What I love about [‘Body Shop’] is that the music of it is folksy and almost made me think a little of a lullaby, but then you listen to the words and they’re …
Was that your intention to contrast the instrumental and the music with the lyrics?
Was it intentional? No. Again, it just happened. I was working with Toby Gad, who spent a lot of time in India. There’s a sitar. The song has a very Indian flavor to it. I liked the idea of the body of a car as a kind of sexual metaphor — What you do to a car, what you do in a car — drive. So, lots of innuendos, lots of fun and we all love a really cute mechanic, right?
Your music has shaped the lives of multiple generations of pop and dance music fans. When you set out to create an album, do you feel any sort of responsibility to that fanbase at all?
I don’t feel like I have a responsibility from a sonic point of view, but I do feel like I have a responsibility to impart some kind of wisdom and inspiration to people.
Of all these collaborators you’ve worked with on this album, what was the biggest surprise that came from that?
I felt like I wrote a lot of good songs with Avicii’s writing team, and I didn’t expect that. I ended up writing a lot of personal and very soulful songs with them — who I refer to as my viking harem — who are all really wonderful, intelligent, soulful people. And they made me feel really comfortable. So I guess I felt like I was safe enough to write those kinds of songs, and that surprised me.
We’re all very excited about the upcoming tour, can you give us a preview?
No. Why would I do that? I want it to be a surprise for you.
I think [the ‘Living For Love’ video] was your first time bringing kind of what you do with your tour visuals and bringing it to a full-on music video concept. Is that something we’re going to get to see again?
The thing about that song, it’s such a passionate song, I had to present it in a passionate way. I used mythology to tell the story, with the story of the minotaur and the matador and fighting and fighting for love and the color red and flowers and horns and death and naked men. You know, the important things in life. I don’t want to make every video the same, but I did love the richness of that video. To me, it felt like a painting that came to life. That’s what I was trying to do. I wouldn’t want to do that for every video. When I do ‘Bitch I’m Madonna,’ it’s going to be a whole different aesthetic.
At this stage in your career, what still frightens you?
What are you reading right now?
I’m trying to get through two different books. One is The Goldfinch and the other is a Bob Fosse biography.
Do your kids have a favorite song of yours?
They really love ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’. That’s my teenagers’ favorite song. My son David’s favorite song — he plays guitar — and he likes ‘Devil Pray.’ That’s his favorite.
What do you love the most about pop music?
I love how accessible it is.
What do you despise about pop music?
Despise? That’s such a strong word. I’m not crazy about how sort of homogenized it’s become. It used to be much more diverse. Maybe it’s just what’s played on the radio sounds very much the same. But I can’t say I despise, that’s just too much. In our house we don’t use words like ‘despise’ and ‘hate,’ we say ‘strongly dislike.’