Madame X is starting to arrive on doorsteps!
Here an example of the ‘special Fnac edition’ Rainbow vinyl picture disc set and special edition CD.
38 number ones. 300 million records sold. The highest grossing female live performer ever. Ahead of Madonna‘s new album release ‘Madame X’, Andrew Denton caught up with her in London for her only Australian TV exclusive interview.
Catch it in full, 9pm Tuesday on Channel 7. Pre-order the album now: https://uma.lnk.to/MadonnaMadameXMO
hen Madonna called out ageist reactions to her 14th album this month, I felt a nasty lurch of guilt in my stomach. ReviewingMDMA in 2012, I was mean about her decision to invest so much “desperate” energy into maintaining the impression of eternal youth, leaving her looking and sounding “exhausted and unhappy and making me feel the same”.
I was 36 then and Madonna was 54. I’d just given birth to my second child and wanted to weep at the number of playgroup conversations in which the women around me discussed the diets, workouts and cosmetic surgery required to restore their figures to perky, pre-pregnancy form. The female celebrities they saw in magazines seemed time-proof and they dutifully added this responsibility to their To Do lists.
It seemed to me that if anybody had the power to flip a big, stadium-sized, multi-platinum V sign at this rubbish it was the hero of my early teens – Madonna. She had reinvented herself so many times, inspiring girls like me with possibilities of freedom and flexibility of identity.
In 1994, Madonna journeyed to Ronda, Spain to film the torero-inspired music video for “Take a Bow.” During the shoot, she half-cheekily informed MTV’s Kurt Loder that she was “Spanish in another life.” It’s the kind of claim that might raise some eyebrows today, but 25 years later, the influence of Latin culture on Madonna’s music is undeniable (and something we’ve written about before). If Madonna caught any flack for “Take a Bow” – which would go on to become her longest-running No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – it was for the video’s supposed glamorization of bullfighting, not cultural appropriation.
Ronda is situated in the mountains of Spain, a few hundred kilometers south of Lisbon, Portugal, where Madonna has lived for the last two years. She credits her time there – prompted by her son’s desire to train as a professional soccer player – for inspiring the multicultural sound of her new album, Madame X, due this Friday (June 14). Lisbon is one of Europe’s major economic and cultural capitals, with a rich, complicated history, and though she may have moved there to be a soccer mom, the Queen of Pop left with a renewed appreciation of music as a universal language.
Some were quick to accuse Madonna of attempting to cash in on the increasing popularity of Latin pop with the album’s first single, “Medellín,” featuring Colombian reggaeton star Maluma. But she’s been incorporating Latin culture into her music as far back as 1986’s “La Isla Bonita.” That song was co-written by her longtime collaborator Patrick Leonard, who originally pitched an instrumental demo to Michael Jackson. When Jackson rejected it, Madonna shrewdly snatched it up, and the song became one of her most enduring hits, peaking at No. 4 on the Hot 100.
Throughout the song, she plays a humble observer, captured by the rhythm of an imagined island, her effortless vocals emphasized on the downbeat: “Tropical the island breeze/All of nature wild and free/This is where I long to be.”
Last year, I chatted with Leonard about his decades-long professional relationship with Madonna. I was curious about how certain songs – specifically “La Isla Bonita” and the similarly Latin-inspired “Who’s That Girl” and “Spanish Eyes” – came to be. “What I always believed was good about our collaborations is that the spirit of the composition was always very closely reflected in the sentiment of the lyric,” Leonard replied.
During the recording sessions for Madonna’s landmark album Like a Prayer, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in March, Leonard composed a piano melody, which he told me was titled simply “Tango.” When the singer arrived at the studio the next morning, she immediately sat down to write the lyrics – a searing account of gang violence. The track, “Spanish Eyes,” is one of the album’s standouts, due in large part to Madonna’s gritty, impassioned performance.
That might explain why Madonna Louise Ciccone, an Italian girl from Michigan, has been so fervently embraced by Latin audiences over the years, who perhaps see her as a kindred spirit in the fight against Catholicism’s entrenched patriarchy.
