing the Blond Ambition Tour. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
Glenn: Let’s talk about your show.
Madonna: Let’s not. Today was a horrible day. That was the worst rehearsal.
Glenn: Well, I liked it, but I haven’t seen it when you thought it was good. I loved the number where you’re lying on the piano singing a torch song.
Madonna: You saw only one segment of the show. I’ve created five different worlds, and the set is all based on hydraulics. One is going down and another is coming up. The world changes completely. I think of it more as a musical than as a rock concert. There is a straightforward Metropolis section, like my Express Yourself video – that set with all the gears and machinery; it’s very hard and metallic. That’s the heavy-duty dance music. Then the set changes and it’s like a church. We call it the temple ruins. It’s all these columns, trays of votive candles, a cross. I do Like a Virgin on a bed, but we changed the arrangement, so it sounds Indian. Then I’m being punished for masturbation on this bed, which is, as you know, what happens. Then we do the more serious, religious-type material – Like a Prayer, Papa Don’t Preach… Then it changes to what you saw, this Art Deco ’50s-musical set. That’s when we do three songs from Dick Tracy, and then after that we do what I call the camp section. Then it gets really serious again and we go into our Clockwork Orange cabaret set.
On January 12 2012, Cynthia McFadden asked Madonna, during a Good Morning America interview, for her opinion of the Lady Gaga song, Born This Way.
McFadden started by asking if Madonna felt that Lady Gaga was “copying” her. Madonna’s first reply was complimentary. She called Gaga “a very talented artist” and said she admired her songwriting abilities.
Madonna went on to say, “I certainly think she references me a lot in her work. And sometimes I think it’s amusing and flattering and well done.”
Madonna said that Gaga’s work also appeared to be a “statement about taking something that was in the Zeitgeist, you know, 20 years ago and turning it inside out and reinterpreting it.”
Madonna continued, “There’s a lot of ways to look at it. I can’t really be annoyed by it …because, obviously, I’ve influenced her.”
But Madonna became coy when the conversation turned to Born This Way.
“When I heard it on the radio …I said ….that sounds very familiar. It felt reductive.”
Pressed as to whether that was a good or bad thing, Madonna told Cynthia to “look it up” – before smiling slyly and taking a sip from her tea cup.
On December 31 1999, the following Madonna videos were included in the Much Music: Top 100 Videos Of The Century includes Express Yourself #3, Ray Of Light #8 and Like A Prayer #47.
Do you think more of Madonna’s videos should have been included in the tally? Which videos?