“Hold Tight” is the best of the bunch, an immediately familiar track with an epic, arresting chorus and martial drumming.
The studio version of “Joan of Arc” is a massive improvement on the illegally leaked demo that preceded news of the album itself. On the Grammy red carpet Sunday night, Madonna said the worst part of the Rebel Heart leaks was that fans heard incomplete/rejected versions of her new material. Nowhere is this more apparent than on “Joan of Arc,” a solid album track that sounds 10 times better than the leaked version.
“Iconic,” Madonna’s Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson collaboration, is just about as odd as you’d expect. Mike Tyson introduces the song with a boastful spoken word segment that might inspire hubristic listeners if not for the fact that it’s actually a quote from blood-stained Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Fortunately, the Axis shout-outs end there — Chance doesn’t reference Mein Kampf in his verse — but the rest of the song is a fairly overwrought affair. Chance’s verse is fire, but the intense, busy production ultimately adds up to very little.