Madame X is a dog’s dinner, but delicious! Annoyingly, Madonna somehow managed to become a joke, at least within my circle of friends. That is not because of her age as many would assume, but her rather desperate efforts to follow the trends and appear “on top of the music world”.
The last few albums from Madge could be described as good pop, but nothing groundbreaking. As mentioned before, Madonna started following the trends (often poorly) instead of setting them. That is not the case with Madame X, her best album in over a decade. To be honest, I felt Madonna would start making deeper material as soon as I heard she relocated to Portugal. She’s a very influence-sensitive artist, with the effective ability to absorb the unknown into the zeitgeist. The album includes elements of Latino, African instruments, acoustic sounds, bits of disco, singing in Portuguese and intentional overuse of vocoder (often annoying).
Medellin is a great lead single and album opener. I’m a fan of the composition, the combination of dreamy verses with catchy Latino Pop hooks.
Bohemian Rhapsody-structured Dark Ballet is a real mess. What starts as a piano ballad later turns into a Daft Punky, vocodery, psychedelic bedtime story. Lyrically starts strong, ends a bit cringeworthy (“Can’t you see outside of your Supreme hoodie?”)
God Control isn’t much different in terms of the structure. Gun control-related lyrics sang monotonously with a choir of monks in the background later transform into a strange Daft Punk extravaganza.
Then we have Future, in my personal opinion the worst track on the album, but it might be the matter of me highly disliking both Quavo and reggae music.
Batuka offers crazy percussion and ends beautifully with a violin outro.
Killers who are partying is yet another story. From my observation, fans love this kind of Madonna – an indie-acoustic pretentious witch. Most critics do hate it though. I will be gay if the gay are burnt, I will be Africa if Africa is shot down – Madge lists everyone she feels sorry for with very interesting instrumentation. A bit of an eyebrow-raising moment but I don’t care, it’s Madonna, after all. She lost the plot ages ago.
Crave could have been great without Swae Lee and his moany vocal efforts. The song itself is an interesting combination of acoustic guitar and a trippy beat, so it’s nothing more but a wasted chance.
Crazy isn’t very interesting either but it’s a good introduction to Come Alive. Acoustic percussion, some sick, melted strings in the background and subtle vocals make a good combination yet again.
If you’ve been blessed with a deluxe edition, you can listen to Extreme Occident which includes a lovely melody with vulnerable vocals and oriental instruments. It’s one of my personal favourites.
Faz Gostoso is a true bop with one of the catchiest hooks on the album. Rapper Anitta is featured on this godly bop and together with Madonna, they created one of the best up-tempo songs in Madonna’s discography.
Bitch, I’m Loca is a second collaboration with Maluma. Must be a nice listen for fans of this type of music, however, its location on the tracklist confuses me as the song doesn’t hold as strong artistic value as the ones behind and after it.
I don’t search I find could easily be played in Studio 54. With an addictive beat, disco era-inspired dance track reminds me a bit of I Feel Love by Donna Summer and something you could hear in London’s Vauxhall at 6 am, high on ****, drinking Stella in the smoking area. And this kind of Madonna I want to listen to.