The woman who has always been above social media has been having a torrid affair with it of late. 2014 shall forever be known by this fan as the year the Material Girl embraced Instagram and treated us to everything from gratuitous boob selfies to her homage to hairy underarms. And I’ve loved it. Through her iPhone Madonna let us behind the platinum curtain - even inside her very posh Upper East Side Manhattan master bathroom to witness everything form her post work-out beads of sweat to her son David Banda on guitar.
Yet of most fascination has been the cheeky way she has beckoned us inside the recording studio. The Queen of Pop has been teasing the world with progress of her as-yet-untitled (unless it’s called Unapologetic Bitch – and Lord don’t I hope so!) 13th studio album.
The list of potential collaborators is so far impressive: Sky Ferreira/Haim producer Ariel Rechtshaid, Wrecking Ball co-writer MoZella, MIA collaborator Diplo, DJ/producer Avicii, former Lady Gaga collaborator Martin Kierszenbaum, pop singer Natalia Kills, US hit-maker Toby Gad.
The imagery teased out recently is also exciting: Homage to Betty Page, mysterious veils and religious imagery? Check. But there’s also some cause for concern. Why? Because Madonna seems so close to getting it right. And we all know what happens when Madonna gets it slightly wrong. Two words: Hard Candy.
Some might argue her last studio album MDNA was a disappointment. I actually loved many moments on the album but there was a sense, right before the album dropped, that something was out of alignment.
It’s hard to pinpoint what was missing. The world was hungry for Madonna’s ‘A’ game. The reality is, we got glimpses of it. William Orbit suggested in retrospect that M was pulled in too many directions to really focus on making the record the brilliant return to form that songs like Gang Bang and Addicted promised it could be.
She had a clothing line, a world tour, a film and a perfume to promote. Music - the source of all her power - had been relegated to a mere portion of her time, a part-time job and unfortunately something had to give.
I assume it was the laser focus on the dance floor that lost out in the end, and the project suffered.
Thankfully the accompanying tour did not. We witnessed Madonna in her full prime, mercilessly slaying audiences with her bold confidence and celebrating dance at the centre of her circus. Yet when the confetti cleared there was the sense that the Madonna train had passed through town without a trace. The era, like Hard Candy, didn’t seem to permeate the zeitgeist the way Confessions on a Dancefloor had a few years before.
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