Madonna has found a new soul mate.
“Kanye is the new Madonna,” she tells the Daily News. “Kanye is the black Madonna.”
The connection goes far deeper than the fact that West collaborated on three tracks on the icon’s new album, “Rebel Heart,” out Tuesday.
The rapper has become the star people most love to loathe — a role Madonna has proudly held for decades.
After all, we’re talking about a woman who outraged the world by appearing fully nude in her “Sex” book, was banned by her greatest supporter, MTV, for her S&M video “Justify My Love,” had the Catholic League calling for her head for singing a song while hanging from a cross on her “Confessions” tour, and angered even the unflappable David Letterman by cursing up a storm on his TV show.
Madonna says she and Kanye have talked about their shared flair for pushing people’s buttons. “We know, and recognize, that we have that in common,” she says. “We’re comrades in the envelope-pushing genre.”
Madonna has hardly slouched in that pursuit of late. She has appalled untold people with her continued display of her body at an age many find inappropriate.
“Bitch, this is what my ass looks like — show me what your ass looks like when you’re 56,” Madonna says when asked what she’d say to those who found it offensive, if not disgusting, that, at that age, she showed parts of her behind to a worldwide audience at the Grammys.
“I take care of myself. I’m in good shape. I can show my ass when I’m 56, or 66 — or 76. Who’s to say when I can show my ass? It’s sexism. It’s ageism. And it’s a kind of discrimination.”
The reaction is vintage Madonna — righteous, combative and, just under the surface, hurt.
That particular mix of feelings, and attitudes, comes up often during an interview, held in an appropriately rarefied environment.
Madonna chose to talk to the Daily News at the Upper East Side headquarters of Sotheby’s, the world’s highest-end auction house. Sitting in a room with Picasso masterpieces staring down at her, she holds court in a gothically-black dress that makes her look like a Victorian girl gone bad.
Up close, Madonna appears far different than she does in any picture or TV show. She’s incredibly fine-boned, still with a ballerina’s figure, and a far more feminine and pretty face than any photo captures. The bird-like scale of her body and the delicate nature of her features make a jarring contrast to her larger-than-life personality and her outsized impact on the world.
Her small size also contrasts her considerable physical strength. She bounced back immediately from her fall-seen-round-the-world at the Brit Awards. She has credited her resilience to years of vigorous workouts and her commitment to healthy living.
Her core strength also pours through in every quote. It’s that balance — between the vulnerable soul and the warrior pop star — that Madonna uses to anchor “Rebel Heart.”
Even so, more songs tip in the direction of the wounded. She sings about the press bringing her to secret tears, the photographers who rob her soul, and a recent love affair that ended horribly.
“I’m only human,” she says. “I’d like to get to the point where nothing can shake me. Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not.”
The deeper vulnerability in Madonna’s songs dovetails with one particularly surprising aspect of the album. It’s the first to find this famously forward-thinking star looking back. In the title song she assesses her life and career, saying she “barely made it through.”