Speaking about falling during her BRIT Awards performance, Madonna admitted she was hurt: “I didn’t hurt my butt, I hurt my head. I did. I know how to fall, I’ve fallen off my horse many times and I tucked and I have good core strength… but the thing is, I had a little bit of a whiplash and I smacked the back of my head so there was a man standing over me with a flashlight until about 3am making sure that I was still compos mentis.”
And on some people suggesting that her fall was a stunt because of the lyrics of her song, Living for Love, Madonna shook her head and said: “I’m never writing lyrics like that again! The universe was trying to teach me a lesson I guess.”
The Queen of Pop added: “I’m a creature of habit and I rehearse everything – everything, everything, everything – and I was thrown a wrench at the very beginning of my entrance. I was told to tie my cape and start much further back than we had rehearsed so because I had to walk so much further, everybody was worried that my cape was going to slide off because it’s quite heavy so they tied it really tight around my neck… So here I am marching in like a queen and I got to the top of the stairs and I pulled my silky string and it would not come undone and my two lovely japanese dancers basically strangled me off the stage. I had a choice, I could either be strangled or fall with the cape and I fell.”
Madonna – who did not want to watch the clip back during her interview – continued: “It was a horrible nightmare because I like to be amazing. Seriously I rehearse and I rehearse and I rehearse so that when I do the show, it’s effortless and I create magic and I did the opposite. I actually created a horror show for everyone,” she joked.
Transmission: Sat 14 Mar 2015
Time: 9.25pm – 10.25pm
Madonna during the taping of Jonathan Ross show in London (February 26 2015)
Two events have blighted the release of Madonna’s thirteenth album. One, obviously, was her spectacular tumble at The Brits, but another was the online leak in December of 13 demos earmarked for the record. So in a perverse way, it’s fitting that ‘Rebel Heart’ feels like a Madonna album for the internet era. Available in editions with 14, 19 or 25 tracks, it’s a disparate, drawn-out collection that’s begging to be condensed into shorter playlists.
No matter which version you buy, you’ll find Madonna alternating between showing off, getting off and taking stock. On ‘Holy Water’ – a brilliantly ridiculous hymn to cunnilingus – she manages all three on the same song, dropping a reference to her classic hit ‘Vogue’ and boasting that either Jesus or Yeezus ‘loves my pussy best’. Her voice is so heavily distorted that it’s left to us to decide whether she’s taunting the Vatican or Kim Kardashian.
Some of the sassy stuff is excellent, especially the catchy, trap-tinged ‘Iconic’ and defiant dancehall of ‘Unapologetic Bitch’, on which Madonna tells a selfish ex-boyfriend: ‘I’m poppin’ bottles that you can’t even afford.’ The house-flavoured lead single ‘Living for Love’ is also a highlight, its resilient lyrics gaining additional pathos following last night’s already legendary mishap. ‘Lifted me up and watched me stumble,’ Madonna sings. ‘I’m gonna carry on.’
But ‘Rebel Heart’s very best moments come when Madonna gets reflective. She shows her vulnerable side on ‘Joan of Arc’, a sublime electro-folk ballad, while the affecting title track finds her confronting her past as a ‘narcissist’ over some wistful acoustic guitar chords.
It all adds up to a sprawling and varied selection box that’s definitely worth cherry-picking from. ‘Rebel Heart’ may lack cohesion, but she’s definitely not down for the count: this contains some of the best music Madonna’s made in a decade.
3 out of 5 stars
France 2 aired a brief interview with Madonna. Video is available at francetvinfo.fr. Madonna’s part starts around 37:45 and it’s all dubbed in French.