Holy Water

Album: Rebel Heart (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • This church-baiting song finds Madonna touching on two of her favorite topics: sex and religion. A sort of erotic baptism, the lyrics marry sexual and religious imagery in a similar, albeit more explicit fashion, as the Queen of Pop's 1989 hit tune "Like A Prayer."
  • Asked about her current relationship with Catholicism during a February 2015 interview with Billboard magazine, Madonna replied: "Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It's the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it because I suffered all the oppression, and all the abuse - and also enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance, the drama and the confusion and the hypocrisy and the craziness."

    "I feel like I can say whatever I want and do whatever I want. I've been ex-communicated by the Catholic Church a few times. But I also feel like this new pope is kind of groovy, and I think we might be able to get together and have a chat about sex."
  • Despite digging at Catholicism in this song, Madonna still values the Christian traditions. She told UK newspaper The Sun: "I love going to a beautiful Catholic Church and hearing Mass in Latin and smelling the incense and the whole pomp and circumstance and drama of all. We have to poke at our institutions. If you can't poke at our institutions, then you might as well just live in a fascist state."
  • Madonna wrote the song with English singer-songwriter Natalia Kills and Martin Kierszenbaum, who is the founder and chairman of Cherrytree Records and senior executive of A&R for Interscope Records. Both Madonna and Kills record for his label.

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