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 effective ability of absorbing the unknown into the zeitgeist. The album includes elements of Latino, African instruments, acoustic sounds, bits of disco, singing in Portuguese and intentional over use 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 goodnight 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 structure. Gun control-related lyrics sang monotonously with a choir(the monks from Met Gala and Eurovision?”) 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 – a humanitarian indie acoustic 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 a very interesting instrumentation. I don’t care, I love it! Crave would be great without Swae Lee and his moaning. The song itself is an interesting combination of acoustic guitar and a beat. Crazy isn’t very interesting lyrically but it’s a good introduction to Come Alive. Acoustic percussion, melted strings in the background and subtle vocals make a good combination yet again.
If you’re blessed with a deluxe edition, you can listen to Extreme Occident which includes a lovely melody with vulnerable vocals and oriental instruments. 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 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 pleasant listen for fans of this type of music, however its location on the track list 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 MDMA, drinking Stella in a smoking area. And this kind of Madonna I want to listen to.