‘I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within’
Madonna has dropped “Dark Ballet”, the video for her fifth tune from the forthcoming Madame X album. In the stark, religiously-charged visual, directed by Emmanuel Adjei, Mykki Blanco plays Joan of Arc.
The video see Mykki square off with religious figures in church settings, dancing and interpreting Madonna’s stark, reflective lyrics before the inevitable burning at the stake. Madge appears underneath a black veil, contemplative.
“She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy,” Madonna says of the historical, cultural figure Joan of Arc. “Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”
“Cause your world is such a shame/Cause your world’s obsessed with fame,” Madonna sings. “Cause your world’s in so much pain/Cause your world is/Cause your world is up in flames.”
In the closing of the visual, Mykki says in a moving monologue: “I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”
Madonna’s album is set to drop next week, her first full-length release since Rebel Heart in 2015. “Dark Ballet” follows “Medellin”, anti-gun violence track “I Rise”, “Crave” featuring Swae Lee, and “Future” featuring Quavo.
Madame X is out June 14
From reggaeton bangers to dancehall-infused protest anthems, the singles (or buzz tracks) from Madame X have been nothing if not eclectic. And yet, they still don’t portend the demented grandeur of “Dark Ballet.” Co-produced with Mirwais, the song that was first performed as “Beautiful Game” at the 2018 Met Gala is a sprawling indictment of modern society. “It’s a beautiful plan, but I’m not concerned,” Madonna preaches on the chorus. “It’s a beautiful game that I never learned, people tell me to shut my mouth that I might get burned.”
But we all know that Madonna will never hold her tongue. Which leads to a brilliantly warped post-chorus that culminates in an extended piano solo and an even weirder bridge. “I will not denounce the things that I have said,” a heavily-distorted voice declares robotically. “I will not renounce my faith in my sweet Lord.” It’s a wild, thrilling mess that makes me even more excited for Madame X(if that is even possible). It’s time to accept that the Queen of Pop’s days of chasing hits are over. She’s now doing whatever the fuck she wants and it sounds amazing.
More at IDOLATOR
Madonna has unveiled her new video for “Dark Ballet.” It’s the fifth and final preview that will be released from her forthcoming Madame X, due June 14th. The cinematic clip stars Mykki Blanco, who portrays Joan of Arc.
In the visually arresting Emmanuel Adjei-directed video, Mykki Blanco is seen bravely facing adversity from various religious figures and onlookers and dancing despite the impending, inescapable doom to come.
The star mouths along to Madonna’s lyrics, “‘Cause your world is such a shame/’Cause your world’s obsessed with fame,” Madonna sings on the chorus. “‘Cause your world’s in so much pain/’Cause your world is/’Cause your world is up in flames.”
“She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy,” Madonna says of the inspiration behind the video and song, Joan of Arc. “Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”
The clip closes with inspiring words from Mykki Blanco: “I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”
More at RollingStone
UK EXCLUSIVE (€9.99 ) Available for PRE-ORDER HERE
“Madame X is Madonna’s boldest, certainly her strangest, album yet” – 4* The Times
Madame X is progressive. The brand new album from Madonna, available on 15 track, blue transparent cassette.
- 1. Medellín with Maluma
- 2. Dark Ballet
- 3. God Control
- 4. Future ft. Quavo
- 5. Batuka
- 6. Killers Who Are Partying
- 7. Crave ft. Swae Lee
- 8. Crazy
- 9. Come Alive
- 10. Extreme Occident
- 11. Faz Gostoso ft. Anitta
- 12. Bitch I’m Loca ft. Maluma
- 13. I Don’t Search I Find
- 14. Looking for Mercy
- 15. I Rise
AN AUDIENCE WITH MADONNA IN LONDON
Hosted by Graham Norton
Madonna will be holding an exclusive one-off event hosted by Graham Norton for her fans in London on 13th June at Alexandra Palace Theatre to celebrate the release of her brand new album Madame X.