As a rebellious but studious teenager growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Madonna learned about Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and political figures like Eva Perón, whom she would famously go on to portray in the 1996 film Evita. Peronists initially protested Madonna being cast as the First Lady of Argentina, but their objections had less to do with her cultural background than her sexually provocative image.
Throughout the 1990s, Madonna sneaked references to Latin music into the unlikeliest of places, like the tongue-in-cheek salsa song “I’m Going Bananas” on her album inspired by the film Dick Tracy, and the flamenco guitar on her top 10 house track “Deeper and Deeper.” Even when her focus shifted to the musical trends emanating from the U.K. and France – namely trip-hop and electronica – Madonna still found ways to incorporate Latin influences into her work. The video for her 1995 club hit “Bedtime Story” was inspired by the works of Mexican surrealist Leonora Carrington and Spanish painter Remedios Varo Uranga.
Madonna’s postmodern approach to pop borrows from myriad cultures. In Lisbon, a melting pot of cultural styles and influences, she reportedly discovered fado and morna music. French producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who previously worked with Madonna on her albums Music and American Life, has called Madame X a “global futuristic album.” She sings in Spanish on “Medéllin” and “Bitch I’m Loca,” and in Portuguese on “Faz Gostoso,” “Crazy” and “Killers Who Are Partying.”
There will inevitably be critics who will once again accuse her of mining exoticism for commercial gain. That is, of course, a sign of the times. In 1987, when both “La Isla Bonita” and “Who’s That Girl” reached the upper echelon of the Billboard charts, the top single of the year was the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” – a song that would undoubtedly prompt a thousand think pieces if it were released today.
Whether Madonna can count cha-cha instructor or samba singer among her past lives, her enduring passion for Latin music and art is exceeded only by her commitment to evolving as an artist. It would be easy for her to set up shop on the Vegas Strip on the strength of her immense catalog of hits, or spend her remaining years churning out disco albums à la 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. Instead, she restlessly charges forward, in this case consummating her love affair with a culture that has been one of the most consistent musical influences of her 36-year career.
More at Billboard
Exclusive interview in VISÃO magazine: “I won’t leave Lisbon”…
Official VISÃO website HERE
Madonna’s 2005 EDM opus Confessions on a Dance Floor is considered by many to be the 21st-century standard for both every new album the singer releases and contemporary dance-pop at large. Though glorious in its own right, it seemed, at the time, like the work of an artist in damage control. The damage was 2003’s American Life, a personal, politically strident, and humorless album that became Madonna’s first commercial failure in 20 years. It also happens to mark the last time the queen of pop appeared to make music purely on her own terms, without any consideration of the charts or what the public expected of her—a novel idea for an artist in the business of making, well, popular music.
Of course, Madonna has never been your average pop star. Though her music has deep roots in R&B and disco, she is, at heart, a rock auteur, with all of the inclinations toward upending the status quo and expressing a singular vision that designation implies. Her last album, 2015’s Rebel Heart, was designed by committee, while its predecessor, MDNA, was recorded during a period when she seemed more interested in directing movies and extending her brand than making music. So it makes sense that when she decided to forgo songwriting camps and aspirations of a late-career radio hit for her 14th album, Madame X, Madonna turned to French producer Mirwais, her primary collaborator on American Life.
In other words, Madame X sounds like the work of an artist reawakened, and one who’s got something to say. It’s a development reportedly inspired by her time in Lisbon, where she was surrounded by musicians and art in a way she hadn’t been since her pre-fame days in the East Village. The influence of Lisbon’s multicultural history can be heard on tracks like the fado-meets-Motown “Crazy”—co-produced by Mike Dean, the album’s other principal knob-twirler—and the polyrhythmic “Batuka,” featuring Afro-Portuguese group Orquestra de Batukadeiras.
