Madonna is an icon, an innovator and a legend. We’ve been fans for a minute and even her last couple of records had merits in terms of features or in terms of pop sensibilities. We think for any artist to grow, they have to mix things up to truly evolve-something that Madonna has done with pretty much every release. However with her latest album Madame X, all of the reinvention in the world can’t hep that it’s generally uninteresting and vague across the board.
The album essentially just doesn’t ever really hit, or at least when it hits you’ve already lost interest. The features from Maluma, Quavo, Swae Lee and Anita are some of the higher points of the album, but that’s essentially it. The bulk of the songs have a long run time in an era where songs typically don’t go over the three minute mark. The production and the songwriting on the record feels terse and pulled back, a far cry from the Latin influence that Madge claims is where the album’s sound comes from. Auto-tuned vocals from Madonna don’t help either, not does the bizarre vocal treatments that make her voice sound unnatural throughout the release.
Aside from strange sounding vocals, long run times and songs that take a bit too long to really bring the passion and the energy that the music should, there are a few exceptions. “Future (with Quavo)” definitely works, though there are aspects of the track that feel a bit overproduced. The song may contain many of the problems cited earlier, but it’s also not as bad as some of the other tracks. “Bitch I’m Loca (feat. Maluma)” is another track that shines, though the biggest standout is the song “Come Alive.” The opening beat alone is worth giving it a listen. Madonna is in a stage where she can do whatever she wants, and this is song is an example of what we wished this album had more of. Pure pop mixed with Latin overtones and quality production. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough of that here.
Madame X is available to stream on all platforms, it can be purchased in all digital music retailers and the album is available directly from Live Nation. Madonna will be on tour beginning September 12 in Brooklyn, NY at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House until March 01, 2020 in Paris, France at Le Grand Rex. A complete list of her upcoming appearances can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of IGA.