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http://time.com/3643968/madonna-rebel-heart-new-music/

The singer's surprise release of several new songs reveals that the Queen of Pop hasn't lost her edge

When a handful of Madonna demos leaked last week — an event she called “artistic rape” and a “form of terrorism” — she decided to fight fire with fire by releasing the official versions of six songs cut from her upcoming thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart. The bundle of new tracks represent her first collection of new material since 2012’s MDNA, a lukewarm flirtation with contemporary club music. Thing is, though, there’s a joy to every new Madonna release that’s just separated from determining the quality of the actual music: at this point in her career she’s pop’s cockroach, resilient and hardy and shockingly adaptable. With each new record, there are lessons about the genre’s present and near future in the specific sounds and figures she chooses to help realize her vision.

Based on this first batch of Rebel Heart material, Madonna is looking to strike a balance. First, there’s are the figures at the centre of EDM and synth-pop, her chosen modes of operation — meaning writers and producers like Diplo, Avicii, and Savan Kotecha. Then, she ropes in artists working at the vanguard across a variety of genres, from superstars like Kanye West to relative nobodies like producers Ariel Rechtshaid and Sophie. This is a savvy move — what a surprise, a smart play from one of the canniest pop stars to ever roam an arena — because it allows her to play to the masses while still pushing boundaries.

The songs that lead off this first Rebel Heart blast, lead single “Living for Love” and “Devil Pray,” could fit in neatly on the radio beside this year’s British house-pop crossovers and Avicii’s own “Hey Brother.” The ones that close it, namely the abrasive half-rapped Kanye collaboration “Illuminati” and caffeine-drunk trap anthem/Nicki Minaj feature “Bitch I’m Madonna,” hew closer to the spirit of PC Music’s obscure SoundCloud accounts and the sharp edges of Yeezus.

And because Madonna exists in rarefied air, the kind reserved for luminaries like herself and Prince and very few others, each of her new releases is less of an independent statement than a response to everything she’s done before, another chapter tacked onto an epic novel with no definite end. The tones, themes, and imagery that make up her musical toolbox — the frank sensuality, the various methods of intoxication, the lapsed Catholicism, the uncompromising confidence — are gospel at this point, and they elevate some of the more forgettable Rebel Heart material to a base level of pleasure. It’s fun to hear Madonna deliver a line like, “It might sound like I’m an unapologetic bitch / but sometimes you know I gotta call I like it is” (and try on 2 Chainz’ flow, just for kicks) because she has three’ decades worth of unapologetic bitchiness in her back pocket. It’s an easy score, sure, but it’s effective. And if the complete version of Rebel Heart, due March 10th via Interscope, can deliver a few more of those easy scores alongside a bit more adventurous songwriting, the album could be Madonna’s finest in almost a decade.

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Mathias Buch Jensen, DJ at Danish radio station P7Mix, finds that "Living for Love", "Devil Prays" and "Ghosttown" are the best songs released by Madonna in more than a decade, calling them 'Madonna at her best' and 'instantly recognizable as Madonna songs'. Regarding "Unapologetic Bitch", "Illuminati" and "Bitch I'm Madonna", he says that she has made a bold decision by releasing so edgy and 'in your face' songs; however, he thinks the production of those 3 songs sounds dated.

Henning Høeg, in his review for Danish newspaper BT, describes "Ghosttown" as one of Madonna's best ballads ever, considers "Living for Love" her best up-tempo song since "Like a Prayer" and also notes that "Devil Pray" is 'very poppy, but with relevant and shrewd lyrics'. "Illuminati", however is described by him as 'a mishmash of forced beats and absent vocals, which hardly qualifies as music' - "Unapologetic Bitch" he describes as a 'cheap aphorism which couldn't possibly have taken more than 23 seconds to write'. Finally, Henning Høeg thinks "Bitch I'm Madonna" is 'so much beneath Madonna's dignity that it almost hurts'.

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Living for Love is one of the new songs made available early, alongside Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, Devil Pray, Ghosttown and Bitch I'm Madonna, featuring Nicki Minaj. Madonna has also shared the artwork for her new album, Rebel Heart, which is still set for release in March. The striking black-and-white cover shot by fashion photographers Mert & Marcus shows the singer's face wrapped in thick black wires - and has already spawned thousands of fan recreations on Instagram, some more tongue-in-cheek than others.


But is her new music up to scratch? Here's our track-by-track review.


Living for Love


This uplifting dance tune is a perfectly-pitched comeback single: rather than returning with a cheap EDM banger, Madonna hitches herself to the 90s house revival, a sound she helped to spearhead first time around with hits like Vogue and Deeper and Deeper. When she sings "I picked up my crown, put it back on my head," it feels like a statement of intent.


Devil Pray


Co-produced by DJ Dahi and Blood Diamonds, this semi-acoustic mid-tempo track has echoes of the underrated American Life album. Initially lines like "we can sniff glue and we can do E and we can drop acid" sound awkward and clunky, but after a few listens Devil Pray blossoms into a decent anti-drugs lament.


Ghosttown


An affecting electro-ballad with a sweet message about the importance of sticking together when everything around you turns to shit, Ghosttown is made special by a glorious stealth bomb of a chorus.