Madonna and Graham will go in-depth about the creation of the album & Madonna will be taking questions from the audience about the music.
Enter to attend this once in a lifetime event by simply pre-ordering* any version of Madame X here by 5pm on Tuesday 11th June.
Successful fans will be notified by email (check your spam!) by 8pm Tuesday 11th June with the ticket link and a unique passcode to access a pair of tickets. The ticket ballot will open at 10am Wednesday 12th June. When the ballot opens, you will have a limited time to redeem your pair of tickets before the next wave of successful fans are contacted so be sure to log on at 10am and be quick! Event is over 18s only.
More info HERE
When rock music endures long enough, it becomes classic; hip-hop mellows into old-school. But how are pop stars, human vessels of everything shiny and ephemeral, supposed to stay?
“Not everyone is coming to the future, not everyone is coming from the past/Not everyone can come into the future, not everyone that’s here is gonna last,” Madonna coos robotically on the roiling dancehall jam “Future.” The second half of that couplet, at least, is literally true: Contemporaries like Prince and Whitney and Michael are gone; the ones who survived have largely left the game. At 60, Madonna mostly stands alone, if she could ever really be said to have peers at all. And she still has a lot to say on Madame X’s 15 tracks — about modern narcissism (on the piano-glitchy ballad “Dark Ballet”), geopolitics (the spare, rattling “Batuka”), and giving voice to the voiceless (the flamenco-kissed “Killers Who Are Partying”). The state-of-the-union screed “God Control” swings from shimmery roller disco to full agit-opera, with simulated gunshots. Subtle is not the word; while it’s hard to question her sincerity, you wonder what Madonna fan needs to be told to “wake up” to the world’s injustices in 2019. Material girls and boys might find simpler pleasure in songs like the swaying lead single, “Medellín,” with its echoes of “La Isla Bonita,” and the breezy intimacy of diametric bedroom lullabies “Crave” and “Crazy.”
Latin rhythms figure heavily on the whole album — a side effect, maybe, of her primary residency in Portugal over the past few years. But its global sounds and millennial guest stars, including rappers Quavo and Swae Lee, can feel more like obligatory flag-planting than organic evolution. As an artist, Madonna owes nothing to some ageist, retrograde idea of what she’s allowed to be; if only Madame felt like a more compelling rebuttal to all that. B-
More at Entertainment Weekly
Madonna is speaking out strongly against a new profile about her published in the New York Times Magazine, claiming that the publication “Is one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy.”
Titled “Madonna at Sixty,” Wednesday’s Times profile was written by Vanessa Grigoriadis, a journalist and the author of a 2017 book examining sexual assault on college campuses, “Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus.”
One of the most eye-popping quotes in the story comes when Madonna tells Grigoriadis that she “felt raped” when her 2015 album “Rebel Heart” leaked online before its release date. Grigoriadis goes on to question the 60-year-old star’s word choice, writing, “It didn’t feel right to explain that women these days were trying not to use that word metaphorically.”
In an Instagram post Thursday, Madonna stood by her words, claiming that her own experiences with sexual assault qualified her use of the wording.
“To say that I was disappointed in the article would be an understatement – It seems. You cant fix society And its endless need to diminish, Disparage or degrade that which they know is good,” she wrote in the caption. “Especially (strong) independent women.”
Madonna lamented how she spent “days and hours and months” with Grigoriadis and regretted giving the journalist access to her intimate world “which many people dont get to see.”
“Im sorry i spent 5 minutes with her,” she wrote about Grigoriadis. “It makes me feel raped. And yes I’m allowed to use that analogy having been raped at the age of 19.”
The 60-year-old pop superstar ripped the writer saying she focused the piece on “trivial and superficial matters such as the ethnicity of my stand in or the fabric of my curtains and never ending comments about my age which would never have been mentioned had I been a MAN!”
“Women have a really hard time being the champions of other women even if. they are posing as intellectual feminists.”
