Hark! Celestial trumpets are sounding from the clouds hovering near the heavens! It can only mean one thing: Her Madgesty, the Queen Of Pop, has new material on the way.
Let’s reign it in a bit, though. With all due respect, we’re still waiting for Madonna to release a great album this decade. But the good news is that her 14th LP is on its way, and she’s absolutely got it in her to give us a batch of tunes to be reckoned with. After all, you don’t become the queen without capturing lightning in a bottle multiple times over.
Her unrivaled string of hit releases in the 1980s seemed to all be building toward the golden - actually, make that quadruple-Platinum - Like A Prayer in 1989, an album that would have been an enviable career best for any other artist if they’d simply stopped there. But this is Madonna! She proceeded to triumphantly march forward by eschewing the big, glossy sound that helped make her famous and stripping down - both the music and, um, herself - and giving us 1992’s brilliant, confessional house-pop hybrid Erotica. The Queen of Pop would end the second decade of her reign with her pièce de résistance, 1998's reflective Ray of Light. Her seventh studio album, it saw her pick up a staggering 10 statues between the Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards alone.
Subsequent years have seen tireless Madge raise her kids, direct films, open schools, launch a chain of gyms and launch clothing and skincare lines. Those cosnistently fantastic full length releases, meanwhile, tapered off after 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, a bumping, peak-hour trek through clubland that earned the singer yet another Grammy. That’s not to say Madonna’s post-Confessions studio albums are all bad by any means - the urban thump of 2008's Hard Candy remains a mostly satisfying experience, thanks to the focus of collaborators Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams; while 2015's Rebel Heart, though spotty, contains about seven playlist-worthy tracks throughout.
Looking on the bright side, the best could very well still be to come with Madonna’s 14th studio release. What do we want from it? Nothing short of everything, of course. But we’d settle for any (or all!) of the following.
Let Madonna Sing
You know what needs to be hung up? Auto-Tune. At least in the Queen of Pop's case. This is Madonna, and she’s amassed a loyal army of fans, sold hundreds of millions of records and inspired countless Gwens, Britneys, Katys and Gagas by simply being herself.
Cuts from the last decade like 'Ghosttown' and 'Messiah' off Rebel Heart, MDNA’s 'Masterpiece' and Hard Candy single 'Miles Away' seem, for the most part, to be devoid of too much technical wizardry affecting her voice. And she sounds great on each one! Alas, for every one of those, there’s been a 'Bitch I’m Madonna,' 'Girl Gone Wild' or 'Give It 2 Me' - performances that find the singer coming off like she downed a vocoder smoothie before stepping to the mic.
Madonna, voice included, is a national treasure. Also, she kicked ass performing live at the Met Gala in New York three months ago. Just give it to us plain and simple going forward.
To read the other four things visit: www.billboard.com/articles