CD review: Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’

“Rebel Heart” is unlike any other album in Madonna’s discography. Instead of creating a brand-new aural persona as she’s done so many times before, “Rebel Heart” is very much the first Madonna album that’s actually about Madonna, with a majority of these tracks commenting on her own history and accomplishments with varying degrees of success.

While there is the usual glut of mindless sex jams and trend chasers that have so characterized her last three full-lengths, those few meta moments that actually work reveal a rare poignancy that hasn’t been seen since 2000’s “Music.”

Take “Holy Water,” for example. Madonna sounds very much at home with aggressive sentiments, blatantly toying around with religious iconography while having a bit of provocative fun. During a breakdown near the end, she somewhat inexplicably interpolates the entire “Ladies with an attitude” verse from “Vogue,” presumably to give weight to the song’s theme of owning your own sexuality. While the verse fits nicely over the song’s mid-tempo electro throb, this is a rare case of Madonna acknowledging her own legacy, leaving these well-worn tropes out in a window display for all to see.

“Rebel Heart” has a profoundly human element to it, one that paints Madonna more as a person than a product, itself a minor miracle. With this album, Madonna has dropped the overt hit-chasing to instead take on her most radical incarnation yet – that of an actual, relatable human being, flaws and all.

Evan Sawdey/

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Jo Whiley to interview Madonna on Radio 2

Jo Whiley will be interviewing the Queen of Pop Madonna on her BBC Radio 2 show next week.

They’ll be catching up and having a chat on Tuesday 31st March, between 8pm and 10pm in what will be her first interview with any radio station in the UK for a long time.

Madonna will be talking about that fall at the Brit Awards, along with her new album and family life, ahead of her tour in late summer.

They might even talk about the supposed ‘ban’ from BBC Radio 1, which wasn’t really a ban, they just didn’t think her new music appealed to teenagers.



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Help getting The Man Behind The Throne released

Madonna fans!! Help support getting the film, ‘The Man Behind the Throne’ distributed and seen! No amount of support is too small. Go to our Indiegogo page and help spread the word and let\’s bring Vincent and a young, bursting with talent Madonna to the world! The film features several, never before seen clips of Madonna in rehearsal for the Blond Ambition Tour. For more information go to our Facebook page-

Thanks to: Tom

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Cover up! Overtly sexy album artwork from singers like Madonna are censored for audiences in the Middle East

Religious beliefs in a number of Middle Eastern countries require women to be covered

Designers ‘re-imagine’ a lot of album art to respect local culture and traditions 


Saudi Arabia and its neighboring Middle Eastern countries are notorious for censoring ‘sexual’ album covers by female artists in order to make the artwork more appropriate for a conservative audience.

Record companies hoping to sell their artists’s albums are ever-more sensitive to the beliefs and cultural traditions of each market they’re selling to, and will often tailor album covers in order to avoid offence.

In some extreme cases there have been reports of the Saudi government paying religious police members of the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) to manually alter from covers.

Many labels now offer two cover options, particularly for their most popular performers, ensuring that the artwork will require no further doctoring and can be sold without causing offence.

There have been some memorable redesigns in recent years with Kylie Minogue wearing a wrap to cover up her white swimsuit, on the cover of her 2001 record Fever, Madonna swapping her revealing dominatrix outfit in favor of a one-piece leather body suit for her 2008 album Hard Candy, and Katy Perry being consumed by clouds on 2010 hit Teenage Dream, all in the name of Middle Eastern decency.

Almost all of Mariah Carey’s albums have been adjusted for audiences in Asia while Christina Aguilera has also been targeted by the censors.

Read more HERE



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Madonna: Who Would She Apologize to If She Could? Outtakes From Her 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Nothing’s better than more, more, more! Leave it to Madonna to exceed Us Weeklys request for 25 Things You Don’t Me. Speaking with Us’ Entertainment Director Ian Drew recently, the pop legend, 56, sounded off on everything from her goal to meet President Obama (and Drake!), her disdain for fur bikinis, escargot, and her home state of Michigan in the much talked-about, published version of 25 Things.”

But that’s not all she had to say. In these outtakes from our exclusive chat with the legendary “Ghosttown” singer, Madonna muses on her family, filming Evita, the pitfalls of fame and who she might owe an apology to, among other topics. Read on!

US WEEKLY: In the spirit of rebel hearts, what was your ultimate “rebel” moment?

MADONNA: The ultimate moment where I most felt like a rebel was in St. Petersburg, Russia [in 2012 during the MDNA Tour] when I was told they were going to arrest anyone who was openly or obviously gay and they came to my shows and I spoke out against the government. Eighty-seven people were arrested and I was fined like $1 million. They dropped the lawsuit, though. When I stood up for Pussy Riot was around the same time, but there have been a lot of those moments. I also think about when I was in Toronto and they said if I simulated masturbation during one of my shows [during the Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990] they would have me arrested and I was like, ‘F–k you! I’m doing it anyway. So arrest me.’ They didn’t in the end. Lots of those. Then there’s the Vatican when they said they would have me…you know, whatever! It goes on and on….

