WORTH A LOOK?: ****
TRACKLIST: Medellin; Dark Ballet; God Control; Future; Batuka; Killers Who Are Partying; Crave; Crazy; Come Alive; Faz Gostoso; Bitch I’m Loca; I Don’t Search I Find; I Rise
It’s been a good month for albums and The Divine Comedy and Mark Ronson were both vying for this month’s best LP but in the end we awarded the accolade to the Queen of Pop who plays 15 London Palladium shows early next year.
- Read on for reasons including how this is Madonna’s best album for 14 years
Madame X is Madonna’s 14th studio album since 1983’s Madonna and her best since 2005’s hit-packed Confessions On The Dancefloor saw her sample ABBA.
Reinvention is very much key to Madonna’s success and this campaign sees her downscale the ambition of her previous tours from arenas to theatres playing 79 dates from September in just 10 venues, including seven in the US and three in Europe including the aforementioned London and her new home, Lisbon in Portugal.
The Portuguese influence is very much at the heart of this new collection with opening track Medellin boasting a Latin pop sound and featuring Columbian reggaeton star Maluma.
The best tracks follow with Dark Ballet combining Dark Punk-like vocoder with a classical sample from Tchaikvsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Our favourite is the 70s discotastic God Control which offers the hook: ‘This is your wake-up call’, a theme echoed in her criticised live Eurovision performance in Israel last month.
Madonna co-wrote all 13 tracks, six alongside Mirwais the genius behind much of her best work of the last century including albums Music and the aforementioned Confessions.
Such is the idiosyncratic nature of the project that not all of it works and some of the lyrics jar not least: ‘I will be Africa, if Africa is shut down.’ on Killers Who Are Partying.
Elsewhere there is a remarkably self-referential air about I Don’t Search I Find which, we think, includes a spoken word reference to key Madonna track from yesteryear Justify My Love.
Three and a half years ago we saw Madonna’s last London gig at The 02 writing: ‘She’ll be 58 next year and continues to prove that women of her age are in no way invisible.’
If anything Madame X is further proof that the Queen Of Pop continues to successfully plough her own furrow and her audience is the richer for it. Those Palladium tickets early next year will be ones to prize.