Categories
Featured Madonna News Reviews

Madonna Is Many Things On New Her Album, But Most Importantly… She’s ‘Madame X’ (Review)

Madonna’s fourteenth studio album finds the singer entrenched in romance while fighting for justice.

If you’re a Madonna stan, you’re probably low-key super familiar with Madame X by now. The record leaked in full on Wednesday (June 12), but compared to the Rebel Heart era that’s an extremely incredible feat for the Queen of Pop, whose last era was tarnished by a criminal hacker who dispersed her music way, way ahead of schedule. Madonna compared the calamity to feeling raped, and though it was terrible, it created a triumphant woman we know as Madame X.

Prior to the official release, Madonna released a handful of songs. She kicked off the era with the sultry single, “Medellín,” featuring Maluma. On it, the two trade impassioned speech, but the video is even hotter. When Madonna licked Maluma’s feet whew child, I felt all sorts of ways. She ushered in the era with a few more buzz singles, including the politically charged track, “I Rise,” as well as “Future,” featuring Quavo, “Crave” featuring Swae Lee and the theatrics-heavy “Dark Ballet.” Madonna delivered an array of range in the Madame X tasters, and the full course is equally satisfying.

Madonna teamed up with longtime collaborator Mirwais Ahmadzaï for much of the album. He’s responsible for works featured on Music, American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor. He helped create one of the stand-out songs on the record, “I Don’t Search I Find.” The song shares a likeness to some of Madonna’s earlier works, but maintains a fresh vibe that sounds unlike anything else in 2019. She’s a chameleon transforming from one vibrant color to the next, highlighting warm vocals in the chorus, but delivers an icy statement halfway through. Meanwhile, Mirwais’ production shimmers in and out – it’s an intoxicating, gloriously crafted pop song.

“God Control” is another sparkly gem on Madame X co-crafted alongside Mirwais. Madonna’s auto-tune is full-blown on it in the beginning, but the six-minute song pivots into something else entirely a few minutes in. The haunting piano melody is replaced by a sticky disco beat before Madonna’s sassy sound hijacks the mood – she admits people think she’s insane, and to be perfectly honest Madame X could give a ****. Instead, she dances the night away under a white hot spotlight, taking the listener’s hand and catapulting them to outer space and into her own world.

Maluma was featured on the lead single, and their chemistry is undeniable. So infectious that he scored himself a second feature with “***** I’m Loca.” Of course you recall Rebel Heart‘s “***** I’m Madonna,” but this one’s less in-your-face. Maluma and Madonna are quite naughty together. At the end of the song, they trade nicknames. He’s Mr. Safe, and she’s Mrs. Crazy, but then things take a turn… a bigger turn then the toe-sucking scandal. “Where do you want me to put this?,” Maluma asks. “Um, you can put it inside,” Madonna replies, which prompts a schoolgirl giggle from her new song mate. It’s awkward, but Madame X isn’t here to tuck your kids in at night. It’s a reminder that Madonna continually deals with ageism (and the underlying subtext that women should stop wanting *** at some point), so the lyric, albeit a bit tacky, reinforces her feminine power.

Madonna shows she’s versatile on Madame X, but there are times when the momentum falls flat. “Faz Gostoso,” featuring Anitta, might certainly be a song that grows, but upon an initial listen it didn’t create the same buzz her features with Maluma or Swae Lee did. However, a music video treatment from Brazil’s pop princess could elevate the tune. Anitta never disappoints with her visuals, and she could breathe some much needed color into the grim, red and black planet where Madame X resides.

Madonna is THAT ***** in music, and she came through with Madame X. Is it her best effort ever? Well, it’s hard to compete with songs that have stood the test of time and paved the way for dozens of other pop superstars. Time is unforgiving, but she did put together a thoughtful body of work that explores new territory for her (despite teaming up with tried and true past collaborators). I hate that most other Madame X reviews will point out Madonna’s age, but it’s worth mentioning she continually pushes her artistry even after reaching a level of unimaginable fame and power. No, Madonna doesn’t get a trophy for being 60-years old and releasing an album… she gets one for doing something only a handful of recording artists can: release boundary-pushing songs that invoke thought and feeling. Madame X is many things, but one thing she isn’t is satisfied.



Categories
Carly Rae Jepsen Featured Reviews RX

Carly Rae Jepsen ‘Dedicated’ Album Review

THE NEW ALBUM FROM THE CANADIAN SINGER IS A VIBRANT REMINDER THAT POP WILL NEVER DIE.

Emotion had feeling but does Dedicated have heart? Carly Rae Jepsen’s fourth studio album is out and its disco influence should be enough to draw you in – even if the singer’s past efforts have not caught your attention.

While it’s not a hard turn from her previous sound, this new record has a couple of standout songs that are more mature, and two steps beyond the bubblegum pop sound we’ve grown accustomed to.

For pop lovers, there should be no doubt that Jepsen is a talented singer-songwriter, and that comes across while enjoying this new record. Just listen to the first song on the album: “Julien”. The opening track is by far one of her best. It’s a banger to sing and dance to with its blend of disco funk beats with pop melodies that live in your mind, radiating with infectious joy and emotion. So well measured in its structure, it allows the listener to sing along to Carly’s carefully crafted choruses and bust a move.

Categories
Billie Eilish Featured Reviews RX Songs

Review: Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” Is Dark Pop Badassery. Duh.

Billie Eilish flirts with controversy on the album opener.

I’ve listened to When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in full several times. It was one of the first times covering music I’ve felt disconnected from the generation before me. I FEEL OLD. Eilish, 17, could very well be a pop princess of her class (she’ll snarl at the thought, but bookmark me), and one of her new tunes, “Bad Guy,” is indicative of the singing teen sensation’s star power.

Categories
Avril Lavigne Featured News Reviews RX

I Just Want A Bigger Wow: Avril Lavigne – ‘Head Above Water’ (Album Review)

Avril Lavigne’s sixth studio album, Head Above Water, is brimming with sugary sweet mid-tempos about love, loss and lessons learnt, but lacks variety.

The viral Internet hoax that Avril died and was replaced by a clone named Melissa to keep the funds flowing is officially case closed. Eerily, the real Avril came close to a version of that unfortunate destiny. The singer was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and it nearly killed her. Rightfully so, she calls some of the time in between her last album, 2013’s self-titled, and now, “the worst years of [her life].” Complications from the bacterial infection became so dire, Avril said she made peace with dying, and that moment of despair – her rock bottom – inspired the album’s name and lead single. Her resurgence is a recurring theme throughout Head Above Water, an album that flexes Lavigne’s songwriting skills and soaring vocals like never before. But the carefully crafted hooks and similar piano / guitar-lead production creates a lull, and that’s shame considering she has an arsenal of heroic memories to draw from and sing about.