The Sun (June 15 2019)
Daily Mirror (June 15 2019)
Coming 36 years after her self-titled debut, Madonna’s Madame X might just be one of the most exciting, baffling and bold albums of her career. Influenced by her life in Lisbon, London, New York and LA, Madame X is dizzying in its range of influences. There’s Latin pop, house, disco, reggaeton, trap, even classical snatches of Tchaikovsky. Many moments impress, mostly because of how much they surprise: Madonna, below, revels, as always, in being unpredictable. read more →
Madame X is the rare album from a veteran artist that puts earlier records in a different light. Ever since the 1980s, the conventional wisdom about Madonna claimed she brought trends from the musical underground for the purpose of pop hits, but Madame X — a defiantly dense album that has little to do with pop, at least in the standard American sense — emphasizes the artistic instincts behind these moves. The shift in perception stems from Madonna embracing a world outside of the United States. While she’s been an international superstar since the dawn of her career, Madonna relocated to Lisbon, Portugal in 2017, a move that occurred two years after Rebel Heart — an ambitious record balanced between revivals of old styles and new sounds — failed to burn up any Billboard chart outside of Dance singles. These two developments fuel Madame X, an album that treats America as a secondary concern at best. Madonna may address the political and social unrest that’s swept across the globe during the latter years of the 2010s, but her commentary is purposely broad. Perhaps Madonna errs on the side of being a little bit too broad — on “Killers Who Are Partying,” she paints herself as a martyr for every oppressed voice in the world — yet this instinct to look outside of her experience leads her to ground Madame X in various strains of Latinx sounds, trap, and art-pop, music that not only doesn’t sound much like the American pop charts in 2019, but requires focused attention in a manner that makes the songs not especially friendly to playlisting. read more →
Rylan interviewed Madonna for the BBC The One Show.
The Show airs Monday June 17th at 7pm on BBC One.
The Big Read – Madonna: ”People pick on me. That’s just the way it is”
Controversy has followed Madonna through her entire career. Too loud, too outrageous, too provocative, too everything. But if you ever thought she’d slow down, think again. Her latest reincarnation, Madame X, is an eye-patch-wearing alter-ego bent on saying the unsayable, pushing the boundaries and cha-cha-cha-ing her way to pop glory. NME Editor Charlotte Gunn has an audience with the Queen Of Pop in London.
It’s 11PM in a low-key Marylebone hotel and, in the bar, a small cabal of journalists wait for an audience with an icon, each one slightly sick with nerves, some drinking to steady them, others silently reading through their notes.
Down a corridor and inside a large suite, a quite-perfect figure sits on the couch. Dressed in a polka-dot, flamenco-style dress, fitted black military jacket and – most notably – wearing an elaborate eyepatch which we now know to be synonymous with the latest era of her career, there, right there, is Madonna.
“Je suis fatigué,” she says, with movie-star drama. It’s been a long day.
Now, if there’s one way for a major music icon to disarm an already-flustered journalist, it’s by dressing like a pirate. Do I mention the eyepatch? Do I not? I decide it’s unwise and spend the 30 minutes that follow trying desperately not to stare. Turns out, the eyewear is the signature garb of Madame X, a multi-faceted persona the world will become familiar with in the coming weeks, thanks not least to a controversial appearance at Eurovision in Tel Aviv, but, at the time of our meeting, is having her first semi-public outing. I should have guessed there was more to it – Madonna doesn’t get pink eye.
Earlier that day, NME is summoned to Universal’s offices in London to hear Madonna’s very-very-strictly-under-lock-and-key 14th studio album, ‘Madame X’. The record, out today (June 14), is not a one-listen beast: a brilliant, surprising and, at points, utterly baffling collection of songs inspired by Madonna’s move to Lisbon to become a “soccer mom” in 2017, and the eclectic music scene she found herself immersed in after upping sticks.
Madonna’s third child (of six), 13-year-old David Banda, has aspirations of being a professional footballer, and with Lisbon home to some of the best football academies in the world, and Madonna taking a liking to the “charming” city, they decided to move the family out there. When we meet, Madame X, the mother, is feeling homesick: “David has a week off from school right now but he has a tournament so he couldn’t be here. I call him up, like: ‘I’m really sorry, I miss you so much, I love you so much’ and he’s like, ‘Mom! I love it, stop apologising, it’s great.’” read more →
Anarchic free-spirited roots are resurrected and recalibrated on the latest instalment in Madonna’s four-decade career which has yielded innumerable conceptual incarnations and abundant controversy.
Her provocateur credentials are revitalised to an extent on Madame X, with socio-political themes embedded in its essence and current societal discord interpreted through an inimitable dystopic lens. A chameleon-like reputation for reinvention is secured and self-referenced, as she occupies various personas, such as a head of state, a freedom fighter and a spy in the house of love. This consistent transience extends beyond its premise to a multilingual scope; fluidly flitting between English, Portuguese and Spanish, delivering lyrical wit with an economy that has proved a definitive trait of her oeuvre. read more →
Update – video: