Albumism 50 Best Albums of 2019
12. Madonna – Madame X
According to Mark J. Marraccini: “Madonna’s radically adventurous and globally-inspired Madame X polarized fans and critics for good reason. It’s her least accessible album, but it’s also up there with the best she’s ever made….Years from now, we’ll look back on Madame X as the Madonna album that’s most closely aligned with the real Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, and one of her most artistically audacious and authentic offerings.”
Billboard The 50 Best Albums of 2019: Staff Picks
46. Madonna, Madame X
After two albums of Madonna sounding like she was largely playing catch-up to mainstream trends (2012’s EDM-courting MDNA and 2015’s collaborator-stuffed Rebel Heart), the pop GOAT decided to go back to blazing her own trail, and not looking over her shoulder at how many were following her lead. Top 40 and streaming audiences might not have been particularly amenable to her genre-hopping free-for-all, but longtime fans found plenty to chew on in the set’s unpredictable excursions — including a Walter Carlos-like dip into synthified Tchaikovsky in “Dark Ballet,” a Random Access Memories-worthy prog-disco odyssey in “God Control,” and a welcome return to Latin pop in the breezy Maluma team-ups “Medellín” and “Bitch I’m Loca.” Madge can rest assured that anyone still trekking along with her at this point is in for the long haul, and excited as ever for what twists and turns lay ahead.
Billboard 2019 Album of the Year Fan Poll
From our poll picks, the top three fan favorites were Madonna’s Madame X (with 47% of the vote), Celine Dion’s Courage (with 25% of the vote) and Billboard’s own No. 1, Ariana Grande’s thank u, next, at third (with 7% of the vote).
Good Morning America 50 Best Albums of 2019
49. MADONNA – “MADAME X” (DELUXE) Thirty-six years after her debut, Madonna doesn’t seem to aim for the pop charts in a calculated way. Sure, the politically-charged, “I Rise” is a rather traditional pop-anthem, but much of the record finds her in performance-artist mode. This is a spiky, tangled collection. Don’t let the chilled vibe of the Maluma-assisted, “Medellín” fool you. Sure, it is indicative of the Latin-tinged, digital haze heard across the record, but once “Dark Ballet” morphs into a computerized protest-fueled nod to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” it becomes immediately evident that this is one of her strangest and most compelling albums to date. With highlights like “God Control” and the densely-constructed and blunt “Killers Who Are Partying,” Madonna makes “Madame X,” a cleverly-constructed protest record, meant to be examined as a piece of art. Madonna still courts controversy, but with a unique, globally-minded sense of maturity.
Idolator 55 Best Music Videos of 2019
38. “Medellín” – Madonna feat. Maluma
Toe sucking and wedding wear. Madonna introduced us to the titular character of her latest album Madame X and got into all sorts of trouble with collaborator Maluma when they linked up to film a rebellious and predictably sexy video for “Medellín.”
1. “God Control” – Madonna
Madonna’s hard-to-watch but utterly vital “God Control” video is an 8-plus minute demand for gun reform. This is the sort of art that proves the Queen of Pop still has her finger on the pulse and is creating work that is both visually striking and capable of speaking to larger cultural issues.
Idolator The 20 Best Pop Albums Of 2019
9. Madame X — Madonna
Key tracks: “God Control” and “Crave”
Imagine being 40 years into your career and still pushing the boundaries of pop. Only Madonna can relate. Madame X, the Queen of Pop’s 14th LP, is a concept album about a globe-trotting super-heroine with revolution on the brain. Madonna brings the project to life with vibrant, world music-inspired bops like “Medellin” and “Batuka,” and mind-melting experiments like “I Don’t Search I Find” and “Killers Who Are Partying.” It doesn’t always work, but when it does, this result is electric.
MOJO The 75 Best Albums of 2019
67. Madonna – Madame X
(from January 2020 issue)
New York Post Best and Worst Songs of 2019
8. Madonna, “I Don’t Search I Find”
Although the adventurous “Madame X” won’t go down as the favorite Madonna album of any Madge fan, this club jam mixes the EDM of “Confessions on a Dance Floor” and the deep-house pose of “Vogue” to disco-ball-dizzying effect.
45. Madonna, ‘Madame X’ (Interscope)
In a nutshell: The ultimate pop icon taps into the Latin pop zeitgeist
On her best album in years, Madonna returned under the guise of ‘Madame X’, an alter-ego that encompassed roles of a mother, child, teacher, spy, nun, saint, and more. The album that shared her new pseudonym was similarly imaginative, pulling together inspiration from the Latin-pop and Batuque music she’d been exposed to since moving to Lisbon, Portugal. Ultimately, ’Madame X’ represented an eclectic, masterful new phase that stood tall amid her inimitable back catalogue.
Key track: ‘Medellín’.
Best moment: The glittery pop waltz of ‘Crazy’’s chorus. RD
12. Madonna, Madame X
With their naïve—some might say crude—expressions of bloody-hearted empathy, there’s something almost Björkian about songs such as “God Control” and “Killers Who Are Partying.” English is, of course, Madonna’s first language, and lyrics like “I’ll be Africa/If Africa is shut down” are received with less generosity when one’s claws are already out. We expect pop stars to stay in their lane, but Madonna is at heart a rock auteur, with all of the inclinations toward upending the status quo and expressing a singular vision that designation implies. Inspired by her time living in Lisbon, where she was surrounded by musicians and art in a way she hadn’t been since her pre-fame days in the East Village, Madame X plays like a musical memoir, sometimes literally: “I came from the Midwest/Then I went to the Far East/I tried to discover my own identity,” she sings on “Extreme Occident.” The album is far from her creative zenith, but it’s her most fearless effort in at least 15 years—the sound of an artist who’s got no more fucks to give.
12. Madonna, “God Control”
Madonna has a reputation for being a trendsetter, but her true talent lies in bending those trends to her will, twisting them around until they’re barely recognizable. Madame X’s pièce de résistance, at least in that regard, is the six-minute “God Control,” which begins with the queen of pop conjuring the spirit and disaffected monotone of Kurt Cobain—“I think I understand why people get a gun/I think I understand why we all give up,” she sings through clenched teeth—before the whole thing implodes into a euphoric, densely layered samba-disco-gospel mash-up. Madonna’s vocals alternate between Auto-Tuned belting, urgent whispers, and Tom Tom Club-style rapping as she takes on the gaslight industrial complex and so-called political reformers. On paper, it might sound like the ingredients for a musical Hindenburg, but—somewhere around the midpoint, when she declares, “It’s a con, it’s a hustle, it’s a weird kind of energy!”—it all coheres into the most exhilaratingly batshit thing she’s done in years.