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15 years online

Madame X – Record Collector Review

Globe-spinning mishmash
At its most interesting, Madonna’s first album in four years conjures up a few surprises, not least the tempo-twisting Dark Ballet and its mash-up minimalist piano, vocoder-voiced bridge borrowing from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and trip-hop undertones. There’s also much to admire in the sweeping Philadelphia soul and Vogue-like chants of God Control, or the noir-esque balladry of I Don’t Search, I Find. It’s hamstrung, however, by an over-reliance on by-the-book Latin motifs, often accompanied by Portuguese or Spanish-language vocals and woolly protest lyrics like, “I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated/I’ll be Israel if they’re incarcerated” (Killers Who Are Partying). Coupled with excursions into pedestrian African tribal rhythms and generic Jamaican dancehall, it gives the impression of a woman pitching jingles for a Benetton commercial. Teny Staunton

3 out of 5 stars

Record Collector