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Found 571 results

  1. Phoebe

    Review

    Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour KylieX2008 Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour KylieFever2002 Kiss Me Once Tour Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour Golden Tour Aphrodite and X are really close for me, but I put Aphrodyke at the top because I'm obsessed with Greek mythology and that storyline... whew. But when it comes to energy, costumes and remixes/new arrangements of songs, X easily takes the crown. Share your ranking rats
  2. Phoebe

    Review

    Almost 1 year since it got released luvs Pipe Deserve Twice Maria Sick of Sittin' Accelerate Masochist Right Moves Like I Do Unless It's With You Fall in Line
  3. Beyoncé

    Album

    Right girls and gays time to rank. Today I have a chosen one of the most iconic albums of all time for us all to rank. This is gonna be impossible to rank because it's such a perfect body of work and I adore it so much. Freedom All Night Daddy Lessons Don't Hurt Yourself Formation 6 Inch Hold Up Pray You Catch Me Love Drought Sorry Sandcastles Forward
  4. https://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-lion-king-2019 was 49
  5. Beyoncé

    Discussion

    Right girls and gays time to rank. As you all know Beyoncé is one of the greatest performers of all time, meaning every single one of her tours are incredible. However some are quite clearly better than others. Time to see who has taste and who doesn't You can include OTR and OTR II if you want to but I won't as they were joint tours and y'all know how I feel about Jay-Z The Formation World Tour I Am... World Tour The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour The Beyoncé Experience Dangerously in Love Tour Wow all her tours really show her growth as an artist and performer don't they Don't forget to leave your ranking
  6. kminogues

    Review

    Right, so I’m bored and decided to do a track by track review of Kylie’s second best album. So letsgettoit.mp3 Slow - Amazing from start to finish. Still sounds fresh despite being 16 years old. It just oozes sophistication. I love the key change midway through and the “read my...BODY LANGUAGE” bit slays. An easy 10/10 Still Standing - I’ve never cared too much for this song. It feels a bit weak coming off the heels of Slow. Nothing to write home about. 5/10 Secret (Take You Home) - This Grindr anthem! I love her tweaked vocals on this one. Experimentlie jumped out! It shows how weak Still Shitting is being sandwiched between two of her best songs. 9/10 Promises - One of her most underrated and more lyrically mature songs. I love the production. 7/10 Sweet Music - This one is a bit silly but BOPS HARD. It’s everything Still Shitting wishes it was and tried to accomplish. My only complaint is that it’s a tad too long. It starts to drag a little. 9/10 Red Blooded Woman - One of her best singles EVER. The “boy, boy” echo effect during the chorus is responsible for my faggotry as well as the little dance routine she does. I remember trying to imitate the moves when I first saw the video clip. Kylie really sang about how much she needs cock, huh? An easy 10/10 Chocolate - But wow, what a moment I will never forget. My second fave song from the album and the video is too much of a servation! I love the “Like chocolate, come here. Zoom in...” bit. I also like the radio edit and feel it’s unfairly looked at poorly by some stans. It’s definitely not as good as the album version but it still bops. 10/10 Obsession - Filler and a little basic but cute. 6/10 I Feel 4 U - Let’s praise one of the best songs on the album! I love the intro/outro of the rain and thundering. It reminds me of Rain by Madonna (one of my all-time fave Vadge songs). I love her vocals on this track. It’s a fun, catchy song and deserves more love. Someday - ABSOLUTE SHIT! The only song I routinely skip. Too fucking long and boring. Also reminds me of my asshole of an ex-boyfriend, so. 1/10 Loving Days - Another serve. Again, this song deserves more praise than it’s given. Kylie really had cock on her mind when making this record, didn’t she? Let me put this on repeat. 10/10 After Dark - I love the chorus. It’s a good closer for the standard track list. 8/10 Slo Motion - THE BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM. I’ll never understand why she relegated this to an Australia only bonus track because it deserves to be on every edition it’s that GODLY. I love the seductive vibe she sings with. Definitely a song to play when getting your hole wrecked/wrecking a hole 10/10 Cruise Control - It amazes me that Still Shitting and Flopday made the standard track list but this didn’t. I do like the version with Sean Paul that’s on the Red Blooded Woman single a bit better though. 8/10 You Make Me Feel - Feels a bit like the sister to After Dark. Again, should have been on the standard album and not a bonus track. I love the second verse in particular. 9/10 alright faggots, thanks for reading. Now do the right thing and stream Bible Language
  7. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/kylie-minogue-glastonbury-review-big-tunes-oodles-charm-hard/
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jun/30/kylie-at-glastonbury-2019-review?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet
  9. “She is a cha cha instructor, a professor, a head of state, a teacher, a nun,” is how Madonna describes her most recent alter ego covering her latest album, Madame X. In the months anticipating its release, the pop icon teased fans with imagery of the eye-patched emissary, in addition to releasing several collaborations featuring Maluma, Quavo, and Swae Lee. Some reviews deem the pop star’s latest release as a bizarre and rambunctious mixture of sound, when in fact, these things make for an interesting and compelling piece of work. This metamorphosis of sound and image reveals not only that Madonna is still a master of her craft, but that she can continue to captivate audiences with bold creativity. The diversity of Madonna’s discography spans far and wide, ranging from the 1984 classic “Like a Virgin,” to her evolution into modern sound with “Ray of Light.” Throughout these changing eras, the music legend managed to remain at the top of her game, morphing from one persona to the next in an almost seamless way. Her new album is certainly no exception, solidifying Madonna as an ever-evolving songstress with an eye for all things avant-garde. The singer can add being trilingual to her list of talents, as the album includes songs in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Influenced predominately from her time living in Lisbon, Portugal, the “Hung Up” belter’s newest release boasts a host of musical influences. Songs like “Faz Gostoso” featuring Anitta and “Medellín” featuring Maluma are testaments to Madge’s rare ability to effectively cross musical genres. Even more noticeable on one her solo tracks, “Crazy,” Madonna exudes a comfortable incorporation of both her personal style and an appreciation for multicultural artistry. Further embellishing Madame X‘s tinge of musical experimentation, Madonna includes hints of hip hop on the songs “Future” featuring Quavo and “Crave” with Swae Lee. But the album’s prized gems are arguably the dance-floor anthems “God Control” and “I Don’t Search I Find,” which are reminiscent of Confessions on a Dance Floor. Opening with a somber choir and a call to action advocating for gun control in America, “God Control” gives way to a disco wonderland. “This is your wake up call,” Madonna utters over the sounds of two gunshots and a boogie beat, a seemingly paradoxical juxtaposition. By being able to make us dance to a grim message with a celebratory tone, it is evident that Madame X herself is able to successfully apply her artistry in every facet. According to Billboard, over 90% of Madonna’s 17-show-run in New York is sold out, in addition to Madame X being expected to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 90k-100k copies, giving the “Music” singer her first number one since her 2012 anthology, MDNA. If Madame X tells us anything, it’s that Madonna still takes her artistry and legacy seriously. The icon has added yet another acclaimed piece to her body of work that also happens to be one of her most eccentric efforts yet, which in turn, may become her most successful. https://www.popcravenews.com/madonna-cements-herself-as-a-musical-chameleon-with-madame-x/
  10. Title When it comes to lyrics, I gotta say that Ray of Light, Like a Prayer, Confessions on a Dance Floor and Bedtime Stories are her best written albums. Rebel Heart and Erotica are well written as well. But when it comes to production, have to give that title to Ray of Light. What about you?
  11. Agent X

