Express Yourself



Lyrics

Come on girls
Do you believe in love?
'Cause I got something to say about it
And it goes something like this

Don't go for second best baby
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

You don't need diamond rings or eighteen karat gold
Fancy cars that go very fast
You know they never last, no no
What you need is a big strong hand to
Lift you to your higher ground
Make you feel like a queen on a throne
Make him love you till you can't come down
You'll never come down

Don't go for second best baby
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

Long stem roses are the way to your heart but
He needs to start with your head
Satin sheets are very romantic
What happens when you're not in bed
You deserve the best in life
So if the time isn't right then move on
Second best is never enough
You'll do much better baby on your own
Baby on your own

Don't go for second best baby
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
Express himself
Hey hey hey hey
So if you want it right now
Make him show you how
Express what he's got
Oh baby ready or not

And when you're gone he might regret it
Think about the love he once had
Try to carry on
But he just won't get it
He'll be back on his knees
To express himself
You've got to make him
Express himself
Hey hey

What you need is a big strong hand to
Lift you to your higher ground
Make you feel like a queen on a throne
Make him love you till you can't come down
You'll never come down

And when you're gone he might regret it
Think about the love he once had
Try to carry on
But he just won't get it
He'll be back on his knees
So please

Don't go for second best baby
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
Express himself
Hey hey hey hey
So if you want it right now
Make him show you how
Express what he's got
Oh baby ready or not

Express yourself (you got to make him)
So you can respect yourself
Hey hey
So if you want it right now
Make him show you how
Express what he's got
Oh baby ready or not

Credits

Written by Madonna and Steve Bray
Produced by Madonna and Steve Bray


Album



Single

Express Yourself, the singleAfter the huge #1 success of Like A Prayer, Madonna didn't go for second best, but released Express Yourself as second single on May 9, 1989. It seemed like Madonna wanted to get back on her critics by saying everybody should 'express himself' like she does; a message she would repeat in 1994's Human Nature. While Like A Prayer caused controversy in the Catholic church, Express Yourself stirred up opinions about feminism. Whether or not the song and the video pushed feminism forward or backwards was subject of discussion. Though very popular, the song didn't reach #1 and stalled at #2 in the US (Gold; it was kept from #1 by Simply Red's 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' & Martika's 'Toy Soldiers') and in Japan, #4 in Canada and #5 in the UK and Australia. It did get to #1 on the Hot Dance / Club Play though.


Video

Express Yourself, the video David Fincher directed what became one of Madonna's biggest video projects. With a production cost of $5 million it was her most expensive video to date. In 2002, Die Another Day would cost $6,1 million, but when taking inflation into account Express Yourself remains Madonna's most expensive music video.

Based on Fritz Lang's movie Metropolis (1927), Madonna uses the distinction between lower working class (the slaves) and the upper high-society class (the director and Madonna herself) to symbolically turn around the classic stereotypes between men and women. Madonna is sexy, independant and in control, but on the other hand gives in to the advances of the slave (played by Cameron, the good-looking model of the Guess jeans ads). Dressed both in a stylish green dress and in a male suit (with sexy corset underneath), one moment in control and the other crawling on the floor on hands and knees, Madonna ridiculed stereotypes and pushed the boundaries. The true meanings of the video are still an interesting subject for discussion today.

Fact is that the video won awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Direction at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, where Madonna performed the song as well. Originally, the video was set to the Shep Pettibone club remix and included a longer bed scene at the end [released on Celebration Video Collection], but because MTV thought the remix was not enough mainstream, an edited clip featuring a soundtrack close to the album version was released [which features on Immaculate Collection video collection].




Tour

Express Yourself @ Blond Ambition TourAt the Blond Ambition Tour, Madonna opened her show with Express Yourself (the Non-Stop Express Mix). The stage was inspired by the factory from the video and the dancers were only wearing a jeans, just like Cameron in the video. Madonna revealed her notious Gaultier corset, while she, Niki and Donna did some impressive moves. As they were singing "What you need is a big strong hand..." they each brought a male dancer to his knees and showed him who was in charge.

Express Yourself @ Girlie ShowOn the Girlie Show Madonna brought the 70s back, as she descended to stage on top of a huge disco ball, sporting a big afro and hotpants. Niki and Donna joined her for a fantastic disco version of Express Yourself that channeled the female empoverment of the 70s disco divas, which then flows into Deeper And Deeper.

Express Yourself @ Re-Invention Tour'What you need is a big strong hand...' It got a totally new meaning on the Re-Invention Tour, when Madonna was actually holding a gun in her hand. She and her dancers were dressed in military gear and performed a perfectly timed rifle choreography. The song in its military version could be talking about personal love just as well as patriotistic love. In the context of the show, with performances like American Life and Imagine, it added to the anti-war message of the tour. At the beginning of the song, she thrilled her male fans by replacing the traditional "come on girls" by "come on boys".

Express Yourself @ MDNA TourBy the time the MDNA Tour commenced, Express Yourself had already been introduced to a new generation of pop music lovers due to its immediate comparisons to Lady Gaga's 2011 hit Born This Way. Madonna infamously called that track "reductive" in an interview but the expressive girl she is, she didn't leave it at that. Dressed as a 1940s majorette, she opens the second segment of the show with Express Yourself in its most familiar commanding arrangement, similar to the previous live interpretation with the military boys now replaced by marching girls. As the baton cautiously swings in her hand during the instrumental breakdown, she then sings a few bars of the Lady Gaga single that conveniently fits not only in key but also the call-to-arms attitude of Madonna's own song.

At the same time, on the screens (the colourful backdrop video inspired by J. Howard Miller's World War II posters and Roy Lichtenstein's pop art), blindfolded little monsters appear who consume various canned icons, including the cone bra and the ponytail. When the number is about to flow into the cheerleading Give Me All Your Luvin' with the marching snare drums, Madonna does not leave much to the imagination as she chants the title line of She's Not Me...

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