Madonna ended her Instagram post by declaring “DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY” and vowing to continue fighting for women.
The majority of Grigoriadis’ profile is sympathetic towards the star, as she writes, “It was depressing that the younger generation didn’t seem to have an understanding of the way Madonna had used her iron will to forge a particular type of highly autobiographical, uber-empowered, hypersexualized female pop star who became the dominant model of femininity across the nation. Without Madonna, we don’t have Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and maybe even Janelle Monae.”
The Times profile previews the release of Madonna’s 14th album “Madame X,” out June 14.
More at USAToday
- You are welcome to arrive from 18.30 onwards
- Madame X will be played at 19.00 sharp
- Concerto will close its doors from 19.00 so be on time! The coffee corner will remain open
- DJ MLVC will make sure you get to be moving your feet
- For more info please send us an email: email@example.com or click HERE
New Zealand and Australia have already been treated to what we can call one of Madonna’s greatest experimental tracks ever. Dark Ballet is an epic work of storytelling. Listening to Dark Ballet is like watching a fairytale come to life in front of your eyes through your ears, if that makes any sense (like the track some might say). It’s instantly recognizable as a collaboration with the absolute genius that is Mirwais. We listen to the lyrics we learned during Madonna’s MET Gala performance that is then stopped by a piano solo with a bass coming in and lyrics so distorted that it’s hard to understand what she’s singing. Then we hear the brilliant spoken part over Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ that was performed at Eurovision and ends with Madonna trying to blow out fire or trying to breathe?
It’s a work of GENIUS.
When the carping over Madonna’s age began in earnest, the focus wasn’t on her singing, or songwriting, or even her stagecraft. The problem, according to certain sections of the press, lay with her hands. “Why do Madonna’s hands look older than her face?” asked the Daily Mail in 2006. Such was the paper’s concern over the then 47-year-old’s apparently awful paws, a plastic surgeon was drafted in to provide professional analysis. “As a person ages [the] plumpness goes, making the hand look bonier and more veiny … less elastic,” he said sagely. Since then, close-ups of Madonna’s hands have been as much a tabloid staple as Victoria Beckham’s scowl or Amanda Holden’s sideboob.
Music critics tend not to pass comment on a musician’s appearance – to do so would undermine the seriousness of their endeavour. But the assessments of Madonna’s 14th album, Madame X, have nonetheless brought more subtle kind of disparagement. “Perhaps the erstwhile Queen of Pop should be content with the role of Queen Mother of Pop now,” said the Daily Telegraph’s critic, going on to note that a woman who has shifted 350m units and broken every record for a female artist going hasn’t had a Top 10 hit in a decade. Even in the Guardian’s review, which was mostly positive, the theme of her age was never far away.
Madonna is not alone in being seen through the prism of age. In 2014, looking ahead to Kate Bush’s live shows at Hammersmith Apollo, a (male) critic at the Independent cringed at the idea that she might start dancing. “However beneficial any yoga regime she might follow,” he said, “it’s simply unbecoming for a woman of a certain age to be prancing about, and certainly not in the leotard and leg-warmers of the 1979 shows.”
Even the more moderate language used in relation to her is revealing. “Dignity” crops up a lot, as does “appropriate” and “growing old gracefully”. When men talk about women ageing gracefully, they are not acting out of concern. They’re telling them to know their station, to sit down and shut up. “People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it’s that I’m not pretty enough, I don’t sing well enough, I’m not talented enough, I’m not married enough – and now it’s that I’m not young enough,” Madonna told Vogue recently. “Now I’m being punished for turning 60.”
Tracey Thorn, the Everything but the Girl singer-turned-solo artist and author, last year shared her objections to being described as “a 55-year-old wife and mother” in a review by the American music writer Robert Christgau. “The more I think about it the crosser I’m getting,” she said on Twitter. “‘55-year-old husband and father.’ I’m trying to imagine it as a description in an album review. Nope. Can’t do it.” I have no right to throw stones here. In 2003 I interviewed Siouxsie Sioux, an artist I’d admired for as long as I could remember. Near the end of our chat I asked blithely if musical retirement was on the cards. She was 45. She gave me a proper bollocking, and pointed out – rightly – that I would never have asked a man that question.