US: Love the track on the album “Unapologetic Bitch” — so, who’s the biggest unapologetic bitch of them all?

M: Kanye West is the biggest unapologetic bitch besides me.

US: Anyone you’d like to apologize to, though?

M: If I could apologize to one person, it would be…no one. I’m an unapologetic bitch!

US: With two marriages and other high-profile relationships behind you, what’s your best relationship advice?

M: My best piece of relationship advice is you can’t take it with you.

US: You have so many classic, hit songs in your catalog — but do any other artists’ songs make you envious?

M: I wish I had written and recorded a song called “Retrograde” by James Blake. I love him.

US: What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?

M: I can’t stand when I walk into a room and everyone’s not talking to each other and just on their phones.

US: Favorite workout?

M: My favorite workout is metabolic interval training on a Bosu Ball.

US: What’s your favorite part about being a mother?

M: The best thing about being a mom of four [Lourdes, 18, Rocco, 14, David and Mercy, both 9] is all of the life lessons they teach me all day long, every day of the week.

US: What are the ultimate perks and downfalls of fame?

M: The thing I love most about being famous is people listening to me when I have something important to say. The thing I like least about being famous is being overly scrutinized for everything I say and do.

US: What’s your favorite book of all time?

M: I’m obsessed with so many books that it’s impossible to name them all but I really love The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. So good.

US: What’s your favorite moviemaking memory?

M: My favorite scene that I ever filmed was singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the balcony of the Casa Rosada in Argentina [where the real Eva Peron once stood] during Evita. That was amazing. SO real and surreal. Bizarre.

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Madonna’s So-Called ‘Flop Tour’ Adds Several Dates Due To High Ticket Damand


It’s almost a given. Every time Madonna goes out on tour, critics claim she is flopping, ticket sales are low, etc. In 2008, several outlets predicted that Madonna’s deal with Live Nation would go bankrupt because she was failing to sell out every single seat six months before the Sticky & Sweet Tour. According to MTV, Madonna ended up ranking $408 million on the tour — the most ever by a solo artist.

In April of 2012, the New York Post published an article repeating that Madonna and Live Nation were doomed due to supposed poor ticket sales and album sales. Last week, the same publication wrote a hit-piece that actually claimed Madonna should call her tour “Like a Has-Been.”

“But tickets are not selling as briskly as for her ‘MDNA’ tour in 2012, leaving thousands of unsold seats in the eight North American cities that began selling tickets on March 9. In 2012, Madonna reportedly sold out Yankee Stadium in 20 minutes, prompting concert promoter Live Nation to add a second date at the 60,000-seat venue.”

While it’s true tickets aren’t moving as fast as her last tour, it appears that the New York Post reported completely inaccurate information. As Billboard reported at the beginning of 2013, Madonna sold around 79,000 tickets for both shows at Yankee Stadium. This shows that, like most stadium shows, Yankee Stadium usually holds a maximum of 40,000 per show.

However, there is another blow to the credibility of the New York Post article. Several second dates at venues across the world have been added. According to Madonna’s website, dates have not only been added all over Europe, but also in North American cities such as Miami, New York City, Toronto, and Edmonton. It’s a well-known fact that concert promoters would not risk adding second dates at certain venues if the first ones weren’t selling very well.

Perhaps people just want to see Madonna fail. Madonna, herself, thinks a lot of it has to do with a combination of ageism and sexism. Madonna has spoken out against those issues in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.

“It’s still the one area where you can totally discriminate against somebody. Because of their age. Only females, though. Not males. So in that respect we still live in a very sexist society.”

In the same interview, Madonna wonders why there is a backlash against people who make racist or homophobic comments, but ageist comments are completely acceptable. Does Madonna have a point? Let us know in the comments section.


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Rebel Heart: a review



March 10, 2015. A new album release from Madonna should feel like a global holiday—a celebration of innovative music, groundbreaking videos, boundary pushing fashion, memorable album artwork, and dance moves that could only belong to the one and only club crawling space cowboy spiritually seeking disco geisha latino loving queen of pop. In contrast, the saga leading up to Rebel Heart‘s drop (in stores and online retailers today) has been well documented. A series of unfortunate leaks of an album’s worth of unfinished material, questionable Instagram posts featuring world leaders Photoshopped into the album’s artwork, and perhaps the biggest blow, her spill during her performance of the first single, “Living for Love,” at the Brit Awards, while wearing a now infamous tied too tight Armani cape. Despite the noise, nothing can distract from the fact that Madonna’s blonde ambition has always persevered through the controversy. And her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, is one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding records of her career.

Three decades in, she’s still sharp-tongued and in search of the party, but Rebel Heart reveals more vulnerability than she’s allowed since Like A Prayer. The temple and church of the devoted will recognize the familiar themes she continues to explore—sexual fantasy (“Body Shop”), lost and found love (“Heartbreak City”), salvation (“Devil Pray”), redemption (“Wash All Over Me”), and perhaps her most cohesive and powerful narrative, the triumphant and transcendent power of the dancefloor (“Living for Love”). Nostalgia has never been Madonna’s thing, but on Rebel Heart, she takes a time out to reference some of her biggest hits and her rise to the top from the Lower East Side rock scene and vogue balls of the early ’90s with “Veni Vidi Vici” and “Holy Water.”