Madame X plays like a musical memoir, sometimes literally: “I came from the Midwest/Then I went to the Far East/I tried to discover my own identity,” Madonna sings on the Eastern-inflected “Extreme Occident,” referencing her rise to fame and spiritual awakening, famously documented on her 1998 album Ray of Light. A multi-part suite that shifts abruptly from electro-pop dirge to classical ballet and back again, “Dark Ballet” is a Kafkaesque treatise on faith and her lifelong crusade against the patriarchal forces of religion, gender, and celebrity—an existential battle echoed in the Jean-Paul Sartre-quoting closing track “I Rise.”
The album’s autobiography is also conveyed sonically: It’s a thrill to hear Madonna singing over a ‘90s house beat on the smoldering “I Don’t Search I Find.” But despite its ballroom strings, finger-snaps, and throaty spoken-word bridge, comparing it to “Vogue” or “Erotica” would be too easy. This isn’t a song so much as a mood. It’s downstairs music, the distant bassline rumbling beneath your feet as you slip into a bathroom stall for a quick bump or fuck.
Madonna has a reputation for being a trendsetter, but her true talent lies in bending those trends to her will, twisting them around until they’re barely recognizable, and creating something entirely new. The album’s pièce de résistance, at least in that regard, is the six-minute “God Control,” which begins with Madonna conjuring the spirit and disaffected monotone of Kurt Cobain—“I think I understand why people get a gun/I think I understand why we all give up,” she sings through clenched teeth—before the whole thing implodes into a euphoric, densely layered samba-disco-gospel mash-up. Throughout the song, Madonna’s vocals alternate between Auto-Tuned belting, urgent whispers, and Tom Tom Club-style rapping as she takes on the gaslight industrial complex and so-called political reformers. On paper, it might sound like the ingredients for a musical Hindenburg, but—somewhere around the midpoint, when she declares, “It’s a con, it’s a hustle, it’s a weird kind of energy!”—it all coheres into the most exhilaratingly batshit thing she’s done in years.
When Madonna isn’t singing with what sounds like a mouthful of gumballs on “Crave,” the rawness of her voice amplifies the nakedness of her lyrics: “Ran so far to try to find the thing I lacked/And there it was inside of me.” Likewise, you can hear the grit and grief in her voice when, on “Crazy,” she sings, “I bent my knees for you like a prayer/My God, look at me now.” The track “Killers Who Are Partying” has been flagged by some critics for its lyrics—ostensibly inspired by scripture, the post-World War II poem “First they came…,” or maybe both—but the naïveté of Madonna’s words would be more cringe-inducing if her delivery wasn’t quite so bewitching. Mirwais’s arrangement, too, casts a spell: Old world meets new world as mournful fado guitar and accordion swirl beneath the track’s stuttering beats and warped synths.
Madame X is fearless, the sound of an artist unapologetically indulging all of her whims and quirks. The garish favela funk of “Faz Gostoso” and the playful reggaeton of “Bitch I’m Loca”—featuring Anitta and Maluma, respectively—feel out of place amid the album’s otherwise refined sonic palette. But even when Madonna falters, at least you know you’re getting the real deal and not some version of a pop icon cooked up in a songwriting lab.
Label: Interscope Release Date: June 14, 2019 Buy: Amazon
More at Slant Magazine
Madonna is back with her first new music in four years, the product of her lived experiences in her new home city, Lisbon, which she has described as “a melting pot of culture musically, from Angola to Guinea-Bissau to Spain to Brazil to France to Cape Verde”. In the Portuguese capital, she says, “I found my tribe, and a magical world of incredible musicians that reinforced my belief that music across the world is truly all connected and is the soul of the universe.”
Her resulting 14th album implores us to take a ride with her new persona and her many and varied guises – “a secret agent… A dancer. A professor. A head of state. A housekeeper. An equestrian. A prisoner. A student. A mother. A child. A teacher. A nun. A singer. A saint. A whore. A spy in the house of love. I am Madame X” – and the results are at once stupefying and tremendous. This record is a true cathartic journey from the expert of such travels, with brilliant past collaborator Mirwais doing much of the driving. Most of this sprawling album, sung variously in English, Portuguese and Spanish and with an astonishing array of musical flourishes, is truly experimental, and captivating with it.