    Review

    I'm not usually one for an "album trailer," but I found the teaser for Madame X incredibly interesting, especially the spoken description of who Madame X is: “Madame X is a secret agent. Traveling around the world. Changing identities. Fighting for freedom. Bringing light to dark places. She is 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." Ever the fan of bold statements and exclamations, the idea of a pseudo-conceptual record about a secret agent/anti-heroine is not something too shocking from Madonna. That’s part of why many, including myself, are fans of her work as a musician and provacitor. Even if it’s brash and ill-advised at times - she’s not afraid to do what she wants and it’s damn inspirational. The fact that, in spite of cries and sneers, she has continued making music and putting herself out there since the eighties is moving, regardless of how you feel about recent releases. So, this said, her attempt at making another career period would be an insurmountable challenge for your average person, but if anyone can do it, it’s the best selling female artist of all time. The themes on Madame X are a bit everywhere, much like everything about the record, but they make for a very interesting ride through statements from he madame herself. Political opinions (“God Control”), calls to action (“Come Alive”), religious allegory (“Batuka”), exclamations of love (“Crave”), empowerment of the disenfranchised (“Killers Who Are Partying”), the stagnation of societal evolution (“Future”), and a musical tour throughout areas such as Portugal and France are all fair game here, coming together to create a poignant experience. Despite a few lackluster lines here and there, the sum of Madonna’s messages and imagery is a wholly moving experience. Any missteps in production or lyricism fail to ruin that larger picture, one of a multifaceted, flawed, and frayed society. A society that this Madame X character wants to save, but can’t do anything beyond what one person can do. I could sit here and go through what musical points are my favorite or who produced what songs or whatever, but I feel like doing so would be a disservice to what I like about this record. It’s emotionally powerful and, frankly, bizarrely eclectic in all the right ways. The tracks here span from wrld music to discover to trap infused pop. Maybe it’s just relieving to hear a voice I respect so much touch on topics that I find myself dwelling on often in such an enjoyable way. It’s not perfect, the concept feels flustered and a bit messy at times, but it hit me in a way I hardly expected it to. It’s a hard thing to describe with a keyboard or a pen, but I guess I can put it like this: Madonna is one of my biggest heroes, hands down. I admire her courage and artistic vision immensely and both are here in spades. Before when I said that this was an attempted career period definer, I think that Madame X is that. It’s the collaboration of so many artists from so many places to assist in a pop album of a higher purpose - Madonna’s attempts to celebrate those who have been unjustly cast aside, Madonna’s attempt to promote something bigger than album sales. Maybe I’m completely off, maybe I missed the mark and this really is a confused mess (that’s how I felt the first time I heard it after all), but Madame X struck a chord with me. Take “I Rise,” a call to protest and a scream meant to be heard by those in power. That word she uses, “we,” it feels powerful, it feels inspiring. I dunno, maybe I’m a sucker, but this album made me feel something, something good. Something hopeful. https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/79698/Madonna-Madame-X/
  12. We honor the first 20 years of music legends’ careers for the drive that elevates them from anonymity to celebrity and the vision that keeps them in flight throughout the best years. We spend the next 20 years weaponizing their own standards against them, calling each album a “radical departure” or a “return to form” or else quietly losing interest in everything but the classics. There’s more love for “Taxman” and “Drive My Car” than “Say Say Say” or “Got My Mind Set on You.” The Queen movie’s narrative ends early at Live Aid; the Elton flick calls it at “I’m Still Standing,” before things get weird in the ’80s. People want to remember their favorite figures at their best, but the miscalculations and recalibrations that happen afterward are just as integral to the story of a brilliant career as the moves made at the artist’s peak. Madonna Ciccone moved to New York City from Detroit at 20 years old in the late ’70s with a dream of making it in showbiz, be it as a dancer, a rock star, or a singer. In five years, she maneuvered through the eclectic scene at the lower-Manhattan nightclub Danceteria — which collected cool kids who didn’t make it through the door to party with the socialites and celebrities at Studio 54 — and pieced together a demo a resident DJ ran up the pipeline to the label heads who released her early singles and self-titled debut album. In ten years, Madonna was a pop star with a dozen international hit records anxiously setting her sights on a lasting film career. By year 20 of her career, she’d scored a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture and a New York Times best seller and topped the charts again with a studio album recounting everything she learned as a new mother and a student of Eastern mysticism and European dance music. If you’re the kind of music fan who learns by scrubbing lists of the best of things, you might see Ray of Light as the last essential Madonna album (or hang around ’til 2000’s exquisite Music, lured in by the folk-meets-Fennesz inversion of “Don’t Tell Me”), but trailing off there, you miss a world of bops, flops, and experiments Madonna pursues out of sheer tenacity and self-preservation. Trouble chased for Madonna in the first 20 years of her career; in the next 20, she found it by courting it. Where early moments of provocation — the bridal-gown romp at the 1984 VMAs the singer says was improvised when her shoe came off, the videos that were too hot for MTV, the songs about abortion and Catholic guilt — were timely commentaries on the tug-of-war in the ’80s between the brutish, horny American entertainment industry and the country’s saintly social mores, the Madonna controversies of this century seem engineered for indignant reaction. “Madonna’s priority is to keep people watching whatever she does,” Times scribe Jon Pareles wrote in a withering review of 2003’s American Life. “She maintains a presence, not a message.” (He’s not wrong about Life, but he couldn’t know that this nervous media omnipresence was where the whole pop machine was headed, that soon every release would arrive in a cloud of noise and promo.) American Life is an intriguing point of interest this summer, as Madonna has rolled out Madame X, an album (her 14th) that revisits and restructures some of the ideas floated in her fascinating Bush-era misstep. Life expanded on the folktronica crossover of Music’s “Don’t Tell Me,” incorporating acoustic and electric guitar sounds and samples into a body of downcast songs workshopped alongside French producer and Music co-conspirator Mirwais. The aim, it seems, was to speak to the state of a nation at war while reflecting the insecurities the singer experienced in the wake of the catastrophic reviews for her and then-husband Guy Ritchie’s 2002 box-office failure Swept Away. Barring the title track, whose provocative anti-war music