Madonna the activist is back on her daring album ‘Madame X’ Dutch review NRC ****

Madame X De nieuwe Madonna is gedurfd en ruimdenkend. Madame X plaatst persoonlijke thema’s in een veelkleurig, internationaal kader.
 

Madonna, Madame X

(verschijnt vrijdag 14 juni)

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  • Jan Vollaard

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.

Ingetogen

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

Thanks Babette!

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Madonna to Celebrate ‘Madame X’ During Intimate NYC Event: How to Watch

Madonna to Celebrate ‘Madame X’ During Intimate NYC Event: How to Watch

By Taylor Fields

June 11, 2019

 
iHeartRadio ICONS with Madonna

Madonna is the reigning Queen of Pop and a long-standing pop culture icon. Over the last four decades, she’s continued to push the envelope, mastering the art of reinvention and has released some of the most influential music that many artists today draw inspiration from. On June 14th, Madonna is sharing her fourteenth full-length studio album, Madame X, and is celebrating the new release and her incredible career with an exclusive and intimate show for fans in New York City: iHeartRadio ICONS with Madonna: In Celebration of Madame X.

Madame X follows Madonna’s 2015 LP Rebel Heart, and showcases 13 new songs including lead single “Medellín” (featuring Maluma), “I Rise” and “Crave” (featuring Swae Lee), in addition to other features from artists like Quavo and Anitta. On each song, the Queen of Pop was creatively influenced by living in Lisbon, Portugal, as fans will pick up on in the visuals and sound. And Madonna is set support her new album with her intimate “Madame X” Theater Tour, which kicks off September 12th in Brooklyn and wraps up in Los Angeles on November 17th.

During iHeartRadio ICONS with Madonna: In Celebration of Madame X, Madonna will play songs from her new album, as well as open up about the making of the record and so much more during a Q&A hosted by iHeartRadio’s Paul “Cubby” Bryant and Christine Nagy. Fans from across the country will be able to tune in to the event to watch it all happen live.

How To Stream The Show

Fans can listen and tune in free for a video stream of the exclusive iHeartRadio ICONS with Madonna via LiveXLive on Thursday, June 20th at 6:30pm local time. You will NOT want to miss it!

Get pumped for the show and listen to some of Madonna’s new music from Madame X below.

Madonna 'Madame X' Album Cover Art
 
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Clashmusic reviews Madame X ‘the most bizarre album of 2019’

Bizarre or bold, delusional or avant-garde, this album is guaranteed to make you feel something – good or bad, or even both…

 

Expecting the unexpected is the wrong way to go into ‘Madame X’, after all, this is MadonnaIf anything, expecting the expected (and then some) would be a more appropriate way to digest what really could be the most bizarre album of 2019.

Madonna’s edge has always been the shock factor. When it comes to lyrics and music videos, she practically invented it. But ‘Madame X’ feels different, not because it isn’t set out to shock (it undoubtedly is) but with lyrics like, “We need to wake up” thrown at around every corner of the album it’s to not at least entertain the idea of self-parody. For instance, opener ‘Medellín’ with Columbia’s Maluma – exploding with carnival charisma – is a hip-swayer (there’s no doubt you’ll catch yourself singing along to “Slow down papi” after a few listens) but a bizarre start when the next five songs go on to highlight worldly troubles such as fake icons and poverty, and the album’s overall sense of doom and gloom.

This near-humorous approach to addressing humanity’s pitfalls is only heightened halfway through ‘Dark Ballet’, when a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’ suddenly rears its sweet and sticky head. We are then told that, “The storm isn’t outside, it’s inside of us”…which is so laughable that it’s got to be applauded.

A good portion of the album’s tracks are co-produced by French producer Mirwais, who is no stranger to working alongside Madonna. Another prominent producer amongst the rankings is frequent Kanye collaborator Mike Dean, and after first listen a clear pattern emerges as to who got which task. Dean’s first track, ‘Crave’ with Swae Lee, is the perfect chart topper – a steady back-beat paired with identifiable lyrics about love and desire, with Lee’s verse acting as the cherry on top. Dean goes on to appear on the credits of others, like ‘Crazy’ and ‘Come Alive’ – perhaps the album’s stronger songs, if “stronger” means the perfect pre-drinks backing tracks.