The rhythmic, wistful and ethereal Medellín, a duet with Colombian superstar man of the hour Maluma, opens proceedings yet is hardly indicative of what’s to follow. Dark Ballet, basically Frozen meets John Carpenter, is next up, and evokes particularly the horror master’s sinister and marvellous soundtrack from Halloween III: Season Of The Witch with some unexpected and rather fantastic piano work and powerful lyrics, coupled with a video starring Mykki Blanco.
God Control is her call to arms – literally. Starting off as a mid-tempo diatribe exploring the state of gun control in America with a magnificent choral backdrop, the track then inexplicably weaves into a thumping disco night in Studio 54 with gunshots ringing out, all with a deft string-laden nod to Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. If Madonna wants us to wake up, we certainly have. This song shouldn’t work, and yet it absolutely does. It’s sublimely ridiculous.
Tracks precursing the album’s release include the retro and slick R&B lick Crave, with Swae Lee, and the dark and trippy Future featuring Quavo, which has Diplo‘s fingerprints all over it. Elsewhere, Killers Who Are Partying is likely to be one of the more controversial moments. Madonna has always been a champion of minorities and name-checks a good many of them here, from Africa to Islam via Israel to a woman who was raped, with some hard-hitting lyrics in support. The starkly defiant and beautiful Extreme Occident explores a push and pull between herself and her critics. Even now, while often praised for her ability to reinvent, this is now something she is derided for. The hypocrisy of her detractors in this regard is astounding.
Yet there’s space amongst it all too for some more straightforward moments. Batuka and Faz Gostoso, for example, could almost have been lifted from a Nelly Furtado album. And there are some shades of vintage Madonna and they shine brightly on what is largely an experimental album. Come Alive is spectacular, uplifting pop with soaring and wondrous harmonies and a sweeping blueprint that draws you in. I Don’t Search I Find is straight out of the ’90s, a kind of canny hybrid between her own smash Vogue and Alison Limerick‘s Where Love Lives. Crazy has a gorgeous retro feel and would not be out of place on Ariana Grande‘s latest album with some canny lyrical self-references, while Mercy is Madonna at her most cinematic, but also her most vulnerable and isolated.
The album’s closer is the powerful and introspective I Rise. An emotional intro from advocate for gun control Emma González, survivor from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, opens the door to an anthem calling the marginalised to rise above the constraints of the dictatorial society we increasingly appear to be living in. It’s an uplifting end to one hell of a journey: bold, bizarre, brazen and beguiling, Madame X is Madonna living her Latin American Life. Brilliant.
More at MusicOMH
Madonna’s new album is full of dance tracks. But if any one of them came on in a club, there would be at least 30 seconds during which everyone would stop dancing and stand around in bewilderment.
On “Dark Ballet”, it would happen as the threatening spoken word breakdown kicked in, set to a nightmarish fairground waltz. On “God Control”, it would be prompted by the manically ascending violins – or perhaps the jarring gunshots. And on “I Rise”, it would be the sampled speech from survivors of the Parkland school shooting. With her 14th album, the Queen of Pop isn’t interested in serving up palatable bangers.
Madame X – which comes 36 years after Madonna’s self-titled debut set her on course to becoming the highest-grossing female touring musician in history – is the 60-year-old’s most exciting, hostile, and, well, bonkers, in ages. Her previous album, 2015’s Rebel Heart, was disappointing, more notable for its problematic promotional campaign (she released a series of photos of civil rights activists bound up in black rope to resemble the album artwork, and then compared the album leaking to rape) than for its content. Madame X, by contrast, is endlessly fascinating. It is an intriguing, often brilliant, though occasionally awful record.
The album is lyrically unbound, too. “People tell me to shut my mouth, that I might get burnt”, she sings on “Dark Ballet” – surely a nod to the shock and horror she has elicited while blazing a trail through pop for the past four decades – “Keep your beautiful lies / Cus I’m not concerned.”