video was pulled because Madonna worried that people would misconstrue the message, the American Life singles largely missed the “Hot 100” entirely. The album’s not without offbeat ideas — name another time one of the biggest pop stars dared to sell a four-minute song where she calls herself stupid over the lick from the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” — but its lasting legacy is that of a curious anti-pop downer. American Life is an intriguing point of interest this summer, as Madonna has rolled out Madame X, an album (her 14th) that revisits and restructures some of the ideas floated in her fascinating Bush-era misstep. Life expanded on the folktronica crossover of Music’s “Don’t Tell Me,” incorporating acoustic and electric guitar sounds and samples into a body of downcast songs workshopped alongside French producer and Music co-conspirator Mirwais. The aim, it seems, was to speak to the state of a nation at war while reflecting the insecurities the singer experienced in the wake of the catastrophic reviews for her and then-husband Guy Ritchie’s 2002 box-office failure Swept Away. Barring the title track, whose provocative anti-war music video was pulled because Madonna worried that people would misconstrue the message, the American Life singles largely missed the “Hot 100” entirely. The album’s not without offbeat ideas — name another time one of the biggest pop stars dared to sell a four-minute song where she calls herself stupid over the lick from the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” — but its lasting legacy is that of a curious anti-pop downer. Madame X finds us again at war, this time among ourselves as much as the world at large, and again, Madonna, Mirwais, and Kanye collaborator Mike Dean deliver an album about the ways the planet sucks right now and how that makes the artist feel. The songs were conceived during time spent in Portugal, where Madonna moved “to be a soccer mom,” as her son David courted schools near Lisbon. In time, she grew restless and sought out local creatives. The title of the album is an expression of the singer’s tireless pursuit of art and culture — “Madame X is a secret agent, traveling around the world, changing identities, fighting for freedom, bringing light to dark places,” she says in the prerelease trailer — and a callback to a nickname given by the influential dancer and instructor, Martha Graham. The album surveys world disorder through Madonna’s eyes, but the album gets more out of its cultural explorations than it gives back. (News items about Madonna’s comings and goings in Lisbon are a slight rejoinder to this album’s selfless messaging.) Madame X wants to be Eva Perón again, but it feels more like Carmen Sandiego. The first five songs are a world tour. Opener “Medellin” is a gorgeous, gauzy duet with Colombian reggaeton luminary Maluma. “Dark Ballet” travels in three movements from trap to classical music to an outro that sounds like robots playing Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” like Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach. “God Control” turns on a dime from ominous choir vocals to sleek disco, like a party after a protest. “Future” questionably pairs Quavo and reggae; “Batuka” is the kind of drum-driven call-and-response number M.I.A. and Diplo sold to the international community on Piracy Funds Terrorism 15 years ago. In spite of proclamations of solidarity in “Killers Who Are Partying” and “Extreme Occident,” Madame isn’t Madonna’s world-disorder album or even her Brazil album, as “Crave” and “Crazy” punctuate, serving up breezy trap-pop tunes back-to-back in the middle of the album. It’s an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink album in the same spirit as 2015’s unpredictable Rebel Heart, the logical conclusion for an artist who spent the last 20 years trying to figure out what sound she should and should not be making. Madonna is a shape-shifter. She shows the face the moment requires. When American Life tanked, she regrouped with Confessions on the Dance Floor, a further adventure in the sound of her first year in New York, like Frank Miller’s Caped Crusader throwback Batman: Year One. The referential, self-mythologizing Confessions was followed by a modernist overcorrection in 2008’s Hard Candy, a team-up with Pharrell, Timbaland, and Justin Timberlake that didn’t dig into how cool of a concept it could’ve been until middle-album deep cuts like “She’s Not Me” and the flawless, underrated Madonna, Pharrell, and Kanye West collaboration “Beat Goes On,” a no-brainer of a hit that never got a chance to shine as a single. 2012’s MDNA called up Ray of Light producer William Orbit again, this time to plunk the singer in the middle of a lot of fussy EDM tunes that already feel dated. Art moves quickly; Madonna works hard to keep pace. In all these twists, Madonna is trying to locate a balance between her legacy and what works on the radio, between what her fans want and what keeps the attention of the casual listener. But her sense of timing isn’t what it was. Hard Candy arrived too late in Timbaland’s decadelong hit streak to shine. The right time for the bleating synths and taut house rhythms of MDNA was the early aughts, when American audiences got wise to Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and the Chemical Brothers. (In the alternate universe where Madonna and Daft Punk meet and actually make records together, the underdog narrative she has fought for the last 20 years doesn’t exist.) In spite of their flaws and lofty concepts, Rebel Heart and Madame X feel more grounded than their 21st-century predecessors because the animating idea is just Madonna being Madonna. They’re true to her history in the ease of the dance-floor scorchers and in the moments of overeager cultural safari and in the uncertainty about which incarnation of the singer is going to show up from one song to the next. The records in the back catalogue might be more slick and effortless, but you still keep coming around for more, because it’s fascinating to see how her mind and music work. At 60, Madonna still has a lot to say. It makes you wonder what all she’ll get into by 80. https://www.vulture.com/2019/06/madonna-madame-x-album-review.html
  13. This isn't really a review, but more of an assessment. It ranges from tentatively positive to fairly negative to somewhere in the middle, but I think it does so in a respectful manner. The last thought really (bolded in the quote) caught my attention, but the rest of this did too. I do not at all feel the way this author does about the album or her in general, but I think this is an interesting take on Madame X. After the Pitchfork travesty, I'm glad to see that people are still capable of being critical without being rude.