While those songs reference her past, the producers and collaborators that make up the album are on point and very much of the moment—an eclectic assembly of hitmakers and rising talents that include Diplo, Kanye West, Avicii, Ariel Rechtshaid, Blood Diamonds, Sophie, and DJ Dahi. There are also cameos from Nicki Minaj, Nas, Chance the Rapper and spoken word from none other than Mike Tyson.

While the various contributors provide a swinging pendulum of moods explored throughout the Deluxe Edition’s 19 tracks, it’s Madonna’s singular voice and vision that keeps it all together. Club bangerz with the word bitch in the title (“Unapologetic Bitch,” “Bitch I’m Madonna”) give her an opportunity to shake it off, but it’s the ballad, “Ghosttown,” that serves as the album’s highlight. Singing about a cold, mad world that’s gone to hell, her message of love is one that should lift the spirits of even the most cynical and jaded, and deserves a spot in the canon next to “Live To Tell” and “Take a Bow.”

Though she has nothing to prove at this point, Rebel Heart can’t help but demonstrate that she’s remained on top with reinvention and determination, and by taking the “road less traveled on”—a path that continues to inspire and influence the current crop of pop starlets. Sure to please long term fans, who have undoubtedly already purchased their Gold Ring tickets to her upcoming arena tour, it deserves to inspire a new generation of girls and boys ready to get off the bus in the middle of Times Square with hopes to rule the world, like the Rebel Heart before them.

(@ Text Greg Krelenstein for

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Chart Highlights: Madonna’s ‘Ghosttown’ Debuts on Adult Contemporary

The Queen of Pop charts her first song at the format since 2007.


Chart Highlights offers a sneak peek at a select group of Billboard charts every Monday. (All charts below are based on radio airplay except for Dance Club Songs, which is based on reports submitted by a panel of DJs.)

Adult Contemporary

*** No. 1 (2 weeks)*** “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran
Greatest Gainer No. 13 “Style” Taylor Swift

Debut No. 21 “Ghosttown” Madonna
Madonna debuts on Adult Contemporary with “Ghosttown,” the second single from her new album, Rebel Heart. First single “Living for Love” reached No. 36 on Pop Songs, aided by concentrated plays on iHeartMedia-owned stations; spins on certain AC stations in the chain likewise spur the start of “Ghosttown.” (It bubbles under Adult Pop Songs, also thanks to iHeartMedia plays in that format).

The bow of “Ghosttown” ends Madonna’s longest break from charting on AC: she last reached the list with “Jump,” which hit No. 21 in January 2007. She makes her 36th visit to the tally. Since her first week on the chart in June 1984 (with “Borderline”), only Elton John (43), Celine Dion (41) and Rod Stewart (40) have made more appearances.

Full article HERE

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Live to tell… an exclusive interview with Madonna

….’Madonna struts out of a dressing room far across the studio, dressed in a matador outfit, sans pants. Trailed by a hairstylist and a make-up artist, she spends at least 30 seconds eyeing each dancer, probing for tiny imperfections in the fit of their leather costumes and masks. “I don’t want oil on their bodies,” she notes. “I had the same problem on the video. You can use body moisturiser.”

Twenty-eight choral singers, most of them less finely sculpted specimens, assemble by the nearby bleachers. Madonna gives them even more individual attention. On their red robes is a logo from her new album, Rebel Heart – a detail even HD cameras will never pick up. She asks the ones who wear glasses if they can take them off; suggests hairstyles and, occasionally, cuts – “The nice thing about hair is that it grows back.” She critiques beards and sideburns; and in one woman’s case, reaches out and begins braiding curls herself.

All of this work is for five minutes’ worth of TV time, the debut performance of her new single, the deep-house-inflected Living for Love. In keeping with the lyric, “Love’s gonna lift me up”, it ends with a prone Madonna soaring 15 feet into the air via a harness. It’s a lovely image, though as she hovers tonight she breaks the spell by asking: “Are my boobs coming out of my costume?”

In between takes, two small children come up to the stage. They’re both nine years old – the boy, David, is in crisp white linen; the girl, Mercy, is wearing a blue sweater and skirt, a sparkly bow in her hair. “Hi, Mom,” they say, in unison, and Madonna smiles, offering a hand for her youngest kids to kiss.’

Read full interview by Independent HERE

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Win a copy of ‘Madonna’ by Michelle Morgan!

After our interview with Michelle Morgan regarding the release of this book (April 2 in the UK and May 26 in the USA) and our review of it, we hereby give you the opportunity to win a copy in collaboration with the publisher!

Madonna by Michelle Morgan is a true must-have in every collection, written by a fan for a fan, reads like a diary and enjoy 220 pictures!

The only thing you need to do is to repost this picture with the following lines ‘yes I’d like Madonna by Michelle Morgan please’ do not forget to include #madonnaunderground and @madonnaunderground (Facebook & Instagram) or @madonnaundergr (Twitter)

You have until Friday April 3!


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