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Released: 1984

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” off her ’84 album of the same name, is an anthem of love, transformation, and self-discovery. In essence, it captures the trembling excitement and rush of finding a love so profound, it feels like experiencing everything for the first time.

“I made it through the wilderness/ Somehow I made it through/ Didn’t know how lost I was until I found you/ I was beat, incomplete.” At the start, Madonna sets the stage with a narrative of having journeyed through a metaphorical wilderness, underlining a sense of struggling and uncertainty. It is only after finding ‘you’ (likely a lover), she realizes the depths of her prior despair. The language is raw and relatable—being lost, beaten, and incomplete are broadly human experiences.

Enter the iconic line and hook, “Like a virgin/ Touched for the very first time.” The metaphor of being a virgin isn’t just about physical intimacy—it’s about a rebirth of self, feeling cherished, and being reinvigorated by an intense, transformative love.

Delving deeper, “Gonna give you all my love, boy/ My fear is fading fast/ Been saving it all for you, ’cause only love can last.” Here, our Material Girl is all but shouting from the rooftops about her newfound emotional bravery. Her fear is evaporating, and she’s ready to give all of her love—not just bits and pieces. Madonna signifies here a reassurance that love brings, and the confidence it instills.

The repeated, “Like a virgin”, throughout the song stresses the profound impact of this fresh love, comparable to the novelty and vulnerability of one’s first time. “With your heartbeat next to mine” speaks to the intimacy of the encounters, but also the synchronization of their emotions and goals.

Lines like, “you’re so fine and you’re mine”, “make me strong, yeah you make me bold”, and “your love thawed out what was scared and cold”, might seem traditional in their declaration of love. Still, they illustrate Madonna’s sense of ownership, liberation, and triumph over fear.

The song ends on a reaffirming note, “Can’t you hear my heart beat, for the very first time?” This encapsulates the theme of ‘Like a Virgin’—a beautifully complex and layered exploration of love, vulnerability, and self-revelation, all in the guise of poppy innocence.

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