  14. Madonna’s new album “Madame X,” released Friday, is many things — an alter ego, a love letter to Portugal, a multicultural musical patch work, a wild and daring musical experiment and also her best effort since “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (2005). “Madame X is a secret agent,” she says. “Traveling around the world. Changing identities. Fighting for freedom. Bringing light to dark places. She is 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.” The nickname was given to her by famed dance instructor Martha Graham, who was her teacher at 19, because she would come to class each day with a different identity. Clearly that moniker stuck with Madonna and through Madame X, she remains a creative force with something to say. The opening track is the Latin-infused “Medellin” featuring Colombian rapper Maluma. When compared to the other offerings on the album, this comes off as one of the weaker tracks. Why this was released as the lead single is as big a mystery as to why Madonna has chosen to wear a diamond-encrusted eye patch as high fashion. But since it’s been a national pastime to question or criticize Madonna’s choices, fans have learned to buckle up and weather the ride with her, for better or worse. Perhaps it’s fitting that she sings “Let’s take a trip” in this opener because that is exactly what’s in store. As the “cha-cha-cha” of Medellin fades into the bleak start of “Dark Ballet,” Madonna sings with forceful confidence about how she can dress like a boy and dress like a girl and, ironically, how our world is “obsessed with fame.” It then takes an abrupt left turn into a cascading piano solo that spills right into an electronic rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Where is this going? Her bizarre tongue-in-cheek declamation midway through asks, “Can’t you hear outside of your Supreme hoodie, the wind that’s beginning to howl?” We’re not done. It then make a swift U-turn back to the original composition and quietly ends with Madonna imitating the wind by repeatedly blowing air from her lips because “the storm isn’t in the air, it’s inside of us.” Provocative pop art brilliance or extreme hot mess? Whatever it is, the song (and accompanying music video) is a bold statement of extreme artistic expression unprecedented by Madonna and is the first of several standout tracks. Much like “Dark Ballet,” “God Control” starts off slow, but soon switches gears with colorful twists and turns before coming to an exhilarating end.This is arguably the best track on the album. “Everybody knows the damn truth/Our nation lied and lost respect,” Madonna sings through gritted teeth (or was she just wearing her grills?) and “I think I understand why people get a gun/I think I understand why we all give up.” While no stranger to political commentary on past projects, the stark frankness in these lyrics make the statements from “American Life” sound like “Like a Virgin.” When it breaks into a church choir singing “We lost God control,” a breath can barely be caught before jumping into an infectious swirling disco beat perfectly fit for dance floor consumption, all while Madonna repeatedly urges us to “wake up.” When she whispers, “everybody knows the damn truth,” it sounds incredibly similar to her 2001 club hit “Impressive Instant” from “Music.” These elements successfully blend together to produce her best dance track since “Hung Up.” If “Music” and “American Life” had a baby with “Confessions on a Dance Floor” as its stepmother, it would be the mid-tempo treasure “I Don’t Search I Find.” There are strong references to her 1991 single “Rescue Me” due to carefully placed finger snaps and assertive spoken-word verses during the bridge before exclamations of “Finally enough love.” The comparisons to her earlier albums are easily made due to the heavy presence of Mirwais Ahmadzai, who produced and co-wrote six tracks on “Madame X,” five tracks “Music,” and virtually everything on “American Life,” which makes “Madame X” feel like the third entry in an album trilogy. “Crave” (with Swae Lee) is the most radio friendly of the pack, which is why it is currently climbing Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. Unlike “Medellin,” where Maluma’s solo parts dominate, the contributions of Swae Lee are evenly placed and end up as the best vocal collaboration on the album. “Crazy” is the unexpected earworm of “Madame X.” When, if ever, have you heard an accordion in a pop song outside of a Weird Al parody? The chorus pounds into your head in a good way and at one point Madonna sings “I bent my knees for your like a prayer” which is not the only “Like a Prayer” nod within this album. “Batuka” and “Faz Gostoso” are the most notable examples of the influence Portugal has injected into Madonna since she moved to Lisbon early last year. With thundering drums and an eclectic mix of instruments and voices courtesy of Afro-Portuguese group Orquestra de Batukadeiras, “Batuka” comes off like a fabulous jam session. Madonna sings “Get that old man/Put him in a jail.” Is she talking about Trump? One can only assume as much. “Faz Gostoso,” which in Portuguese translates to “makes delicious,” features Brazilian singer Anitta. It is not quite as good as “Batuka,” but still fun. While nothing completely falls flat, there are some tracks that don’t shine as brightly as others. “Bitch I’m Loca” (not to be confused with “Rebel Heart’s” “Bitch I’m Madonna”) is the first that comes to mind. Did we really need another flirty collaboration with Maluma? The reggae-drenched “Future” (released as a promotional single last month) has Madonna trading verses with American rapper Quavo. While not entirely out of place nor as unnecessary as “Bitch I’m Loca,” it remains a shadow to the light of the other tracks surrounding it. “Killers Who Are Partying” enters martyrdom territory with lyrics like “I will be gay if the gay are burned” and “I will be Islam if Islam is hated.” It goes on and on, ending with “I’ll be a woman if she is raped and her heart is breaking.” The empowering album closer “I Rise” was, in Madonna’s own words, written “as a way of giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind. This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride and I hope this song encourages all individuals to be who they are, to speak their minds and to love themselves.” Not without political commentary, the track opens with the voice of Parkland school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez. The deluxe edition includes bonus tracks “Looking for Mercy” and “Extreme Occident,” while the deluxe box set further includes “Funana”, “Back That Up to the Beat”, and “Ciao Bella,” The most interesting of the bonus tracks is “Funana” where late icons Whitney Houston, George Michael, Prince, and Aretha Franklin (among others) are name dropped in a “Vogue”-style memoriam.
  15. On June 14, the perennial "Queen of Pop" Madonna released her latest studio offering, the highly-anticipated "Madame X." The deluxe version of the album opens with "Medellín," her catchy collaboration with Maluma, and it is followed by the crisp downtempo tune "Dark Ballet," as well as the hypnotic "God Control." "Future" with Quavo is more nonchalant and mellow, and it immediately breaks into "Batuka" and the unflinching "Killers Who Are Partying." "Extreme Occident" is a piano-driven ballad and "Come Alive" is indeed vibrant and refreshing. Malume is featured yet again on this album with "Bitch I'm Loca," while Brazilian music sensation Anitta collaborates with the pop queen on "Faz Gostoso." After the upbeat and smooth "I Don't Search I Find," it closes with "Looking for Mercy" and on an uplifting note with the inspirational "I Rise." Madame X is available on iTunes and on Spotify. The Verdict Overall, Madonna delivers on her new studio album, Madame X, which she manages to keep fresh and exciting. It is comprised of multiple neat multicultural sounds, which makes it even more appealing and diverse for her listening audience. Madame X garners 4.5 out of 5 stars. To learn more about Madonna and her new album Madame X, check out her official website. Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/review-madonna-releases-stunning-new-pop-album-madame-x/article/552182#ixzz5r78Asvj3
  16. Phoebe

