The first batch of critiques on the latest record by the pop icon have come in. While the exact star ratings vary, most are positive – and reviewers seem united on this being anything but a safe venture for the megastar, who continues to push boundaries and experiment with new sounds. So after the release of the singles Medellin and Crave, how does the rest of her 14th studio album square up?

The Guardian gave four stars, calling it “her most bizarre ever”.

Critic Ben Beaumont-Thomas said: “Throughout, there is more density and musical adventure than at almost any other point in her career (perhaps this is the influence of Mirwais, who produces numerous tracks here and gave Music its fiendish intricacy).

“Her voice is remarkably plastic, pitched down one minute and up the next, into a Sia-like bleat and out into robotic polyphony.

“Often, around the seabed of the mix, is a swirl of aqueous psychedelic sound, profoundly different and much more interesting than her earlier R&B and EDM minimalism.”

The Times’ Will Hodgkinson has also issued a four-star rating, saying this is her “boldest, certainly her strangest, album yet”.

“Madame X veers between pop, Latin and clubby dance music, jumps from the personal to the political and is bound together by an exotic, breezy mood that feels strangely intimate, as if she is revealing a hitherto hidden part of her soul,” the critic writes.

“She isn’t really, of course, but she does a good job of pretending she is.”

Q Magazine‘s Victoria Segal has given four stars too, saying: “This is Madonna on top of the world, looking down on creation, God complex at cruising altitude.”

The Sun gave five stars, saying: “In an industry which is quickly becoming devoid of personality, she has returned with her most diverse and out-there record ever.

“It’s ultra-contemporary, packed with variety and totally unlike anything she has done before.”

Rolling Stone gave three out of five, writing that there are highs and lows.

“Weirdest of all, there are truly great Madonna moments,” the critic said. “Especially Crave, a love song with florid acoustic guitar where she plays down the accent and gets lost in emotion, or the trip-hop Crazy.

“But with her typical nerve, she buries the strongest songs deep in Madame X.

“To reach them, you have to endure Killers Who Are Partying, where she ponders political oppression: ‘I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated/I’ll be Israel if they’re incarcerated.’”

The album is not out for another couple of weeks yet, so expect more reviews to emerge over the coming days.

Madame X by Madonna is out on June 14.

More at