iEditorial | LIKE A PRAYER 30th Anniversary

Still considered the most seminal work of her career, 30 years ago Madonna released Like A Prayer her most introspective project at the time, redefined popular music and elevated her celebrity into the stratosphere.

Expressing herself has always been one of Madonna’s most enduring caveats as an artist. The Queen of Pop has never attempted to shy away from the criticism or the controversies that have followed her especially early on during her emerging career, and in 1989 the controversies were moving at a rapid-fire pace, and yet Madonna kept in step. Proving many of her harshest critics wrong she releases Like A Prayer her most honest and introspective work, the album reshaped the perception of the artist immediately.

There was her high profile divorce from actor Sean Penn. Their tumultuous marriage had been headline fodder for the tabloids since the moment the couple began to date; the distraction of having their lives constantly under the microscope inevitably led to the relationship’s downfall. Madonna emerged determined from the experience not to appear a victim of what many had conspired to describe as an abusive situation. Between her last full-length album and the release of Like A Prayer, Madonna appeared to have grown in leaps and bounds artistically.

The 11-tracks that culminate in the setlist for Like A Prayer beginning with the album’s title track read like an exercise in self-discovery and exoneration for Madonna. She’s putting it all out there and bringing her audience along with her. “Like a Prayer” proved more of a success than anyone could have bargained for. In the lead-up to the video’s MTV premiere, Pepsi had agreed to a multi-million dollar deal with Madonna to sponsor her upcoming world tour. The commercial featuring the track was the perfect marriage of artist and product typical of the 80’s branding of an image.

Unfortunately, the video for “Like a Prayer” with its profound use of religious iconographic imagery, some of which showed Madonna cavorting amorously with a man who appeared as a Christ-like reference while burning crossing raged behind her, may have been more than squeaky-clean soda manufacturer had bargained for. Madonna and Pepsi inevitably went their separate ways, though she kept the millions promised to her, and followed up the controversy of the first video with the even more flagrant “Express Yourself” directed by David Fincher.

Just Like A Dream

For the second single from Like A Prayer, Madonna threw all care to the wind and decided the video for the more up-tempo track would be her most audacious yet. Collaborating with David Fincher (the pair would work together often) the pair chose the art deco influences of the gothic futuristic film Metropolis set to the “non-stop” remix of the track by music producer Shep Pettibone, to drape Madonna in satin sheets, chaining her to a bed — a captive to her own desires — as she awaits the arrival of her oiled up, muscly laborer who toils in the depths of the city.

The imagery from “Express Yourself” alone fueled a movement and would eventually reveal itself as the opening arc of her blockbuster statement of 1990, the Blond Ambition World Tour. The album would go on to release several hit singles including “Keep It Together”, “Oh Father”, “Dear Jessie” and “Cherish” which also featured a video from fashion photographer Herb Ritts. The video which featured Madonna on the shores of a beach playing with mermen who swam amidst the crashing waves was an interesting parallel to Ritts’ other video for Janet Jackson.

Though their rivalry was never a publicly stated competition, the two artists often found themselves during the 80s and 90s battling for similar audiences. Ritts bathed Madonna in cool blues which played beautifully to her own eyes as her skin appeared wet and desirably supple in the watery backdrop, while Jackson’s video for “Love Will Never Do (Without You) placed Janet in the stark California desert, radiating a heat — both artists the lustful affection of several well-built male models; of the two videos Madonna’s the more playful and innocent, by comparison.

Keep It Together

Perhaps the most significant extrapolation of Like A Prayer comes from its significantly closing the artistic collaborative efforts of songwriters Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, who had been ever-present in Madonna’s early career hits. They would return to the fold, but after Like A Prayer and her next full-length album effort Erotica Madonna would begin to experiment with alternative producing and writing partners. The success of Like A Prayer would soon be eclipsed by the shockwave of a single hit song that almost ended up a B-Side. The song was “Vogue”.

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UnBoxing | Star Trek Discovery KLINGON BIRD-OF-PREY

The most feared warship in the known galaxy — like you’ve never seen it before — continues to evolve in its latest iteration from the Star Trek Discovery and brought home from Eaglemoss Collections.

When the USS Shenzhou decided to wake the bear that is the Klingon Empire at the Battle of the Binary Stars, Star Trek Discovery took the opportunity to once again (re)introduce the most formidible alien species in the galaxy. The Klingons have been a favorite fan, and within the canon of Star Trek history they are the Federation’s most fearsome adversary. With their reintegration into the 23rd century continuity establishing more details of the Klingon/Federation War, this enemy has never looked more ferocious.

The creatives behind the new series have had a distinct freedom to explore technologies and designs for Star Trek Discovery and that’s most evident in the radically more alien look at the Klingons. Even the 23rd Century Bird-Of-Prey the most notorious warship in the Klingon fleet, had a very atypical design and terrifyingly ornate aesthetic; more muscular and constructed to strike fear, the craft looks very much like its namesake implies serving to strike fear in the hearts of its enemies.

A close-up of the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey reveals the intricate detail and vastly more vascular look at the approach the design took to make this 23rd Century war ship different from its predecessors.

The Bird Takes Flight

Eaglemoss Collections recreates the newest Klingon Bird-Of-Prey for its Star Trek Discovery Official Starship Collection and begins to assemble the fleet of the Klingon forces that soar into battle during the Klingon/Federation War and are first glimpsed at the Battle of the Binary Stars of 2256. The model is based on the designs of Sam Michlap. The design team was tasked with giving the Klingons, especially the iconic Bird-Of-Prey a more “aggressive” look. Michlap chose a direction that gave the ship the impression that it can slice its way through space.

The high-end collectible comes in at about 6” from stem to stern, approximating the actual size of the warship which measures 188.7 meters, keeping it within the anticipated size of its predecessors. The Klingons historically dispatched the Bird-Of-Prey as escort ships or as wing defenders; they’ve also served as the introductory arsenal heralding a Klingon invasion. Featuring the recognizable wing-swept design of the line, the vessel was also impressively armed with multiple phaser banks and photon torpedos.

Michlap explains the radical new approach to the ship’s design in the 16-page magazine that accompanies the model (along with a display stand) and admits that much of the Gothic design and texture of the ship was inspired by ornamental details found in cathedrals and especially Islamic architecture. This undoubtedly marries the 23rd Century Klingons very closely to their cultural connection of a more ceremonial people. The Bird-Of-Prey is seen protecting the fleet and is called upon with the enormous Sarcophagus Ship is in peril.

First of the Fleet

Besides the introduction of the unique Klingon Bird-Of-Prey to the line, Eaglemoss has also issued the Klingon destroyer Qugh Class (Issue #8) and the much more elegant Qoj Class (Issue #10). Both ships and their respective models give fans an alternative insight into this formidable force, which is still developing and playing a significant role in the evolution of the narrative storyline of Star Trek Discovery in its Second Season. The ship models are available for purchase individually or as part of Eaglemoss Collections subscription service.

Klingon Bird-Of-Prey | Star Trek Discovery Official Starships Collection Issue #4 is available now from Eaglemoss Collections. Click on the link here!