Unapologetic Bitch


Madonna has used the #unapologeticbitch Instagram hashtag so much that this track had to be good - and luckily it is. The loping reggae rhythms bring to mind Santigold and recent Rihanna, but the irresistible chorus and spunky lyrics are classic Madge. Check out this V-sign flicked at a hopeless ex: "I"m popping bottles that you can't even afford / I'm throwin' parties and you won't get in the door."


Illuminati


A smart idea, stylishly executed. Here Madonna taps into society's obsession with the idea of an all-seeing secret organisation by telling us what she thinks it isn't - and that includes "Jay-Z and Beyoncé… Queen Elizabeth or Kanye". Talking of Mr West, he co-produced this grinding jam, which has some terrific vocal hooks and Madge rapping, pretty well actually.


Bitch I'm Madonna (featuring Nicki Minaj)


This Diplo-produced party anthem is as childish as its title, with a heavily-vocodered Madge singing: "The neighbour's pissed and says he's gonna call the Five-O." In 2014, does Madonna really party so hard that her neighbours call the police? Obviously not, but with the added bonus of an equally silly Nicki rap, this is a must-have addition to your next pre-drinks playlist.



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Jeremy Gloff-

I’ll admit it. I kinda gave up on Madonna. HARD CANDY was okay but that MAGIC wasn’t there. MDNA felt like a mixtape with some passable Madonna songs. But the fire wasn’t there. The hunger wasn’t there. MDNA felt a little bit like Madonna on auto-pilot. I listened to the album a lot but there wasn’t that moment of breathtaking brilliance. There wasn’t that Madonna moment when you are listening and you think to yourself ONLY Madonna could have sung that.

In the past year Madonna has been teasing us on Instagram with various hashtags, song lyrics, and in-studio shots. Never had M taken us so far into the studio with her. Long before we ever heard the songs phrases like “Rebel Heart” “Unapologetic Bitch” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” were part of our vocabulary. Without having heard a note of music, this new era already had an anticipation about it that felt fresh and new. I can’t imagine an MDNA era filled with #girlgonewild hashtags, thank god.

When the demos leaked last week I listened. I’m weak. But when I heard those songs something awakened in me I hadn’t felt in a long time. My unfettered, unconditional, deep love of Madonna. Madonna the artist. Madonna the songwriter. Madonna the human being. For the first time since CONFESSIONS ON A DANCE FLOOR I could relate. I always loved Madonna because her songs were about my life. And in the past, her best songs were about parts of my life I didn’t discuss out loud. Throughout my whole life I’ve had the music of Stevie Nicks and the music of Madonna to put a voice to the wild and evolving graph inside my head. In the last couple of years Stevie came back. Last week when I heard the Madonna demos, I was blown the fuck away to find that Madonna had come back too.

In these new Madonna demos the lyrics once again talked about a deeper level of thinking and intelligence. On some songs. When I heard “Borrowed Time” I cried. It was the first time I cried hearing a Madonna song since 2005. It hurts my heart how divided and confused we are as a population right now. That song reached into my guts and struck a chord. Fuck.

And some of the other songs were just fun as fuck. And they literally sounded FUN. Not forced fun. But that real unbridled carefree fun that Madonna could only evoke. The new fun Madonna songs harken back to that un-self conscious hands-over-my-head freedom I hadn’t felt in years. I’m almost 40 now. I am usually too grumpy to dance. With the new Madonna demos in my CD players I danced for the first time in years. I didn’t care if anyone was looking, even though no one was looking.

Last night Madonna officially released six songs. The new album is going to be called REBEL HEART. The cover is fucking gorgeous. And the music. It’s as cutting edge as Madonna ever was. It’s as unexpected, heartfelt, fun, provocative, and genuine as the best Madonna ever was. And the best part is that these songs don’t really throw back to a previous Madonna era. These songs are REBEL HEART era through and through.

I was added to a Facebook group by a friend from Orlando earlier in the year. During the unfolding of the new Madonna era I got to share my thoughts and excitement with all the people in the group. It’s been such a pleasure. For the last couple years I’ve felt alienated and lost at sea. Through the love of Madonna I feel connected to people in a way I haven’t in a while. For those of us who love her, she provoks the deepest parts of ourselves. I have even reconnected with old friends in this group and I am so so so thankful to the universe to have these friends back in my life to share this new, glorious era of Madonna. All six songs released last night wow me. They are perfect. She sounds the best she’s sounded since RAY OF LIGHT. The opening track “Living For Love” perfectly encompasses how I feel about life right now. I’ve been hurt. My soul has been grinded down. But fuck it, I’m gonna carry on. Hearing “Living For Love” makes me feel alive again. It makes me feel like I can fall in love again. That wild fucking passionate amazing kind of love. Laugh at me if you must, but it DOES take a Madonna song to awaken that part of myself. In a world full of murder, violence, racial divide, and stife…goddamn if I’m not certain that the love is going to prevail. Motherfucking #livingforlove FOR REAL. That Madonna song is the audio equivalent of the way I want to wrap my arms around this globe and just scream out my love for humanity.