Ultimately it all boils down to what society deems alluring and acceptable. Older men, with their silver hair and laughter lines, are seen as stately and wise. Women of the same age are past it and embarrassing. Today, Iggy Pop (72) gets to run around shirtless during live performances. Nick Cave (61) dyes his hair and wears his shirts slashed to the waist; Elton John (72), who this year spoils us with a film, a memoir and a farewell tour, gads about in shades and diamante-encrusted suits. What links them, beyond their occupation, is that they get to decide how they conduct themselves and, crucially, when they stop working. And they get to do this without fear of criticism or vitriol. It’s high time female artists enjoyed the same privilege.
Fiona Sturges is an arts writer specialising in books, music, podcasting and TV
Read more at The Guardian
Bold, bizarre, self-referential and unlike anything Madonna has ever done before, ‘Madame X’ finds the star with a glint in her eye (the one without an eyepatch, that is)
Madonna’s latest persona ‘Madame X’ borrows her name from the historical figure Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau: a socialite and occasional muse who scandalised genteel French society when she bared naked flesh – her entire shoulder, would you believe it – in a portrait. And while Madge’s own eye-patch wearing interpretation prefers taking a more enterprising approach to the current job market (Madame X is a mother, a child, a teacher, a nun, a singer, and a saint many among other things) it’s a fitting moniker for a record that restlessly explores all sides of contemporary pop at full divisive pelt: visiting Latin pop, all-out Eurotrash, gloomily percussive trap, NYC disco, house, and reggaeton.
During its most reckless moments, ‘Madame X’ is bold, bizarre, and unlike anything Madonna has ever done before. The frantic ‘Dark Ballet’ harnesses gloomily spun strings and robotic overlord vocals; it’s as villainous and foreboding as ‘Ray of Light’s darkest moments, or her ‘Die Another Day’ Bond theme. Then, quite out of nowhere, an extended piano interlude morphs into a mangled, glitching excerpt of ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ from Tchaikovsky’s ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ – it’s brilliant, overblown ridiculousness. “I want to tell you about love…. and loneliness,” Madonna husks dramatically.
Touching heavily on both these things, ‘Madame X’ explores the state of the world (spoiler: it’s not doing great) at large – as well as Madonna’s place within it – from her new base in Lisbon. ‘Madame X’ isn’t flawless in its vision: at times, Madonna’s attempts to lead the future revolution can come off as ham-fisted. ‘Killers Who Are Partying’ features some absolute clanging missteps: booming lines like “I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated” and “I’ll be Native Indian if the Indian has been taken” seem like tone-deaf expressions of solidarity, especially from a wealthy white woman who seems to be planting herself at the centre of multiple minority narratives. And moments like ‘I Rise’s rehashed quote from the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre – “Freedom’s what you choose to do with what’s been done to you” – can border on inspirational fridge magnet territory, too broad to establish real connection.
‘Madame X’ is a far more interesting prospect when the focus moves back onto Madonna herself. ‘Crazy’ – produced by Jason Evigan and Kanye West collaborator Mike Dean – is a self-referential accordion bop: “I bend my knees for you like a prayer,” she sings, pointedly name-checking her 1989 album, and flipping from the original’s religious innuendo, towards doomed, dead-end infatuation “oh god, look at me now”. Elsewhere, the rhythmic whisper of “cha cha cha” on opener and lead single ‘Medellín’ recalls ‘Hard Candy’s ‘Give It 2 Me’.