Mirwais however, seems to have been handed the trickier task of making the impact tracks, such as ‘Extreme Occident’ (and ‘I Don’t Search I Find’. Here enters the extreme over-production with an added gallon of autotune. Over the years Madonna has never shied away from the voice-enhancer, but its heavy presence on the album points to either full frontal delusion or avant-garde postmodernism.

It is truly hard to conclude. But ‘Madame X’ isn’t just an album (if it is that at all) – it’s an opera, or a comedy of errors. It’ll make you feel confusion, frustration, happiness and maybe joy, but it will definitely make you feel. 

6/10

Words: Laura Copley

More at Clash Music

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Xperience Madame X @ Concerto this Thursday – pics!

So are you ready to get down and boogie? Xperience the brand new album at Concerto this Thursday and travel with Madame X from Medellin to a Dark Ballet to a street party in Brazil and find out why she wasn’t lost. 

The incredible new album has received nothing but praise from critics, as bizar and bold Madame X may be it is also a true work of art!

  • Concerto Amsterdam
  • 18.30 welcome
  • 19.00 Madame X
  • Thursday June 13

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Madame X Dutch release party @ Concerto this Thursday!

Can you spot it?

Just a few more days until we celebrate the release of Madonna’s brand new album Madame X at Concerto in Amsterdam.

You will able to hear Madame X blasting from the speakers, buy the item of your choice and receive a free and exclusive goodie-bag!

Concerto will be closed after 19.00 so make sure to arrive on time!

  • Concerto Amsterdam
  • June 13
  • 18.30 (cafe open)
  • 19.00 Madame X

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Madame X Deluxe edition includes DVD?

Orders made through the official Madonna store are starting to ship and from that we learned the following description of the 2CD Deluxe edition:

  • Madame X Deluxe 2 CD
  • CDDVD2
  • Dispatch Date: June 10

So does this mean we are getting a visual album after all? Not long until we find out now

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Madonna: Madame X review – Big, ballsy and more than a bit bizarre ***

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Album: Madame X

Artist: Madonna

Label: Interscope

Genre: Pop

Very few living artists compare to Madonna for cultural impact and musical legacy. Over almost four decades in the public eye she has caused controversy for merely existing. On Madame X, her 14th studio album, she uses various personas and borrows heavily from Latin hip hop, dancehall and reggaeton to steer the power of controversy into something positive.

The album begins with Medellín, on which she is joined by the Colombian rapper Maluma. It’s a quirky, low-tempo island song – and very much a Marmite one – designed to get you moving, its “One, two, cha-cha-cha” refrain telling you exactly what to do.

The playfulness of Medellín is quickly overshadowed by Dark Ballet and God Control, songs that take an experimental stand against authoritarianism and gun control through distorted Black Mirror-style pop. Now that’s a mouthful.

 
 

While she sounds like a circus ringmaster on the fritz on Dark Ballet, which samples The Nutcracker, God Control rattles together a gospel choir, gunshots, vocodered vocals and disco beats to basically shake our shoulders and tell us to wake up, sheeple.

Recorded between her homes in New York, Lisbon, London and Los Angeles, Madame X sees Madonna go global in her musical quest for peace and equality, singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

While the gypsy taunts of Killers Who Are Partying miss the mark (“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,” she drawls), the gimmick-free, uplifting ballad I Rise is more earnest.

Opening with a snippet of We Call BS, the viral speech made by the young gun-control activist Emma González, who survived the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last year, she sings: “Freedom’s what you choose to do with what’s been done to you.” Madonna knows the power she wields, and as a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV, she plays that card very well.

Madonna takes on numerous characters, and many, many accents, to create a wild and varied universe that’s reflective of the general doom the world is swilling around in

The most interesting moments come when we hear how she navigates the personal. Removing the brand and the bravado, she breaks it down on Looking for Mercy. She shows strength in her weary cry for empathy, removing the many layers of armour she has had to wear as Madonna the icon.