Thank you Madonna. Thank you for taking the time in the studio. Thanks for caring again. Thanks for being fully invested. Because when you care…you make some of the best pop music that’s ever been made. It’s so reassuring to me as a musician myself to know that at 56 one can be as vital, sexy, provocative, carefree, fun, and intelligent as ever. No more feeling dead and sorry for myself at 40. There’s too much love and passion from the depth of my own rebel heart.

With REBEL HEART Madonna transcends all of her peers. She is in David Bowie territory now. A true life-long artist who makes music as good now as her first album. Maybe even better.

Madonna, I fucking love you. I love your new songs. I can’t fucking wait to hear the rest of the album in March. I’m gonna carry on.

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Mathias Buch Jensen, DJ at Danish radio station P7Mix, finds that "Living for Love", "Devil Prays" and "Ghosttown" are the best songs released by Madonna in more than a decade, calling them 'Madonna at her best' and 'instantly recognizable as Madonna songs'. Regarding "Unapologetic Bitch", "Illuminati" and "Bitch I'm Madonna", he says that she has made a bold decision by releasing so edgy and 'in your face' songs; however, he thinks the production of those 3 songs sounds dated.

Henning Høeg, in his review for Danish newspaper BT, describes "Ghosttown" as one of Madonna's best ballads ever, considers "Living for Love" her best up-tempo song since "Like a Prayer" and also notes that "Devil Pray" is 'very poppy, but with relevant and shrewd lyrics'. "Illuminati", however is described by him as 'a mishmash of forced beats and absent vocals, which hardly qualifies as music' - "Unapologetic Bitch" he describes as a 'cheap aphorism which couldn't possibly have taken more than 23 seconds to write'. Finally, Henning Høeg thinks "Bitch I'm Madonna" is 'so much beneath Madonna's dignity that it almost hurts'.

Funny, some people say the opposite..

Callin Ghost and LFL boring and Bitches innovitavi

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FDRMX ‘Living For Love’ Single Review

The song starts with an EDM sound, which is actually good albeit confusing. After a few seconds, it already sounds as if it is a cut off Christina Aguilera’s Bionic or Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Not to mention that the released single cover is a throwback to the album cover photos of prominent EDM records back in 2010. Then Madonna’s voice arrives, and it eases all the confusion away. Madonna’s voice is as distinct as ever. It is still invigorating and uplifting. It movingly demands all attention; thus, the commanding presence of Madonna’s vocal performance is still the main advantage of her new track.

Lyrically, the song is inspiring. It is a good move from Madonna’s team to release “Living For Love” as the lead single. It is a well-written anthem for moving forward after a failed relationship. This empowering anthem becomes more powerful as the song reaches the chorus, where Madonna preaches how she is living for love and is not giving up. For artists who want to create a genuinely empowering anthem, perhaps they should learn from Madonna’s potentially canonical lines: “I could get caught up in bitterness / But I’m not dwelling on this crazy mess / I found freedom in the ugly truth / I deserve the best and it’s not you / I picked up my crown, put it back in my head / I can forgive, but I will never forget.”

The only major setback of “Living For Love” is its lack of originality. The sound of the song has already been popular four years ago, and it does not help that this is the sound of Madonna’s new song. While it is commendable for its lyrical accomplishment, it still hurts to hear such a powerful anthem in an already dated tune. The song has the commanding vocals of Madonna along with such formidable lyrics, why settle for a less than phenomenal sound?

Voice ★★★★½

Lyrics ★★★★★

Music ★★½

Originality ★★½

Delivery/Presentation ★★★½

Summary ★★★½

http://fdrmx.com/madonna-living-love-single-review/

Edited by train951
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FDRMX ‘Living For Love’ Single Review

The song starts with an EDM sound, which is actually good albeit confusing. After a few seconds, it already sounds as if it is a cut off Christina Aguilera’s Bionic or Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Not to mention that the released single cover is a throwback to the album cover photos of prominent EDM records back in 2010. Then Madonna’s voice arrives, and it eases all the confusion away. Madonna’s voice is as distinct as ever. It is still invigorating and uplifting. It movingly demands all attention; thus, the commanding presence of Madonna’s vocal performance is still the main advantage of her new track.

Lyrically, the song is inspiring. It is a good move from Madonna’s team to release “Living For Love” as the lead single. It is a well-written anthem for moving forward after a failed relationship. This empowering anthem becomes more powerful as the song reaches the chorus, where Madonna preaches how she is living for love and is not giving up. For artists who want to create a genuinely empowering anthem, perhaps they should learn from Madonna’s potentially canonical lines: “I could get caught up in bitterness / But I’m not dwelling on this crazy mess / I found freedom in the ugly truth / I deserve the best and it’s not you / I picked up my crown, put it back in my head / I can forgive, but I will never forget.”

The only major setback of “Living For Love” is its lack of originality. The sound of the song has already been popular four years ago, and it does not help that this is the sound of Madonna’s new song. While it is commendable for its lyrical accomplishment, it still hurts to hear such a powerful anthem in an already dated tune. The song has the commanding vocals of Madonna along with such formidable lyrics, why settle for a less than phenomenal sound?