    Review

    Till the World Ends Scary He About to Lose Me Selfish Trouble for Me Hold It Against Me Criminal Up n Down How I Roll Big Fat Bass Inside Out (Drop Dead) Beautiful Don't Keep Me Waiting I Wanna Go Seal It With a Kiss Gasoline Trip to Your Heart
  17. Freaky Prince

    Review

    Aura G.U.Y. Dope MANiCURE Applause Venus Sexxx Dreams ARTPOP Mary Jane Holland Do What U Want Fashion! Swine Donatella Gypsy Jewels N' Drugs
  18. “Hey young people – you’re getting older every second. It’s what we do. One day someone will tell you to stop and you’ll be all like ‘fuck you’ just like Madonna.” That was former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes on Twitter the night of the Billboard Music Awards. Madonna and Colombian reggaeton star Maluma had just performed “Medellín,” the lead single from her new album, Madame X. In keeping with the project’s premise about a secret agent who travels around the world changing identities “fighting for freedom” and “bringing light to dark places,” the duet partners danced and sang amidst a trippy hologram display featuring multiple iterations of Madonna doing the cha-cha. This was the sort of awards-show spectacle Madonna helped to invent — not as memorable as her iconic VMAs moments stripping out of a wedding dress and kissing Britney Spears, but entertaining and elaborate and cheeky in her signature fashion. She established many such templates during a good solid quarter-century of blazing trails and making hits. She almost singlehandedly carved out the modern pop-star archetype, endlessly reinventing herself and becoming a transformative figure in the sexual revolution. Before Britney and Katy and Taylor — and long before “nasty women” became a catchphrase in a presidential race that deteriorated into show business — there was Madonna, loud and proud and gleefully blasphemous. She’s an undisputed legend who these days is just as often a punchline, largely thanks to her refusal to “retire with dignity.” That chorus of jeers picked up again the night of the Billboard Awards. Hayes had apparently encountered the usual chatter that accompanies Madonna’s every public action these days, the calls to hang it up and the jokes that imply as much, so he responded with an appeal for sympathy by way of the golden rule. Although his own moment in the spotlight was brief compared to Madonna’s peerless run, he surely knows what it’s like to be laughed at for having the nerve to continue your career when the zeitgeist moves on. In the defense of Madonna’s critics, her output in the past decade-plus has not been on par with the treasure trove of classics that made her a legend. Her 2005 club opus Confessions On A Dancefloor, which yielded the monster jam “Hung Up,” is widely regarded as her last great creative offering. Since then an artist who often helped trends bubble up from the underground has instead chased after sounds that already blew up. With 2008’s Hard Candy she leaned on the Neptunes and Timbaland just as they were hitting a post-imperial slump; the Justin Timberlake duet “4 Minutes” made it to #3 anyhow. In 2011 she attempted to ride the EDM wave on MDNA with less than satisfactory results, but it at least generated the #10 hit “Give Me All Your Luvin'” with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. Her descent hit its nadir with 2015’s Rebel Heart. The album leaked in demo form before it was even announced, and Madonna spent its entire rollout like a sports team frantically playing from behind. The material wasn’t much help. Opener “Living For Love,” which she cowrote and produced with Diplo and Ariel Rechtshaid, was top-tier dancefloor Madonna, and the defiant “Unapologetic Bitch” was a better Santigold song than Santigold has released in years. But there was also a goofy party track that name-checked a dozen celebs accused of being in the Illuminati and one that paired up Chance The Rapper with Mike Tyson. Not only was Rebel Heart her first album with no top 10 singles, it would have been her first with none on the Hot 100 at all if not for the #84-peaking “Bitch I’m Madonna,” another Minaj collab that was emblematic of the album’s hot mess vibe. She’s given us plenty of reason to believe she’s past her prime, but Madonna falling off is not an excuse to cackle about how old she is, especially when her male counterparts in creative decline get to be perceived as elder statesmen instead of washed-up grandpas. So there was a ring of truth when she recently told British Vogue, “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. So they just keep trying to find a hook to hang their beef about me being alive on. Now I’m fighting ageism, now I’m being punished for turning 60.” She’s