Madonna is back this week with her brand new album 'Rebel Heart' after a nasty dose of 'MDNA', proving that even the reigning Queen of Pop has her slip-ups, yet is able to get back on her feet. This is an LP with catchy tunes made especially for the genre alongside powerful ballads and boundary-pushing alternative tracks with just one or two blips across its heavy catalogue.
Opening with her now infamous 'Living For Love' dance number, she starts on a high and ensures that the quality throughout the rest of the record is on a constant. Diplo's influence as a producer on the track is clear and it's great to hear Madonna once again having fun with her work. She's not taking herself too seriously, she's not coming across as desperate and she's finally letting her hair down.
With 'Ghosttown' she's showing off her vocals in a big chorus that lifts up the listener through her raw emotional grit - something that has been lacking with Madonna as of late. It's a love ballad detailing the apocalypse and how love is the only force that can keep people together "In this mad mad world".
Then there's the incredible 'Joan Of Arc' which details her internal fight created from being in the spotlight of media worldwide: "Each time they take the photograph / I lose a part I can't get back / I wanna hide / This is the part where I detach". She goes on to say how her "soul" is dragged "into the dirt" and she never admits her wanting to "die", "each time they write a hateful word". It's a moving and rare glimpse into her psyche and one listeners should be grateful for.
Through collaborations, Madonna is here hitting all of the right notes alongside Avicii, Diplo, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj amongst others, but the addition of Nas and Mike Tyson unfortunately don't do anything to elevate their respective tracks. Despite that, 'Iconic' is still one that allows reflection upon the genre this lady has helped form.
Top marks also go to 'Unapologetic Bitch', 'Illuminati' and 'Bitch I'm Madonna' featuring Nicki Minaj, all which come one after the other in the album's best 12-minute moment. The attitude is slick with Madonna giving us the persona that's become customary. In short - she's unapologetic if you can't take her music for what it is.
Where she falters is with the slightly cringeworthy songs that delve into the world of sex. It's fine for an older woman to be sexual and it's quite clear that this is the direction that pop music is headed in today, but with Madonna having redefined what it is to create a pop song in the past, she could have skipped the likes of 'Holy Water' and 'S.E.X.' altogether in favour of something more thought-provoking.
Overall Madonna shows here that she's a woman who has been through the ringer. It's hard being a female popstar at the time of your game, and it's even harder maintaining that spot whilst constantly being criticised by the masses across the globe. Fighting through it all whilst living a very public life, she's come out the other end with another brilliantly successful album which should once more lift her to the peaks of her career. 'Rebel Heart' is Madonna's most consistent and impressive release in around a decade. The Queen of Pop is finally back.
'Rebel Heart' is out now, as well as lead single 'Living For Love'.
Tagged in Madonna