Voice ★★★★½

Lyrics ★★★★★

Music ★★½

Originality ★★½

Delivery/Presentation ★★★½

Summary ★★★½

http://fdrmx.com/madonna-living-love-single-review/

haha-shut-up.gif

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I expect the VMAs 2015 will be all about her :wow:

Yes...its time...they were up her ass 98-99....its been far too long...time for MTV to show some respect again.

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FDRMX Living For Love Single Review

The song starts with an EDM sound, which is actually good albeit confusing. After a few seconds, it already sounds as if it is a cut off Christina Aguileras Bionic or Lady Gagas Artpop. Not to mention that the released single cover is a throwback to the album cover photos of prominent EDM records back in 2010. Then Madonnas voice arrives, and it eases all the confusion away. Madonnas voice is as distinct as ever. It is still invigorating and uplifting. It movingly demands all attention; thus, the commanding presence of Madonnas vocal performance is still the main advantage of her new track.

Lyrically, the song is inspiring. It is a good move from Madonnas team to release Living For Love as the lead single. It is a well-written anthem for moving forward after a failed relationship. This empowering anthem becomes more powerful as the song reaches the chorus, where Madonna preaches how she is living for love and is not giving up. For artists who want to create a genuinely empowering anthem, perhaps they should learn from Madonnas potentially canonical lines: I could get caught up in bitterness / But Im not dwelling on this crazy mess / I found freedom in the ugly truth / I deserve the best and its not you / I picked up my crown, put it back in my head / I can forgive, but I will never forget.

The only major setback of Living For Love is its lack of originality. The sound of the song has already been popular four years ago, and it does not help that this is the sound of Madonnas new song. While it is commendable for its lyrical accomplishment, it still hurts to hear such a powerful anthem in an already dated tune. The song has the commanding vocals of Madonna along with such formidable lyrics, why settle for a less than phenomenal sound?

Voice ★★★★½

Lyrics ★★★★★

Music ★★½

Originality ★★½

Delivery/Presentation ★★★½

Summary ★★★½

http://fdrmx.com/madonna-living-love-single-review/

What the F is FDRMX ? And how can you grade a song like that and please give us reference to a song that LFL sounds like 4 years ago .

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FDRMX ‘Living For Love’ Single Review

The song starts with an EDM sound, which is actually good albeit confusing. After a few seconds, it already sounds as if it is a cut off Christina Aguilera’s Bionic or Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Not to mention that the released single cover is a throwback to the album cover photos of prominent EDM records back in 2010. Then Madonna’s voice arrives, and it eases all the confusion away. Madonna’s voice is as distinct as ever. It is still invigorating and uplifting. It movingly demands all attention; thus, the commanding presence of Madonna’s vocal performance is still the main advantage of her new track.

Lyrically, the song is inspiring. It is a good move from Madonna’s team to release “Living For Love” as the lead single. It is a well-written anthem for moving forward after a failed relationship. This empowering anthem becomes more powerful as the song reaches the chorus, where Madonna preaches how she is living for love and is not giving up. For artists who want to create a genuinely empowering anthem, perhaps they should learn from Madonna’s potentially canonical lines: “I could get caught up in bitterness / But I’m not dwelling on this crazy mess / I found freedom in the ugly truth / I deserve the best and it’s not you / I picked up my crown, put it back in my head / I can forgive, but I will never forget.”

The only major setback of “Living For Love” is its lack of originality. The sound of the song has already been popular four years ago, and it does not help that this is the sound of Madonna’s new song. While it is commendable for its lyrical accomplishment, it still hurts to hear such a powerful anthem in an already dated tune. The song has the commanding vocals of Madonna along with such formidable lyrics, why settle for a less than phenomenal sound?

Voice ★★★★½

Lyrics ★★★★★

Music ★★½

Originality ★★½

Delivery/Presentation ★★★½

Summary ★★★½

http://fdrmx.com/madonna-living-love-single-review/

Regardless of the content, this 'review' is just so incredibly clunky and badly written.

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NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/arts/music/madonna-6-songs-offers-preview-of-rebel-heart-album.html?_r=0#

A Flurry of Releases, and a Show of Force by Madonna

6 Songs Offer Preview of ‘Rebel Heart’ Album

DEC. 23, 2014

By JON PARELES

In some circles, the six saddest words in the English language may be: “Don’t you know who I am?” Often the answer is an ego-crushing “no.” So when Madonna names a song “Bitch I’m Madonna” — and books Nicki Minaj to add praise — well, no one knows better than she does that celebrity is Darwinian.

At 56, Madonna has to contend with a generation of singers who have studied her playbook so thoroughly that they are far more her competition than her admirers. But with the six songs she suddenly released on Friday, she’s still a contender.

Madonna put the songs out shortly after the online leak of more than a dozen songs thought to have been planned for “Rebel Heart,” the album she had scheduled for release on March 10. In a post on Instagram that she later deleted, she called the leak a “form of terrorism.”

But her commercial response was shrewd. The songs can be downloaded from online music services with a pre-order of the album or separately, and Madonna’s name recognition is still so strong that the announcement catapulted all six tracks into the iTunes Top 10 in dozens of countries. (They have since slipped in the United States, but five of the tracks were in the Top 20 early Tuesday morning.)