Mostly, though, the record is less a personal riposte than a political one. On “God Control”, clearly an attack on America’s feeble gun control laws, she sings, sounding as though her jaw is firmly clenched: “When they talk reforms it makes me laugh, they pretend to help, it makes me laugh”. On “Batuka”, a rabble-rousing chant buoyed by the Batukadeiras (a Portugal-based choir of Cape Verdean heritage), she decrees, “Get that old man, put him in a jail, where he can’t stop us, where he can’t hurt us”. It’s not hard to imagine who that old man might be.
Madonna has always positioned herself as a voice for the voiceless. Sometimes she goes too far in that quest and ends up co-opting identities. She does so quite literally on the risibly misjudged “Killers Who Are Partying”, on which she declares, that faux-English accent bubbling dangerously to the surface, “I will be gay if the gay are burnt / I’ll be Africa if Africa is shot down… I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated… I’ll be native Indian if the Indian has been taken.” It’s well-intentioned, but being an ally doesn’t quite work like that.
A recent New York Times profile (which Madonna hated so much she announced, once again, that it had made her feel raped) admired the singer for eschewing the expectations of how older women should behave. “She might have been doing all this for the younger generations,” it noted, “so that when Miley Cyrus was 60, no one would bat an eyelash if she twerked on stage.” It seems just as likely, though, judging by Madame X, that Madonna is doing it for nobody but herself. As she announces on dancehall bop “Future”, “Don’t tell me to stop ‘cus you said so.”
More at The Independent
The 13-track CD (15 on the deluxe version) was inspired by a recent spell living in Lisbon, where she clearly imbibed the Portuguese diaspora’s music. Madame X is stuffed with influences, with African drumbeats and Latin grooves to New York club sounds and big ballads, taking in a bit of Cape Verde batuque and Puerto Rican reggaeton too.
It’s a mixed bag: there are some bangers including “Come Alive”, which is made for live performance and will fill the room when she plays the London Palladium in January. But it also has some disappointingly bland numbers.
The opener, Medellín is a joyously sexy work that combines Latin swing with lusty Catholicism, performed with Colombian star Maluma (who also sings on the unmemorable “Bitch I’m Loca”, co-produced with Billboard, one of several collaborators on the album).
Madonna takes a swerve into the political with the next few songs. Some lyrics are ridiculously portentous, as on “Killers Who Are Partying”: “I will be Africa, if Africa is shut down/ I will be poor, if the poor are humiliated”. Yeah, well, easy to say when you’re super-rich.
Not for the first time, Madonna strays dangerously near French and Saunders parody – but is she mocking herself, or us? Who knows? Who cares, when she can write the beautiful and heartfelt ballad “Looking For Mercy” – “Can you tell the truth when you live lies?”
It’s one of seven songs co-produced with Mirwais, who oversees the “statement” songs on Madame X, and is occasionally heavy-handed with the Auto-Tune.
Madame X is full of self-reflection, and its themes – of loving others and loving oneself – are reiterated throughout. The message comes through that Madonna is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn’t care what others think of her (did she ever?).
She gives the middle finger to her critics; “I don’t want your opinion/ Who you talking to?” she says on the excellent “Come Alive” and “There’s nothing you can do to me that hasn’t been done” on the final track, the anthemic “I Rise” – a statement of intent if ever I heard one.
Thematically the album is all over the place, but this is Madonna’s strongest material for years.
More at iNews
In Vogue gaf La Ciccone onlangs te kennen dat mensen haar doorheen de jaren vaak monddood probeerden te maken. “Omdat ik niet mooi genoeg zou zijn, niet getalenteerd genoeg, niet goed genoeg kon zingen. En vandaag omdat ik niet jong genoeg zou zijn.”
Er schuilt waarheid achter die paranoia. Op haar zestigste dwingt Madonna inderdaad niet het respect af dat elder statesmen in de muziekwereld vaak wél vanzelf krijgen. Dat ze het voorbije decennium middelmatige tot ondermaatse albums aan haar oeuvre toevoegde en als een kip zonder kop trends achterna huppelde, zorgde evenwel net zo goed dat de troon ging wiebelen onder de Queen of Pop.
