ALBUM REVIEW: Madonna – Rebel Heart

Rebel Heart

Poor Madonna isn’t having the best of luck at the moment with a collection of demo’s from her new album “Rebel Heart” leaked in December resulting in the project to be moved forward with a surprise ITunes release of 6 songs and a pre-order going live on December 20. Lead Single “Living For Love” has failed to chart with the interest for the project rapidly dying. The album has now been leaked in its entirety a month early slightly killing this project even more.

Opening with the radiant “Living For Love”, this EDM pop track is an intriguing mixture of old school Madonna and MDNA era dance beats captivating the listener with an infectious hook and slick production.  It doesn’t take Madge long to get dark with the precocious “Devil Pray” delivering hard beats and blunt lyrics. “And we can do drugs, and we can smoke weed and we can drink whisky. Yeah we can get high and we get stoned. And we can sniff glue, and we can do E and we can drop acid. Forever been lost with no way home”. It quickly becomes one of the album highlights and you will find yourself constantly going back to listen to it. “Holy Water” is another dark dance track with lyrics like “Bitch get off my pole”, “kiss it there, Don’t it taste like holy water” and “Jesus love my pussy” that will instantly get people talking. Sampling “Vogue” she gives the song an old school throwback that will leave you slightly confused. “Inside Out” is a sexual confession that fuses innocence with sexually clad lyrics. With its gritty beat and interesting vocal delivery, you can’t help but want to hear more.

Over the past couple of years it has become apparent that Madonna loves creating some trashy EDM tracks that can either turn out incredibly well or cringe worthy bad. “Illuminati” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” bring a fun vibe to the album delivering catchy hooks and name drops that will have you screaming. But it’s the tacky songs like “Unapologetic Bitch” and “Iconic” that leave you rolling your eyes because it’s over produced, auto-tuned garbage that wouldn’t have even made it onto “Britney Jean”. She redeems herself with some impressive ballads that don’t heavily rely on attention seeking lyrics or auto tune to impress. “Ghosttown”, “HeartBreak City” and “Hold Tight” impress the most with their slight EDM beats and captivating vocals that take these pop ballads to a whole new level. These will easily become three fans favourites after the first listen and will have even the biggest Madonna critics retracting their statements. Saying that her ballads get boring after a while and you’ll find yourself skipping the forgettable “Joan Of Arc”, “BodyShop” and “Wash All Over Me”. They don’t even deserve a second listen.

At fourteen tracks long the standard edition of “Rebel Heart” is lengthy enough and impresses in parts and disappoints with over production in others. It’s as if she’s trying too hard to be weird or different and with any collaborator at her fingertips this album should have been a lot better. The only song I see being a potential commercial hit is “Living For Love” and at this rate that’s not happening any time soon. She needs to revisit her “Hard Candy and “Confessions On A Dancefloor” era’s because that’s when she truly slayed pop music.

The deluxe edition offers ELEVEN more songs with only two tracks standing out as real highlights. “Rebel Heart” is a country tinged, AVICI produced, low key dance track that impresses because it’s so natural and not overwhelming in your face. I would love to hear Madonna tackle more songs like this and take a more el-natural route. “Addicted” is a fun EDM banger that should have made the standard album track listing. It reminds me of the “Confessions On A Dancefloor” era with the disco tinged throwback hook. The production is on point and deserves all the praise. For the other 9 tracks, I wouldn’t bother wasting your time. I’m not even going to bother mentioning them.

“Rebel Heart” has some strong material but its riddled with messy b-side worthy tracks that shouldn’t have seen the light of day. If you follow my guide below you will have a pleasant Madonna listening session;

Thomas Bleach Approved “Rebel Heart” Tracklisting;

  1. “Living For Love”
  2. “Devil Pray”
  3. “Ghosttown”
  4. “Illuminati”
  5. “Bitch I’m Madonna” (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
  6. “Hold Tight”
  7. “HeartBreak City”
  8. “Holy Water”
  9. “Inside Out”
  10. “Rebel Heart”
  11. “Addicted”
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