Madonna stated that the leaked files were unfinished, and that’s exactly how they sound, particularly those that can be compared with the official releases. Madonna and her producers tweaked the songs further, changing up rhythms and adding sizzle and sharpness to each mix.

In some ways, “Rebel Heart” shapes up as a sequel, with lessons learned, to her 2012 album, “MDNA.” On that album, she switched off between angry breakup songs and party-girl boasts; she also returned to her longtime strategy of collaborating with top D. J.s of electronic dance music as producers. But the resulting songs often felt coldly mechanized and dutifully trendy; overprocessed vocals and cliché-slinging lyrics didn’t help.

The six-song preview of “Rebel Heart” features Madonna’s better side: as a savvy pop ear and musical team leader, and as a lyricist who sometimes ponders sin along with romance and fame.

Madonna is still reacting to a breakup in two of her new songs (and in more of the demos). But at this point, she’s bouncing back. “Living for Love,” easily one of Madonna’s best singles in a decade, transmutes revenge into upbeat redemption. Diplo and Alicia Keys are among its seven songwriters; Ms. Keys’s piano is also in the track, which harnesses blipping electronics and a house beat to a gospelly buildup. Madonna moves through accusations on the way to positive thinking: “After the heartache, I’m gonna carry on,” she declares.

“Unapologetic Bitch,” another Diplo collaboration, is more testy. It swerves in and out of a reggae band groove, punctuated by air horn and electronics, as Madonna insults her ex’s sexual performance and taunts, “I don’t care no more / Tell me how it feels to be ignored.”

“Ghosttown” mixes affection and postapocalyptic gloom. It’s a straightforward ballad over synthesizer chords, written with songwriters who have also supplied material to Rihanna, Demi Lovato and Jason Derulo; it begs for a dystopian-romance video.

“This world has turned to dust / All we’ve got left is love,” Madonna sings, before the chorus promises, “When it all falls down, we’ll be two souls in a ghost town.”

Most of the “Rebel Heart” songs tend to check off at least two idioms per track. “Bitch I’m Madonna” is, fortunately, the most negligible of the “Rebel Heart” tracks. Behind generic club-night lyrics like “We get freaky if you want,” Diplo’s production alternates between blipping, trance-flavored verses — hinting at the chords from “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — and the slow, sparse beat of trap.

Kanye West shares the production credits on “Illuminati” and leaves his imprint with distorted vocal effects, a hard kick drum and a rubbery bass line. He’s also mentioned in the song’s merely clever lyrics, which have Madonna rapping the names of celebrities, summarizing the theory of the all-seeing Illuminati conspiracy and concluding, “It’s like everybody in this party / shining like Illuminati.”

Madonna’s hedonism and higher consciousness converge in “Devil’s Pray.” Its music, with Avicii among the producers, is a little behind the curve; it uses acoustic rhythm guitar above synthetic four-on-the-floor like Avicii’s hit with Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up.”

Madonna, the longtime God-fearing bad girl, sings about how “we could do drugs and we could smoke weed and we could drink whiskey,” but no, those would be bad alternatives. She wants her soul saved from the devil, and not even the tempting electronic beats of clubland can dissuade her. “Teach me how to pray,” she implores. That’s a different Madonna — not blasphemous but devout.

The leaked tracks might, in the end, only raise Madonna’s stature. When the finished album is released — with or without different songs — fans will hear what she adds to them, what she changes, what her standards and instincts demand. They won’t experience Madonna the celebrity or Madonna the fashion statement, but the Madonna who has kept us listening for decades: Madonna the musician.

Edited by Hector
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I can't with some of these 'critics' & their assessment of what is 'EDM'...Are they 12 y.o.!?

There's NOTHING new or original about 'EDM'...Madonna has been doing this shit since the 80's.

CHECK URSELVES.

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I can't with EDM acronym anyway, it's really people who know nothing about dance music, house, electro etc...who use this. Daft Punk said in interviews that they don't understand the word since Electronic Dance Music (this is what EDM means) has been here since the mid 70's.

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Living for Love is one of the new songs made available early, alongside Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, Devil Pray, Ghosttown and Bitch I'm Madonna, featuring Nicki Minaj. Madonna has also shared the artwork for her new album, Rebel Heart, which is still set for release in March. The striking black-and-white cover shot by fashion photographers Mert & Marcus shows the singer's face wrapped in thick black wires - and has already spawned thousands of fan recreations on Instagram, some more tongue-in-cheek than others.

But is her new music up to scratch? Here's our track-by-track review.

Living for Love

This uplifting dance tune is a perfectly-pitched comeback single: rather than returning with a cheap EDM banger, Madonna hitches herself to the 90s house revival, a sound she helped to spearhead first time around with hits like Vogue and Deeper and Deeper. When she sings "I picked up my crown, put it back on my head," it feels like a statement of intent.

Devil Pray

Co-produced by DJ Dahi and Blood Diamonds, this semi-acoustic mid-tempo track has echoes of the underrated American Life album. Initially lines like "we can sniff glue and we can do E and we can drop acid" sound awkward and clunky, but after a few listens Devil Pray blossoms into a decent anti-drugs lament.