given us plenty of reason to believe she’s past her prime, but Madonna falling off is not an excuse to cackle about how old she is. There was a ring of truth when she recently told British Vogue, “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. So they just keep trying to find a hook to hang their beef about me being alive on. Now I’m fighting ageism, now I’m being punished for turning 60.” The simple fact is popular music has traditionally been a young person’s game, so it’s remarkable for anyone to remain active in the field at Madonna’s age, doubly so for a woman to do so in a culture that allows men to age much more gracefully. I don’t blame her for being touchy about the subject, and yet voyaging boldly into sixty-something pop stardom has become a lifelong pioneer’s latest means of innovation. The context is worth reckoning with; the tricky part is doing so respectably. So here goes nothing: Madame X strikes a balance between accessible and experimental that would be impressive at any age but feels especially momentous coming this late in Madonna’s career. The album acclimates to current trends more naturally than she has managed in years while still feeling like its own thing. It dares to be weird in ways that feel like genuine expression and not just attention-grabbing stunts. Madonna has always taken inspiration from David Bowie, and although Madame X is not a Blackstar-level masterpiece, I see similarities in the way it merges personal heaviness with a sort of artistic fearlessness. It’s not going to silence the scoffers, but it may well reward those who engage in good faith. Although nothing on the tracklist matches the sheer pleasure of her greatest hits, Madame X contains a few achingly pretty pop songs, especially the Swae Lee duet “Crave,” a misty ballad that makes Madonna emoting over trap drum programming sound like the most natural thing in the world. It also includes some awfully bizarre left turns, like the Daft Punk Renaissance fair that breaks out in the middle of “Dark Ballet,” where Madonna inquires, “Can’t you hear outside of your Supreme hoodie, the wind that’s beginning to howl?” It’s extra, but only in the way Madonna has always been extra. In terms of concept and aesthetic and quality, it mostly hangs together well. As the story goes, Madonna was living in Portugal with her kids and feeling quite lonely when she happened upon a jam session that inspired Madame X. She went on to incorporate an eclectic range of styles into the album ranging from dominant hip-hop, dance, and Latin trap sounds to Portuguese fado and Cape Verdean batuque. The collection of tunes she ended up with is heavily rhythmic yet atmospheric, like a half-remembered dream about a multicultural street party. The overall sound adheres to that easy listening daze that performs well on streaming services, but Madame X sometimes breaks its own spell intentionally with weird detours like “God Control,” which could be an Avalanches song with its soaring disco breakdown, a vocoder, a choir, and Madonna’s whispered commands to “wake up.” She occasionally veers into other languages, and like Beyoncé on the “Mi Gente” remix, she pulls it off. At times Madonna seems to be riffing on her own legacy, be it the “Vogue”-reminiscent string section on “I Don’t Search I Find” or a line from “Crazy” that goes, “I bend my legs for you like a prayer/ My god, look at me now.” On “Medellín,” she plainly frames the album as a chance to break free from her past: “I took a pill and had a dream/ I went back to my 17 year/ Allowed myself to be naive/ To be someone I’ve never been.” On the other hand, on the clumsy but moving message song “Killers Who Are Partying,” after a series of promises to become one with the oppressed, she leaves us with this: “I know what I am (God knows what I am) / And I know what I’m not (And he knows what I’m not) / Do you know who you are? / Will we know when to stop?” Those are loaded lyrics with potential interpretations extending well beyond Madonna’s own personal narrative. Still, they say a lot about where she finds herself right now. On Madame X she is no longer lunging like she has in recent years. OK, any pop album with a Quavo guest verse in 2019 is lunging a little bit. But for the first time in a long time, she seems at home in her own music. Is a Latin hip-hop folk-dance dreamscape with avant-garde interludes what anybody wants from Madonna right now? Probably not, but that’s what I like about it. It’s the album she wanted to make. She knows what she is and what she’s not. Will she know when to stop? That’s for her to decide. https://www.stereogum.com/2047120/madonna-madame-x-review/franchises/the-week-in-pop/
  19. Unapologetic Bitch

