Madonna – Rebel Heart

Date Fri, March 13 2015

When I told a friend that I was going to be reviewing the new Madonna album, she paused. She had no idea Madonna even had a new CD, and she facetiously asked whether it was 1985. Of course, Madonna has been making music for more than the last 20 years, so it’s awesome that she’s got some new music, but we’d all understand if she had decided to settle down. She is nearly 60, after all.

But the “Like A Virgin” singer is going to have nothing of the sort. She’s put together 19 freakin’ songs for her new album, which is being heralded as the best in 10 years!

One2One sent me the deluxe version of “Rebel Heart.” It’s a long album you guys. This is great news if you’re been waiting oh-so-patiently for some new music from Madonna. The track listing is as follows:Madonna Rebel Heart

  1. “Living For Love”
  2. “Devil Pray”
  3. “Ghosttown”
  4. “Unapologetic Bitch”
  5. “Illuminati”
  6. “Bitch I’m Madonna” (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
  7. “Hold Tight”
  8. “Joan Of Arc”
  9. “Iconic” (Feat. Chance The Rapper & Mike Tyson)
  10. “HeartBreakCity”
  11. “Body Shop”
  12. “Holy Water”
  13. “Inside Out”
  14. “Wash All Over Me”
  15. “Best Night”
  16. “Veni Vidi Vici” (Feat. Nas)
  17. “S.E.X.”
  18. “Messiah”
  19. “Rebel Heart”

There are definitely some recurring themes in “Rebel Heart.” Most of them are themes you’d already be familiar with if you’re a fan or even remotely familiar with Madonna as an artist.

An irreverent attitude toward organized religion rears its head in a way that I find amusing, but some will find offensive. This is labeled explicit for a reason, after all! If you look at the track list, two of these songs are immediately apparent: “Devil Pray” and “Holy Water,” which is especially in your face with Madonna’s opinions.

However, “Devil Pray” is unique in sound and theme, making it one of my favorite tracks on the album. In it, Madonna sings:

And we can do drugs
And we can smoke weed
And we can drink whiskey

Yeah we can get high
And we can get stoned

And we can sniff glue
And we can do E
And we can drop acid

And she goes on to discuss how her actions will make the devil pray, hence the name of the song. I kind of love how irreverent and clever it is!

Another common theme is that Madonna is still a relevant “bitch.” I’m not sure if she’s trying too hard by using that slang, even in the title of songs such as “I’m Madonna Bitch,” but she’s not going to learn anyone forget that she’s still here doing the very thing some people argued she started before I was born.

Through her lyrics, Madonna issues a direct challenge to critics who think she shouldn’t still be making music.

Her relevant also shows up with some of the other musicians with whom she’s chosen to work, including Nicki Minaj and Nas. In “Ven Vidi Vici”, Nas raps about Ferguson, MO in one of the most relevant commentaries I’ve heard this year. And even if you aren’t big fans of those talents, it’s hard to ignore that she’s managed to combine unique song structure with modern sounds.

“Bitch I’m Madonna” and “Living For Love,” head lead single are both examples of these. The former would be especially at home in a club, as would “Holy Water,” another track where Madonna addresses an unknown “bitch” who’s trying to oust her from her throne.

Madonna has  included more rap styles than ever before, but she still pays homage to her original sounds. “Justify My Love” is sampled in one track, and she uses her voices in that interesting mechanical — but not autotuned — way several times.

There’s a variety in the type of pop that Madge has included in this album, including “Body Shop,” an homage to a mechanic who can work on her car and on her own mind overtime. It has almost a folksy/indie song, which I quite like.

Of course, Madonna dosn’t shy away from sex, either. Rebel Heart literally has a song called “S.E.X.”

I could name drop the rest of the tracks on “Rebel Heart” and wind up with a review that is as long as the album’s lyrics would be, but I ultimately think you’re going to have to listen to it yourself to see if you like. It’s complex. It’s explicit. It’s modern. It’s relevant. Above all, it’s Madonna.

Aside from the track above, more videos will be released on Youtube. The CD was released yesterday, so you can buy Rebel Heart on iTunes and Amazon.

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