Ghosttown

An affecting electro-ballad with a sweet message about the importance of sticking together when everything around you turns to shit, Ghosttown is made special by a glorious stealth bomb of a chorus.

Unapologetic Bitch

Madonna has used the #unapologeticbitch Instagram hashtag so much that this track had to be good - and luckily it is. The loping reggae rhythms bring to mind Santigold and recent Rihanna, but the irresistible chorus and spunky lyrics are classic Madge. Check out this V-sign flicked at a hopeless ex: "I"m popping bottles that you can't even afford / I'm throwin' parties and you won't get in the door."

Illuminati

A smart idea, stylishly executed. Here Madonna taps into society's obsession with the idea of an all-seeing secret organisation by telling us what she thinks it isn't - and that includes "Jay-Z and Beyoncé… Queen Elizabeth or Kanye". Talking of Mr West, he co-produced this grinding jam, which has some terrific vocal hooks and Madge rapping, pretty well actually.

Bitch I'm Madonna (featuring Nicki Minaj)

This Diplo-produced party anthem is as childish as its title, with a heavily-vocodered Madge singing: "The neighbour's pissed and says he's gonna call the Five-O." In 2014, does Madonna really party so hard that her neighbours call the police? Obviously not, but with the added bonus of an equally silly Nicki rap, this is a must-have addition to your next pre-drinks playlist.

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thanks but please include the source/link! https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/madonnas-rebel-heart-reviewed

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Jeremy Gloff-

I’ll admit it. I kinda gave up on Madonna. HARD CANDY was okay but that MAGIC wasn’t there. MDNA felt like a mixtape with some passable Madonna songs. But the fire wasn’t there. The hunger wasn’t there. MDNA felt a little bit like Madonna on auto-pilot. I listened to the album a lot but there wasn’t that moment of breathtaking brilliance. There wasn’t that Madonna moment when you are listening and you think to yourself ONLY Madonna could have sung that.

In the past year Madonna has been teasing us on Instagram with various hashtags, song lyrics, and in-studio shots. Never had M taken us so far into the studio with her. Long before we ever heard the songs phrases like “Rebel Heart” “Unapologetic Bitch” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” were part of our vocabulary. Without having heard a note of music, this new era already had an anticipation about it that felt fresh and new. I can’t imagine an MDNA era filled with #girlgonewild hashtags, thank god.

When the demos leaked last week I listened. I’m weak. But when I heard those songs something awakened in me I hadn’t felt in a long time. My unfettered, unconditional, deep love of Madonna. Madonna the artist. Madonna the songwriter. Madonna the human being. For the first time since CONFESSIONS ON A DANCE FLOOR I could relate. I always loved Madonna because her songs were about my life. And in the past, her best songs were about parts of my life I didn’t discuss out loud. Throughout my whole life I’ve had the music of Stevie Nicks and the music of Madonna to put a voice to the wild and evolving graph inside my head. In the last couple of years Stevie came back. Last week when I heard the Madonna demos, I was blown the fuck away to find that Madonna had come back too.

In these new Madonna demos the lyrics once again talked about a deeper level of thinking and intelligence. On some songs. When I heard “Borrowed Time” I cried. It was the first time I cried hearing a Madonna song since 2005. It hurts my heart how divided and confused we are as a population right now. That song reached into my guts and struck a chord. Fuck.

And some of the other songs were just fun as fuck. And they literally sounded FUN. Not forced fun. But that real unbridled carefree fun that Madonna could only evoke. The new fun Madonna songs harken back to that un-self conscious hands-over-my-head freedom I hadn’t felt in years. I’m almost 40 now. I am usually too grumpy to dance. With the new Madonna demos in my CD players I danced for the first time in years. I didn’t care if anyone was looking, even though no one was looking.

Last night Madonna officially released six songs. The new album is going to be called REBEL HEART. The cover is fucking gorgeous. And the music. It’s as cutting edge as Madonna ever was. It’s as unexpected, heartfelt, fun, provocative, and genuine as the best Madonna ever was. And the best part is that these songs don’t really throw back to a previous Madonna era. These songs are REBEL HEART era through and through.

I was added to a Facebook group by a friend from Orlando earlier in the year. During the unfolding of the new Madonna era I got to share my thoughts and excitement with all the people in the group. It’s been such a pleasure. For the last couple years I’ve felt alienated and lost at sea. Through the love of Madonna I feel connected to people in a way I haven’t in a while. For those of us who love her, she provoks the deepest parts of ourselves. I have even reconnected with old friends in this group and I am so so so thankful to the universe to have these friends back in my life to share this new, glorious era of Madonna. All six songs released last night wow me. They are perfect. She sounds the best she’s sounded since RAY OF LIGHT. The opening track “Living For Love” perfectly encompasses how I feel about life right now. I’ve been hurt. My soul has been grinded down. But fuck it, I’m gonna carry on. Hearing “Living For Love” makes me feel alive again. It makes me feel like I can fall in love again. That wild fucking passionate amazing kind of love. Laugh at me if you must, but it DOES take a Madonna song to awaken that part of myself. In a world full of murder, violence, racial divide, and stife…goddamn if I’m not certain that the love is going to prevail. Motherfucking #livingforlove FOR REAL. That Madonna song is the audio equivalent of the way I want to wrap my arms around this globe and just scream out my love for humanity.