    Review

    Here’s a little-known pop-diva fact: Madonna used to have nightmares about Whitney Houston. In a 1995 “Primetime Live” interview, she described a dream she had in which she learned that her greatest ’80s chart rival’s then-latest single, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop),” had replaced hers, “You’ll See,” at No. 1. Meanwhile, in another room, her music teacher was humming Houston’s hit. Cue cold sweat. (Dreams don’t always come true: In real life, “You’ll See” never made it past No. 6.) If Madonna is still watching the charts like a hawk, even in her sleep, she’s clearly no longer obsessed with ruling them. In a 36-year recording career that has found the 60-year-old walking more tightropes than the average A-list pop superstar, Madonna has delivered her most uncompromising musical statement yet with her 14th album, “Madame X.” The rebel heart she claimed to have in the title of this album’s 2015 predecessor is beating more loudly and passionately than ever before. Freed from the need to be number one with a bullet, Madonna finally has released an entire album that lives up to her reputation as one of pop’s greatest risk-takers. The first single, “Medellín,” is a deceptively lovely opening statement that only hints at the fire raging just ahead. The comparisons that have been made to an earlier Madonna single, “La Isla Bonita,” aren’t far off, but “Medellín,” named for Colombia’s second-largest city, has sharper edges, and its Latin swirl is more jagged. Colombian reggaeton rapper Maluma adds sexual tension to the mix, and when Madonna sings “Ven conmigo, let’s take a trip,” she sounds as inviting as she did cooing about the tropical island breeze in 1987. After that, true weirdness sets in. “Dark Ballet” and “God Control” are ambitious and sprawling, the closest Madonna may ever come to her own “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Dark Ballet” goes from piano ballad to electro-gospel dirge to something that could pass for Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” on mushrooms. It’s a pretty daring musical move to make only two songs in. And then, re-enter Madonna, political rabble-rouser, the woman we first caught a glimpse of on 2003’s “American Life.” Although she never name-drops on “God Control,” which veers from mournful to hopeful to defiant in the space of its six minutes and 30 seconds, the song is emblazoned with the spirit of anti-Trump. “This is a wake-up call,” she sings under a shimmering strobelight groove, not long after admitting, “I think I understand why people get a gun.” Not that she’s really about to join the right-to-bear-arms troops; as she later raps, “The only gun is in my brain.” “God Control” sets the primary doom-and-gloomy, politicized lyrical mood of “Madame X.” Her head may be locked and loaded, but that doesn’t mean she’s about to give Michelle Obama a run for her eloquence. Lyrically, Madonna’s political manifestos are no more sophisticated than they were 16 years ago. Her activism may be in the right place, but jejune clichés like “Open your mind” (on “Future”), “Life is a circle” (on “Extreme Occidental”) and “Died a thousand times” (on “Rise”) go low when she should be aiming higher. “Killers Who Are Partying” epitomizes Madonna’s trouble with words. “I know what I am, and I know what I’m not,” she sings, as if all too aware that she’ll be excoriated and nailed to the cross for swerving way outside of her lane with lyrics like “I will be gay, if the gay are burned / I will be Africa, if Africa is shut down / I will be poor, if the poor are humiliated.” In her defense, it would be a somewhat unfair crucifixion. Madonna wasn’t always a rich, white woman. She came from nothing and triumphed, against all odds, in an industry ruled by predatory alpha males. Just because she now lives in the penthouse doesn’t mean she doesn’t remember what it felt like to be the girl from the gutter, or that she can’t express empathy and solidarity without pity. Thankfully, the Midas touch of her old collaborator Mirwais still sparkes. He shares “Madame X” production credits with Mike Dean, Diplo, Billboard, Jason Evigan and Jeff Bhasker, and they’ve crafted solid state-of-the-art backdrops for Madonna’s musings. The electro gurgles, worldbeat flourishes and Madonna’s still-effective vocal presence (occasionally courtesy of AutoTune) make these 15 songs sing. “Madame X” is best, though, not when it goes all CNN on us but when it plays primarily like a musical travelogue, taking us to magical mystical places so fascinating that we might not even notice the stormclouds overhead. The electronic cha-cha swing of “Medellín” sounds like it was sun-kissed on the Cartagena coast before taking the love train south. “Batuka,” one of the album’s highlights, kicks off with Burundi-ish drumming and settles into a tribal rhythm that beats like Paul Simon’s “Graceland” relocated from Africa to South America. The lyrical conceit of “Killers Who Are Partying” might have stopped it dead in its tracks if it weren’t for the fado flourishes that flutter over it like a ribbon of darkness. No one will ever mistake Madonna for fado legend Amalia Rodrigues, but if she were singing in Portuguese, “Killers” wouldn’t sound so out of place on a Madredeus album. She’s been spending a lot of time in Lisbon, and the Portuguse influence is all over “Madame X.” She and Brazilian pop superstar Anitta perform “Faz Gostoso” mostly in Anitta’s native tongue, and the reggaeton jam is the best of the album’s five vocal mash-ups. Anitta offers a far more interesting female counterpoint to Madonna than her previous distaff collaborators Britney Spears (on “Me Against the Music”) and Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. (on “Give Me All Your Luvin’”). Despite frequent forays into foreign languages (Spanish and Portuguese), “Madame X” isn’t all musical exoticism. The white-girl hip-hop of “Crave” wouldn’t sound out of place on Ariana Grande’s latest album, and if it weren’t for the line “I’ll bend my knees for you, like a prayer” (one of several musical nods to the 30-year-old smash), “Crazy” could be a lost J.Lo ballad, which is not a good thing. “Like a Prayer” is the strongest musical antecedent here, but “Madame X” is packed with meta-Madonna moments. In addition to the lyrical “Prayer” nod on “Crazy,” “God Control” and “Batuka” feature backing choirs right out of the “Prayer” outro, while “The Future” quotes “Don’t Tell Me” from 2000’s “Music.” “Extreme Occidental” moves the self-referencing inward, chronicling Madonna’s journey from “the far right … to the far left” and “from the Midwest … to the Far East.” It’s a tad clunky, but then the singer’s trajectory has been, too. Not surprisingly, when introspective Madonna gives in to the dance diva within, “Madame X” is a smoother ride. If pop radio were more hospitable to galloping robo-pop techno punctuated by mariachi horns and sung by women over 50, “Come Alive” might be an anthem of the summer. And for those who miss her confessions on a dance floor, “I Don’t Search, I Find” is pure ’90s disco bliss, the album’s only non-stop party. But you likely won’t hear any of this playing on a radio near you. That’s what makes “Madame X” Madonna’s best album since “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” She’s confessing again, but this time, she’s not interested in editing herself for mass consumption. “Bitch I’m Loca” she announces on the album’s second Maluma duet (not to be confused with “Bitch I’m Madonna” from “Rebel Heart”). She’s not kidding, and her crazy is an incredible sound. Madonna “Madame X” Interscope Records https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/album-review-madonna-madame-x-173725525.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZmFjZWJvb2suY29tLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAHJ9u97Z7gfkoZl8zvAKGxWbAzSnTNGBjHZG7Bc7n0zVSBVGgGzLN6-biPwG5Cdcl5haoOC6n0ZIKsXUwAmCX_nexoWnt_0GnJzaMGC5O_qMFNH1yYfVEs47Tvp4weQF-d0gn7w2EZu3gBgkQ-uTlGV8qK3I-b7uTHXEk1STJu2s
  20. Phoebe

