Madonna – Express yourself
Put your love to the test you know, you know you've got to
Make him express how he feels and maybe
Then you'll know your love is real
Express yourself, you've got to make him
On May 9, 1989, Madonna released the second hit from her new album. A couple of months after the big fame but also the controversies of Like a prayer, Express yourself was bound to replicate the success of all other Madonna’s hits. Actually this song became one of Madonna’s trademarks for several reasons!
First, the lyrics. They are absolutely ahead of time. It’s a sort of anthem for women’s empowerment, but it was not so common in 1989! The message is quite soft, and it sounds like advices from older girls to younger ones.
And actually a story says that this song is dedicated to a friend of Madonna’s whom we all know: Jennifer Gray, the protagonist of Dirty Dancing. And it was Jennifer who told this story: after three years together, Jennifer’s relationship with actor Matthew Broderick had come to an end, and Jennifer had started dating another very famous actor, Johnny Depp. And one evening, at the beginning of their story, Madonna told Jennifer to get into her car for a moment, and right in her Mercedes she had Jennifer listen to this song, telling her that the song was written just for her, thinking about her love stories.
The video is absolute glamour! Madonna celebrates herself as a Diva, but also introduces some fetish context in her videos for the first time, and we will later find it many other times. During the 90s, for example, in Erotica or Justify my love, just to mention a couple. And everything happens in a futuristic but old fashioned environment, that clearly reminds of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, very similar to what the Queen (meaning, the Freddie Mercury’s Queen) did with Radio Ga Ga. A fantastic and unforgettable video, that I suggest to see once again.
But this song became ultra-famous also for another reason and another symbol: Madonna used Express Yourself as the opening song for the worldwide famous “Blond Ambition Tour” concerts, where Madonna used to appear on stage, with this song, with the notorious Jean Paul Gaultier conical bra.
Madonna on Wikipedia