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One thing you can say about Madonna is she’s always interesting be it musically or culturally. And the international icons latest recording,”Madame X” is interesting – if not arresting – both for it’s adventurous lack of straight up pop gold as well as for it’s handful of catchier tunes. In fact “X” sounds like three different albums fighting for space veering between, Euro-Latino influences, clubby, electronic dance music and diverse, global World Beats that jumps from the personal to the political lyrically with straight-up sexy dance duets aimed at the world’s fastest growing music market. And she hit’s that target dead center and then some.
And, just to set the record straight no pun intended, and for those who don’t know, “Madame X” was the nickname given to her by her dance teacher Martha Graham, who told the 19-year-old Madonna Louise Ciccone that “Every day, you come to school, and I don’t recognize you.” Madonna says that it gives her the chance to be a chameleon, anybody from a mother to a head of state, saint, agent provocateur, nun or whore.
And, speaking of those ladies of the evening, “X” is most definitely NOT “Like A Virgin”, “Prayer” or “Ray Of Light”. This, her 14th studio release, is not a classic Madonna album to sit alongside those Grammy award winners and comes 36 years after Madonna’s self-titled debut set her on course to becoming the highest-grossing female touring musician in history.
At this stage of her life she could just play it safe with the sort of poppy, infectious music that has taken dance floors by storm since the 1980s and spawned every single Britteny, Ga-Ga, Miley or Aguilera to name just a few of dozens of top female in the music biz who owe her thanks for their roadmap to success and riches. But when has this Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer ever done that, played it safe?
It’s further proof that none of her young rivals are coming anywhere close to making pop music this exciting and boundary-pushing charting number one be damned.
Not playing it safe is clearly not apparent on the albums first track, a duet with Colombian reggae singer and songwriter, Maluma. “Medellín” comes snaking out of the speakers with a whispered countdown intro evolving into hip swaying, sultry latin flair that is probably the closest thing to a World Pop hit out of the entire 15 tracks.
Track 01: Medellin / 4:58
Track 13: I Don’t Search I Find / 4:05
But, on the very next track, safety goes right out the fucking musical window on “Dark Ballet” as the spoken word breakdown kicks in set to a nightmarish fairground waltz. On track three, “God Control” begins with an ominous and dark piano intro swelling to a rising choral background followed by manically ascending violins and jarring report of multiple gunshots followed by the lyric “this is your wake up call…I’m here to tart your day”. And on “I Rise”, it would be the sampled speech from survivors of the Parkland school shooting. While stirring, topical and bold these two cut’s are about as far away from “Beautiful Stranger, “Get Into The Groove” or “La Isla Bonita” as you could possibly get and what makes “X” so damn intriguing if not moving on theses two songs in particular.
Still in all there are some supremely listenable and beyond danceable cut’s that will be spun tis summer in clubs across the world like “Batuka”, “Future”, “Bitch I’m Loca” and the ultimate dance groove “I Don’t Search I Find”.
At 60, Madonna still has a lot to say which is cool because she’s earned that right and sure as hell doesn’t need the money, noteriety or any more hardware for the mantle although we’re sure she would welcome all of it. It’s what Madonna does at 60 like she did at 20 because it’s good to be the Queen Of Pop, the thone she’s held for decades and does not seem to be ready to relinquish any time soon.
And that only makes us wonder what all she’ll come up with by the time she turns 80. – Mez –
Tracking Listing & additional credits from Wikipedia:
|Madame X – Standard edition|
|1.||“Medellín” (with Maluma)||
|4.||“Future” (with Quavo)||
|6.||“Killers Who Are Partying”||
|7.||“Crave” (with Swae Lee)||
|10.||“Faz Gostoso” (featuring Anitta)||
|11.||“Bitch I’m Loca” (featuring Maluma)||
|12.||“I Don’t Search I Find”||
Ga-Ga this Lady….