Thank you Madonna. Thank you for taking the time in the studio. Thanks for caring again. Thanks for being fully invested. Because when you care…you make some of the best pop music that’s ever been made. It’s so reassuring to me as a musician myself to know that at 56 one can be as vital, sexy, provocative, carefree, fun, and intelligent as ever. No more feeling dead and sorry for myself at 40. There’s too much love and passion from the depth of my own rebel heart.

With REBEL HEART Madonna transcends all of her peers. She is in David Bowie territory now. A true life-long artist who makes music as good now as her first album. Maybe even better.

Madonna, I fucking love you. I love your new songs. I can’t fucking wait to hear the rest of the album in March. I’m gonna carry on.

http://www.jeremygloff.com/index.html/madonnas-rebel-heart-is-the-most-important-thing-to-happen-to-me-this-year/

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/12/22/madona-living-for-love-listen-up-song-of-the-week/20768787/

Madonna gets into the groove with her latest single,Living for Love, a confident house track that's the lead single from her forthcoming Rebel Heartalbum, due in March. One of six Rebel Heart tracksreleased over the weekend, Living for Love is so optimistic, so self-assured, it may not be immediately apparent it's a post-breakup song. "Took me to heaven and let me fall down," Madonna sings in the pre-chorus, "Now that it's over, I'm gonna carry on." Written with Alicia Keys, among others, and produced with Diplo, it's the sort of determined dance anthem Madonna does so well.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/12/22/madonna-rebel-heart-listen-up/20783447/

Madonna may not have intended to let people hear any of Rebel Heart until next year, but it's hard to imagine anyone who won't be excited by at least half of the material she released suddenly over the weekend.

Leaks of demo material forced Madonna's hand, prompting her to release Living for Love — a single she had planned to put out on Valentine's Day — and five other tracks from her forthcoming 13th album, due in March.

The first three songs, leading with Living for Love a catchy number in the vein ofExpress Yourself and Like a Prayer, find Madonna in hit-maker mode. Devil Pray, with its acoustic guitar and minor-key melody, recalls an Ennio Morricone spaghetti-western score. Ghosttown finds her tenderly singing about two souls who find each other after an emotional apocalypse.

The next three songs — Unapologetic B****, Illuminati and B**** I'm Madonna — are coarser, harder club tracks. In the Kanye West-produced Illuminati, she falls down the rabbit hole of mystical conspiracy theory. In B**** I'm Madonna, her latest collaboration with Nicki Minaj, she puts her dance-club diva credentials up against all newcomers, shouting at one point, "Who do you think you are?!"

Madonna, clearly, knows who she is, even if part of that persona is someone who takes the latest dance trends and mainstreams them. With these six preview tracks, she does that as pop Madonna and club Madonna.

In between those two extremes, there's a lot of room for her Rebel Heart to beat.

Download: Living for Love, Ghosttown, Illuminati

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Madonna
Rebel Heart (so far)
★★★

You'd have to say, if nothing else then Madonna has plugged into the modern world's realities in two very big ways: nothing is safe online; and if you get rolled (by leakers, trolls and North Korean hackers with bad haircuts), roll with it as hard as you can.

If we accept her claim that this premature release of six tracks from Rebel Heart, ahead of a full album in March, was forced on her – last week's leak of what may have been unfinished versions of songs being not just unofficial but unwanted – then she's making the most of a bad situation.

A year ago Beyonce dropped a full album, and videos, without notice and blew everything up for a while. Now Rebel Heart has commandeered the cultural conversation for a few days and put Madonna where she hasn't been for a decade or so, at No. 1. In this case, on the iTunes charts in 36 countries we are told.

Not everything about the six new songs is a surprise, given Madonna's "people" this year have been strategically peppering the interwebs with song titles and collaborators, including here the modestly confident Kanye West on one song, and on another track the modestly dressed Nicki Minaj. The main surprise, I guess, is whether the six tracks reflect Madonna's past, present or future, and the answer to that seems to be, all three.

On Ghosttown, a deeper-voiced Madonnarelives her better ballads (think Live to Tell) over a resonant electronic bed that serves her effective singing with warm electric piano chords. Then there are the '80s/'90s house sounds (piano, hints of gospel in the backing vocals and reach for euphoria escalation) of Living for Love and the acoustic guitar-with-electro-cowboy of Devil Pray (that will remind you of Don't Tell Me from her album at the turn of this century, Music) that is matched with a melody that doesn't attempt to hide its familiarity with House of the Rising Sun.

Not as convincing are the here-ish and now-ish moments. Unapologetic Bitch is a dancehall track with the voice tweaked at times to sound cartoonish amid Jamaican off-beat guitars and squawky synthesiser noise. here's no real connection with Madonna, almost as if she's been dropped in from another track.

The Kanye-produced Illluminati (with Madonna reciting a list of all the ways most candidates are not really part of the classically defined Illuminati, though they may be part of the paranoids' new world order) is colder and harder sounding, in the way of West's own recent work. There's some edge to it but not much menace that would really thrust it into compelling.