Maar zowaar: op Madame X maakt Madonna een intrigerende bocht. De drang om monsterhits te scoren lijkt ze opgeborgen te hebben. Liever zet ze verschillende muzikale genres op een vrij indrukwekkende manier naar haar hand. De verhuis naar Portugal speelde duidelijk parten: Madonna dolt met de oorspronkelijk Angolese muziekstijl kuduro, fado, Latin pop, de Portugese taal en zelfs een cover van ‘Faz Gostoso’ – oorspronkelijk van de Braziliaanse popster Blaya. In een halsbrekend tempo passeren New Yorkse disco, house, baile funk, reggaeton en gore Eurotrash de revue.
Nog liever refereert Madonna aan zichzélf. In de soul ballad ‘Crazy’ zingt ze: “I bend my knees for you like a prayer.” De house van ‘I Don’t Search I Find’ delft dan in haar ‘Deeper and Deeper’-periode. En het kwetsbare ‘Looking for Mercy’ ademt dezelfde tijdloosheid uit als Madonna’s beste ballads.
Maar het is niet al goud wat blinkt. Een paar keer wend je je oren in walging af. ‘Killers Who Are Partying’ klinkt als het manifest van een narcistische multimiljonair die zich een waant met onderdrukking, slachtofferschap en armoede. “I’ll be Africa if Africa is shut down”, treurt Madonna melodramatisch. “I will be poor if the poor are humiliated. I’ll be a child if the children are exploited.”
Wacht! Het braakteiltje komt nu écht van pas: “I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated. I’ll be Israel if they’re incarcerated. I’ll be Native Indian if the Indian has been taken. I’ll be a woman if she’s raped and her heart is breaking.”
Hoe fraai haar intenties ook, met dit soort kul beland je meteen in het vaarwater van David Brent uit The Office. We horen Ricky Gervais’ kakelende lach al galmen, wanneer hij dit verloren pareltje van Foregone Conclusion zou horen. Zo potsierlijk wordt het gelukkig zelden. Al komt ‘God Control’ aan als een op disco en karamellenverzen gezette alarmklok (“Wake up!” maal elfendertig), wat we nu eens te gek vinden klinken, maar bij een volgende beluistering alweer strontvervelend. Net als het suffe namedroppen van Bowie, Prince of James Brown in het vullertje ‘Funana’.
Madonna maakt barokke en bizarre bokkensprongen, maar ze doet tenminste eindelijk weer waar je haar tot het eind van de jaren 90 zo voor bewonderde: een weg uitstippelen in plaats van ze slaafs te volgen. Dat haar stem vaak plastic en bijna robotachtig klinkt, mogelijk door de productie van Mirwais, wil je door de vingers zien. Haar Eurosong-debacle ligt ons natuurlijk nog te vers in het geheugen.
Haar nieuwste persona ‘Madame X’ ontleende Madonna aan de historische figuur Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, die de nuffige Franse samenleving schandaliseerde met een ontblote schouder. Madonna haalde wel straffere stoten uit. Maar Madame X past haar wel: choqueren doet ze nog, al is het nu vooral met een verrassende, averechtse plaat.
More at De Morgen
So this happened: I just interviewed @Madonna (but she wants you to call her Madame X) and it’s the first music interview she’s done for @npr . Listen up this Sunday @NPRWeekend (squeals in delight) https://t.co/SU1iHzD7D6
— Lulu Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro) 11 juni 2019
Madonna, Madame X
(verschijnt vrijdag 14 juni)
Het idee voor Madame X werd al geboren toen Madonna als 19-jarige in New York arriveerde, waar ze dansles nam aan de befaamde Martha Graham School. Het instituut, genoemd naar de invloedrijke danseres en choreografe, eiste van studenten dat ze de lessen volgden in voorgeschreven kleding. De rebelse Madonna hield zich niet aan de dresscode. Na enige discussie vond directrice Graham dat goed, mits Madonna zich onzichtbaar zou maken door elke dag een andere identiteit aan te nemen: „Van nu af noem ik je Madame X.”