‘Bitch I’m Loca’, meanwhile, is the sort of swaggering anthem that campy Disney villain Ursula might belt out from the depths: Maluma (who also appears on lead single ‘Medellín’) the ideal sidekick. “Where do you want me to put this?” he drawls with a comedy wink. “You can put it inside” she replies. It’s like Madonna’s diva sketch at the end of ‘Act Of Contrition’ turned Carry On… Madame X. Her cover of ‘Faz Gostoso’ – originally by Brazilian pop star Blaya – is equally great fun. And the House-inflected standout ‘I Don’t Search I Find’ – bringing to mind Shep Pettibone’s production on ‘Vogue’, and repurposing a quote from Pablo Picasso for its title – is just as playful. “Finally, enough love,” Madonna announces.
Throughout her 40-year career, outrage has always tailed Madonna closely; a point which is referenced on the likes of ‘Extreme Occident’ and the vulnerable admissions of ‘Looking For Mercy’ (“flawed by design, please sympathise,” she pleads) . “People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it’s that I’m not pretty enough, I don’t sing well enough, I’m not talented enough, I’m not married enough, and now it’s that I’m not young enough,” Madonna recently told Vogue,
In reality, if age wasn’t the chosen topic of the moment, the star would be “too much” of something – anything – else: too sexual, too attention-seeking, too weird, too controversial, too outspoken, too unwilling to disappear quietly into the good night. Instead, Madonna will do no such thing, happiest dancing said night away to the beat of her own creative drum.
For the first time since ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor’, perhaps, there’s a glint in Madonna’s eye; her visible, un-eyepatched one, at least. Sonically restless, ‘Madame X’ doesn’t imitate current pop trends as much as it mangles them into new shapes. A record that grapples with being “just way too much”, ultimately, it refuses to tone things down.
Release Date: June 14
Release Label: Live Nation / Interscope Records / Maverick
Read more at NME
Concerto will host the one and only Dutch Madame X release party on Thursday June 13 from 19.00 in Amsterdam. Madame X will be blasting through the speakers throughout the evening.
Especially for this evening Concerto gives you a 10% discount to all Madonna purchases and all buyers will receive a Madame X goodie-bag!
Madame X will be released in five formats:
-Limited Picture Disc (2LP)
-Deluxe box 2CD’s, 7inch, poster, cassette and tattoo sheet
-Deluxe 2CD with bonus
Fore more information and reservations click HERE or visit madonnaunderground.com
This Dutch release party is in collaboration with Universal Music and included in ‘Fan Events’ on Madonna’s official website Madonna.com
Donderdag 13 juni vanaf 19:00 wordt de release van het nieuwe Madonna album gevierd in het cafe van Concerto. ‘Madame X’ zal over de speakers worden gedraaid en voor het eerst te koop zijn!
Speciaal voor deze avond geeft Concerto 10% korting op je Madonna aanschaf en daarnaast ontvangen alle kopers een speciale goodie-bag!
‘Madame X’ verschijnt in vijf verschillende versies:
-Limited Picture Disc (2LP)
-Deluxe box 2CD’s, 7inch, poster, cassette en tattoo sheet
-Deluxe 2CD met bonustracks
Meer info en reserveren kan hier
Deze Nederlandse releaseparty is in samenwerking met Universal Music en opgenomen in ‘Fan Events’ op Madonna’s officiele website Madonna.com
The night before the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May, Madonna was sitting in the arena attached to the MGM Grand hotel, staring at a double of herself. The double, who was standing on the stage many yards away, was younger and looked Asian but wore a similar lace minidress and a wig in Madonna’s current hairstyle, a ’30s movie star’s crimped blond waves. “It’s always the second person with the wig — she wants to see it,” a stage designer said, adding that when she makes a decision, she is definitive. “Madonna wants 10 options, but when she says it’s the one, it’s the one.”
