Bold, bizarre, self-referential and unlike anything Madonna has ever done before, 'Madame X' finds the star with a glint in her eye (the one without an eyepatch, that is).
Madonna’s latest persona ‘Madame X’ borrows her name from the historical figure Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau: a socialite and occasional muse who scandalised genteel French society when she bared naked flesh - her entire shoulder, would you believe it - in a portrait. And while Madge’s own eye-patch wearing interpretation prefers taking a more enterprising approach to the current job market (Madame X is a mother, a child, a teacher, a nun, a singer, and a saint many among other things) it’s a fitting moniker for a record that restlessly explores all sides of contemporary pop at full divisive pelt: visiting Latin pop, all-out Eurotrash, gloomily percussive trap, NYC disco, house, and reggaeton.
During its most reckless moments, ‘Madame X’ is bold, bizarre, and unlike anything Madonna has ever done before. The frantic ‘Dark Ballet’ harnesses gloomily spun strings and robotic overlord vocals; it’s as villainous and foreboding as ‘Ray of Light’s darkest moments, or her ‘Die Another Day’ Bond theme. Then, quite out of nowhere, an extended piano interlude morphs into a mangled, glitching excerpt of ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ from Tchaikovsky’s ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ - it’s brilliant, overblown ridiculousness. 'I want to tell you about love…. and loneliness,' Madonna husks dramatically.
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