Madonna (60) houdt vol dat die gebeurtenis een wending aan haar leven gaf die er voor zorgde dat ze constant vragen bleef stellen over haar persoonlijke, seksuele en culturele identiteit. In Lissabon, waar ze sinds 2017 woont omdat haar zoon David daar de voetbalopleiding van Benfica volgt, vond ze nieuwe muzikale inspiratie. Haar liefde voor Portugese fado en morna, de volksmuziek van Kaapverdië, bracht haar in contact met oude en jonge muzikanten. In de culturele smeltkroes van Lissabon kwam muziek uit Angola en Brazilië op haar pad.
Madonna kaatste ideeën heen en weer met producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, die eerder met haar werkte op de albums Music (2000) en Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Daaruit ontstonden de contouren van Madame X, een album dat persoonlijke thema’s in een veelkleurig, internationaal kader plaatst.
Het meeste etnisch klinkt het nummer ‘Batuka’ waarin het vrouwenorkest Orquestra Batukadeiras de Kaapverdische roots inbrengt. Percussie en vraag- en antwoordzang zetten de toon in een nummer over onderdrukking en verlangen naar vrijheid, ingegeven door de Portugese slavenhandel. In ‘Faz Gostoso’ figureert de Braziliaanse zangeres Anitta.
Een andere voorname bron van inspiratie is reggaeton in de nummers ‘Medellín’ en ‘Bitch I’m Loca’, met prominente inbreng van de Colombiaanse superster Maluma. Sinds het ontstaan van reggaeton in de jaren negentig maakt het op reggae, dancehall en hiphop geënte genre een fikse opmars en zet Maluma zijn geboortestad Medellín op de kaart als een plek waar niet alleen de drugshandel floreert. „We built a cartel just for love”, knipoogt Madonna naar de associatie met het drugskartel. ‘Bitch I’m Loca’ speelt schalks in op Maluma’s machoreputatie met de slotwoorden „You can put it inside.”
De sfeer op Madame X is voor Madonna-begrippen overwegend ingetogen, met gedoseerd gebruik van autotune en gastrollen voor rappers Quavo en Swae Lee in de reggae-popsong ‘Future’ en het smachtende ‘Crave’ „My cravings get dangerous”). Madonna identificeert zich met Jeanne d’Arc in het slepende ‘Dark Ballet’ waarin een computerstem de onderdrukkers van vrijdenkers tot de orde roept: „God is on my side.”
Een nonnenkoor en een discobeat in ‘God Control’ brengen samen waar het in Madonna’s muziek vaker om draait: de bevrijding van religieuze beperkingen en het recht om je seksualiteit en overtuigingen te beleven zoals je dat zelf wilt. „I bend my knees for you like a prayer”, refereert ze aan eigen werk in ‘Crazy’.
Op de trap beat van ‘Killers Who Are Partying’ behandelt ze andere hete hangijzers, na een fragment uit de speech van activiste Emma González, overlevende van de schietpartij op Douglas High School. „I will be gay if the gay are burned”, zingt ze, „I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated.”
Madonna als activiste, het is niet helemaal nieuw na de Israëlische en Palestijnse vlag die ze bij de uitzending van het Songfestival naar binnen wist te smokkelen. Belangrijker is dat Madame X haar weer fier in een positie plaatst van een artiest die zowel muzikaal als tekstueel iets in de melk te brokkelen heeft.
More at NRC
Are you ready for Madame X at Concerto in Amsterdam tomorrow? There will be a not-to-be-missed goodie bag!
You are welcome to join the party from 18.30 and purchase your desired item(s). Madame X will be blasting through the speakers from 19.00, so put your dancing shoes on.
Here’s a sneak peak at the fantastic Madame X box set (pictures by Concerto)