Inc., "Cherish" is composed in the time signature of common time, with a moderately fast tempo of 130 beats per minute.
Musically constructed as a doo-wop-style pop song, it is regarded as a light-hearted track by critics and includes instruments such as a drum machine, percussions, keyboards and a saxophone.
Lyrically, it speaks of Madonna's devotion to her lover, and her promise to be always by his side.
"Cherish" was included on Madonna's greatest hits compilations, The Immaculate Collection (1990) and Celebration (2009).
After its release, the song received positive feedback from reviewers, who were surprised by the change of content and the lighter image of Madonna's music in contrast to her previous singles from Like a Prayer, which incorporated themes such as religion and sexuality.
Songs such as "Cupid" (Sam Cooke), "You Are My Destiny" (Paul Anka) and "I Can't Let Go" (The Hollies) are used within the first verse, while other verses use the words of such song titles as "Burning Love" (Elvis Presley) and "Two Hearts" (Bruce Springsteen).
Other instances include The Association song reference and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.Madonna was reading Romeo and Juliet during the breaks during rehearsals for Speed the Plow, a Broadway show in which she was starring in 1988.On the third day of the Like a Prayer recording sessions, she presented Leonard with the lyrics of "Cherish", and explained that she had written the song "one sunny afternoon by the beach", but later confessed that it was actually written in her make-up room.This is followed by the sound from drum machine, as percussion and guitars accompany her voice.During the bridge, Madonna sings the line "Cupid please take your aim at me", as the keyboard sound becomes pronounced.On the Billboard Hot 100, "Cherish" became Madonna's 16th consecutive top-five single, setting a record in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.