Madonna was observing Madonna to make sure Madonna was doing everything perfectly. Up on the stage set of a funky urban street with lampposts and a tiled bar, the double hit her marks and held a fist up to her mouth like a faux microphone for a rendition of “Medellín,” the on-trend, Latin-inflected song that Madonna would be singing. Madonna looked at a TV and assessed the augmented-reality part of the show, in which four additional virtual Madonnas, one playing an accordion and another dressed like a bride, would materialize in the televised awards performance out of thin air. Nearby, guys bowed heads and said cryptic things like “Where’s the digital key?” and “I need the alpha channel” to one another, tensely.
All the fake Madonnas ran through the song a few times before Madonna skipped enthusiastically to the stage. The sex bomb at 60 was slightly less than bionic and wore a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted patch over her left eye (“It’s fashion, darling,” an onlooker explained when I asked why she chose to wear it). Afterward, Madonna mused about something being off, and the next time she messed up the part where she stood on a table and gyrated her legs in and out in a move called “the butterfly” while popping her head in each direction. But by the third run-through she seemed ecstatic. “It’s so nice to see her smile,” Megan Lawson, a choreographer, said from under a black bolero hat, “and have it be a genuine smile.”
The AR part of Madonna’s performance was a feat, devised by some of the people who worked on this year’s Super Bowl, and the next night at the awards show she danced boldly despite the eye patch, which had to be difficult, peripheral-vision-speaking. But she wasn’t incorporating fireworks, a marching band and flying backup dancers, as Taylor Swift did; she didn’t hand out special bracelets to every person in the audience, then activate them to beam a thousand points of light, as the Jonas Brothers did; she wasn’t in a leotard and rolling around on the floor simulating a lesbian make-out session, as Halsey did, though the reason Halsey did that has a lot to do with Madonna doing it first. When the people in the audience lost their minds that night, they lost them almost exclusively for the K-pop band BTS, whose smooth hip-hop moves have birthed a million memes. For Madonna, they rose to their feet and took their phones out to commemorate “the time they saw Madonna” but seemed to scream loudest for the gyrating butterfly part, which was a little skanky, and that pleased them.
The pop-music world around Madonna has expanded in such shockingly strange new ways in the past couple of years that her precisely executed performance almost seemed too delicate (“Medellín” is down-tempo for a Madonna song; at the all-inclusive Mexican resort I visited over spring break, the poolside aerobics teacher played the song as a warm-up). Teenagers have always dominated pop, but now that most new music in the United States is streamed, how many times a song is listened to by one person counts much more than how many people listen to a song — and kids simply have more time to stream music than adults. When I checked the charts after the show, rappers born after President Bill Clinton’s election were in the top slots (Lil Nas X, Lil Skies, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert). Older musicians had to pander to the teenage demographic or even younger; Swift’s new single, “ME!” sounded like a Kidz Bop version of a Taylor Swift single and actually featured her shouting, during the bridge, “Spelling is fun!”
Backstage, Madonna posed for a candid photo with BTS; later, people left comments like “LEGENDS MEET LEGENDS” under the photo on Twitter. Finding out that there were indeed people who believed that a K-pop band of 20-somethings was equal in legendary status to Madonna, not only the highest-charting female musician and highest-grossing female touring musician in history but also an artist who changed the pop-culture game forever, made me gag, to use a phrase from her heyday. Among my middle-aged peers — my female and gay male peers, mostly — she was still an object of fascination. My friends in the fashion business who used to take cues from her liked her new hats but not her jewelry and the eye patch. My old crusty punk friends, including an ex-dominatrix who now owned a restaurant, said: “Madonna’s hard-core! I want to know what she thinks about menopause. We need her back in New York.” And everyone wanted to argue about her claiming a seat at the contemporary-pop banquet past her 60th year — was it really all that significant, if Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones played stadiums past her age, David Byrne was regularly performing across America and Bruce Springsteen was still at the controls of Bruce Inc.? Or was it a superhuman feat, particularly when set against her two closest contemporaries, Michael Jackson and Prince, each of whom exploded with her at the rise of video culture in the early 1980s and each of whom died early, and ignominiously?