Madonna: Rebel Heart (Live Nation)
Posted by: Mark Sutherland @ May 27, 2015
Madonna certainly still knows how to get your attention. But while there may have been the occasional misstep during her headline-grabbing comeback campaign – both metaphorical (eg her sometimes-controversial appropriation of various political figures as fellow “Rebel Hearts”) and literal (falling down the stairs during her performance at the BRIT Awards) – musically, Rebel Heart is her most sure-footed album in years. This may be because, while she continues to work with contemporary producers and collaborators (Diplo, Avicii, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj), she also allows herself a few backward glances at her own stellar pop career. So for every potty-mouthed, sex-obsessed clickbait club track (S.E.X), there’s also a wistful pop-soul anthem (Ghosttown). For every blippy bit of bleeding edge minimalism (Illuminati, Unapologetic Bitch), there’s a lush meditation on the perils of fame (Joan Of Arc) or her own mortality (Wash All Over Me). Musically, she’s not afraid to reference past triumphs such as Music (Devil Pray) or Vogue (Holy Water) while Veni Vidi Vici looks back in lyrical detail at the most remarkable pop career of the last 30 years. “I was fearless like a renegade,” she concludes, “I came, I saw, I conquered”. Long may she continue to do so.