True Blue is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on June 30, 1986, by Sire Records. She worked with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard on the album while co-writing and co-producing all the songs. Deemed as Madonna's most girlish album, True Blue deals with her visions of love, work, dreams as well as disappointments, and was inspired by her then husband Sean Penn, to whom Madonna dedicated the album. Musically, the songs on the album took a different direction from her previous endeavours, incorporating classical music in order to engage an older audience who had been skeptical of her music.
The album features instrumentation from acoustic guitars, drums, synthesizers and Cuban musical instruments. The topic for the songs range from love, freedom, and in the case of "Papa Don't Preach", social issues like teenage pregnancy. After its release, True Blue received generally positive reviews from critics. They complimented the album, with one calling it great dance-pop, and described it as the archetype of the late '80s and early '90s pop albums. They also praised the fact that Madonna's voice sounded stronger than it did on her previous efforts, while commending Madonna's skills as a singer, songwriter and entertainer.
True Blue was an immediate global success, reaching number one in then record-breaking 28 countries across the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. It spent 34 consecutive weeks at the top of the European Top 100 Albums chart, longer than any other album in history. It became the world's top-selling album of 1986 and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time with sales of more than 25 million copies worldwide. All five singles released from the album reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Live to Tell", "Papa Don't Preach", and "Open Your Heart" peaking at number one.
The album was promoted on Madonna's second concert tour, Who's That Girl World Tour, which visited cities of North America, Europe and Asia in 1987. The album's singles and their accompanying music videos have sparked debates among scholars and social groups, especially "Papa Don't Preach" for the theme of teenage pregnancy in its lyrics and "Open Your Heart" for portraying a minor entering a strip club in its music video. True Blue is credited as being the album which made Madonna truly into a superstar and cemented her reputation among the consummate musical figures of the 1980s. The album also gave her first appearance on the Guinness Book of World Records.
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