    Review

    If U Seek Amy Circus Phonography Lace and Leather Unusual You Trouble Shattered Glass Womanizer Kill the Lights Mannequin Quicksand Rock Me In Blur Amnesia Rock Boy Out From Under Mmm Papi My Baby The problem I have with this album is that when I listen to the songs individually, I love almost every single one, but on the album they don't flow well at all and that's why Circus will always be her messiest album after Britney Gene.
  21. Agent X

    Review

    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. 4.5/5 https://www.musicomh.com/reviews/albums/madonna-madame-x
  22. The album is the work of an artist reawakened, and one who’s got something to say 4/5 stars 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. If, metaphorically, Madame X represents Madonna’s rediscovery of her voice as an artist, then it also highlights the literal loss of it. Over the years, the soft edges of her voice have grown sharper, and the album’s pervasive vocal effects—most gratuitous on the electro-ragga “Future” and, to a lesser degree, the haunting “Looking for Mercy”—have a distancing effect. The heavy Auto-Tune on Music and American Life was deployed in service of larger conceptual themes like imperfection (“Nobody’s Perfect”) and anonymity (“Nobody Knows Me”), contrasted by the bare performances of more confessional songs like “Easy Ride.” Here, filters are indiscriminately thrown on nearly every song, which only serves to obscure Madonna’s humanity. On “Medéllin,” for example, her admission that “For once, I didn’t have to hide myself” is pointlessly cloaked in Auto-Tune, keeping us at a remove. 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. https://www.slantmagazine.com/music/review-madonna-madame-x-is-a-fearless-eccentric-musical-memoir/
  23. Agent X

    Review

    Madonna’s Madame X album, review: from the ridiculous to the heartfelt, her best in years ★★★★ Madonna is the queen of reinvention and Madame X, her 14th studio album, marks another new brilliant, bonkers chapter in her 37-year career. 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. 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. https://inews.co.uk/culture/madonna-madame-x-album-review/
  24. Agent X

    Review

    An intriguing, often brilliant, occasionally awful album 3 stars 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. Influenced by several years spent living in Portugal, and recorded in Lisbon, London, New York and Los Angeles, Madame X is such a cultural melange – Latin trills, Jamaican dancehall instrumentals, African drums, choral masses and disco beats crop up throughout – that it sometimes verges on collapsing in on itself. At other times, though, what is thrown at the wall sticks beautifully. “Come Alive”, which features London’s Tiffin Children’s Chorus, is vast and cinematic. “I Don’t Search I Find” is a cross between Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, a Nineties house track, and an orchestral Bond song (Madonna, of course, recorded the theme for Die Another Day in 2002). 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.” https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/madonna-review-madame-x-release-date-tracklist-tour-maluma-a8953221.html
  25. Agent X

    Review

    Expecting the unexpected is the wrong way to go into ‘Madame X’, after all, this is Madonna. If 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 https://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/madonna-madame-x
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