But don’t confuse this need for love as a weakness. On the zorbing 1990s disco song I Don’t Search I Find, complete with Vogue-style sass, she reminds us that she always gets what she wants. “Finally, enough love is coming…”

Madonna’s choice of collaborators is the album’s strongest suit by far. The Brazilian pop star Anitta joins her on Faz Gostoso, a Latin-tinged seduction track that comes fitted with a carnivale breakdown – alarms, sirens and drums all piling up – and the American rapper Quavo joins her on Future, a sun-kissed call for progress.

Ever altering her identity, either physically, spiritually or emotionally, Madonna takes on numerous characters (and many, many accents) to create a wild and varied universe that’s reflective of the general doom the world is swilling around in. “Madame X is a secret agent. Travelling around the world. Changing identities,” she says in the album’s teaser video. “A nun. A singer. A saint. A whore. A spy in the house of love.”

Her voice is heavily disguised throughout, pushing the sometimes manic concept of this album even further. Standing up against technological, social and political distortion, it’s a big and ballsy production that’s so bizarre in places, you can’t help but be impressed.

More at IrishTimes

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Available tickets to Madame X Tour @ BAM

A small number of house seats to the sold-out launch of the Madame X Tour at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) are available via a contribution to this non-profit organization.

Tickets are available for a donation of $5,000, which will support BAM’s artistic and educational programs. Donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. (less $507/ticket).

If you would like access to these house seats please contact BAM’s Patron Services team at 718.636.4182 or PatronServices@BAM.org.

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Madonna has another new image for her 14th album Madame X but the music hits you instantly with its vitality and variety, its omnivorous hunger ****

Rating: 

How do you solve a problem like Madonna? That was the question in 2015 when she released her last album, Rebel Heart. And it still applies today, only more so.

Once the empress of the hit parade, she has now gone ten years without troubling the Top 20. Her UK album sales, according to Wikipedia, have plunged from 1,340,000 for Confessions On A Dance Floor (2005) to 76,500 for Rebel Heart. Even in a falling market, to lose 19 record buyers out of 20 looks like carelessness.

Her music has become poor to middling, and her judgment can be even worse, as shown at last month’s Eurovision Song Contest. But she remains a big draw: she’s on the cover of this month’s Vogue and is booked to play 15 nights at the London Palladium — even though the best seats are an uncool £480.

For her 14th studio album she has another new image. I’d hoped to find Madonna fearlessly showing us what 60 feels like by making a record called ‘Freedom Pass’. Instead, we get a portrait of the artist as an ageless waxwork, with not a single wrinkle.

And the music? It hits you instantly with its vitality and variety, its omnivorous hunger. Working with Mirwais, who produced Music (2000), and five other co-producers, Madonna is back doing what she is good at: scanning the horizon and channelling the times.

After moving to Lisbon she has fallen for all things Latin. Her opening words, delivered in a white-hot whisper, are ‘One, two, one two, one two, cha-cha-cha’. She keeps breaking into Portuguese and Spanish. 

She duets with Anitta, the Brazilian singer, and Maluma, the Colombian rapper, who both missed the first decade of her career because they hadn’t even been born.

Latin music suits Madonna with its supple rhythms and sunny choruses. About ten of these 15 songs have pop-solid hooks, built for the mass market she once ruled

 

Latin music suits Madonna with its supple rhythms and sunny choruses. About ten of these 15 songs have pop-solid hooks, built for the mass market she once ruled

Looking For Mercy has one of the clearest melodies of her career, which is saying something: shame it’s on the ‘deluxe’ version of the album.

The other songs are more experimental, and uneven. Future brings back white reggae and makes it sing. Dark Ballet is four tracks in one – a piano ballad, a hip-hop chant, a steal from The Nutcracker and a speech that turns Madonna into Mary Poppins. Just the ballad would have been better.

Killers Who Are Partying is an electro-pop remake of Martin Niemöller’s famous lines about failing to stop the Nazis. ‘I’ll be Islam,’ Madonna declares, ‘if Islam is hated. I’ll be Israel if they’re incarcerated.’ The rhyme is a crime but the song comes off because its chords are as good as its intentions.

By the end, things are getting personal, with anthems called I Don’t Search I Find and I Rise. It feels as if a memoir is brewing, or an autobiographical movie. Madonna is surely pondering the success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. She has the songs: a few more of them now.

More at Daily Mail

 
 
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