It's still more accommodating for a casual listener than Bitch I'm Madonna where, with the vocal assistance of Minaj, Madonna and producers Diplo and Sophie work very, very hard to irritate to penetrate. Noises poke and grate, repeating on you like fingernail scrapings, her voice gets tweaked more and more, and the stop-start rhythm swings from electro dance to lurching strides.

It's contemporary – even if it sounds like it might actually be Britney Spears and friends doing another homage to their inspiration, Madonna – but is it believable? And that is the issue that may not be fully answered until March because the issue with Madonna in the past decade and a half hasn't turned on the fact that she has been trying to be on-trend, even if that has been a constant criticism.

For a start, that was always her calling card, her ability to be on or just ahead of a musical or fashion style that might have been breaking in the clubs or alternative/underground scenes but had yet to transfer to the mainstream. That and a great ear for the right producers and co-writers to help her transfer the trend into marketable music.

Secondly, it is the point of pop music to be of the moment (and Madonna has always been a pop artist, not a vocalist of note, nor a lyricist of depth – that wasn't in her remit).

Madonna's difficulties, at first intermittently but then consistently, have been in the area of matching her understandable quest for relevance – or rebellion – with our perception of her topicality, in personality as much as music.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/madonnas-rebel-heart-early-review-something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-20141222-12c1pf.html#ixzz3Mk1cALRx

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Madonna

Rebel Heart (so far)

★★★

You'd have to say, if nothing else then Madonna has plugged into the modern world's realities in two very big ways: nothing is safe online; and if you get rolled (by leakers, trolls and North Korean hackers with bad haircuts), roll with it as hard as you can.

If we accept her claim that this premature release of six tracks from Rebel Heart, ahead of a full album in March, was forced on her – last week's leak of what may have been unfinished versions of songs being not just unofficial but unwanted – then she's making the most of a bad situation.

A year ago Beyonce dropped a full album, and videos, without notice and blew everything up for a while. Now Rebel Heart has commandeered the cultural conversation for a few days and put Madonna where she hasn't been for a decade or so, at No. 1. In this case, on the iTunes charts in 36 countries we are told.

Not everything about the six new songs is a surprise, given Madonna's "people" this year have been strategically peppering the interwebs with song titles and collaborators, including here the modestly confident Kanye West on one song, and on another track the modestly dressed Nicki Minaj. The main surprise, I guess, is whether the six tracks reflect Madonna's past, present or future, and the answer to that seems to be, all three.

On Ghosttown, a deeper-voiced Madonnarelives her better ballads (think Live to Tell) over a resonant electronic bed that serves her effective singing with warm electric piano chords. Then there are the '80s/'90s house sounds (piano, hints of gospel in the backing vocals and reach for euphoria escalation) of Living for Love and the acoustic guitar-with-electro-cowboy of Devil Pray (that will remind you of Don't Tell Me from her album at the turn of this century, Music) that is matched with a melody that doesn't attempt to hide its familiarity with House of the Rising Sun.

Not as convincing are the here-ish and now-ish moments. Unapologetic Bitch is a dancehall track with the voice tweaked at times to sound cartoonish amid Jamaican off-beat guitars and squawky synthesiser noise. here's no real connection with Madonna, almost as if she's been dropped in from another track.

The Kanye-produced Illluminati (with Madonna reciting a list of all the ways most candidates are not really part of the classically defined Illuminati, though they may be part of the paranoids' new world order) is colder and harder sounding, in the way of West's own recent work. There's some edge to it but not much menace that would really thrust it into compelling.

It's still more accommodating for a casual listener than Bitch I'm Madonna where, with the vocal assistance of Minaj, Madonna and producers Diplo and Sophie work very, very hard to irritate to penetrate. Noises poke and grate, repeating on you like fingernail scrapings, her voice gets tweaked more and more, and the stop-start rhythm swings from electro dance to lurching strides.

It's contemporary – even if it sounds like it might actually be Britney Spears and friends doing another homage to their inspiration, Madonna – but is it believable? And that is the issue that may not be fully answered until March because the issue with Madonna in the past decade and a half hasn't turned on the fact that she has been trying to be on-trend, even if that has been a constant criticism.

For a start, that was always her calling card, her ability to be on or just ahead of a musical or fashion style that might have been breaking in the clubs or alternative/underground scenes but had yet to transfer to the mainstream. That and a great ear for the right producers and co-writers to help her transfer the trend into marketable music.

Secondly, it is the point of pop music to be of the moment (and Madonna has always been a pop artist, not a vocalist of note, nor a lyricist of depth – that wasn't in her remit).

Madonna's difficulties, at first intermittently but then consistently, have been in the area of matching her understandable quest for relevance – or rebellion – with our perception of her topicality, in personality as much as music.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/madonnas-rebel-heart-early-review-something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-20141222-12c1pf.html#ixzz3Mk1cALRx

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I can't with EDM acronym anyway, it's really people who know nothing about dance music, house, electro etc...who use this. Daft Punk said in interviews that they don't understand the word since Electronic Dance Music (this is what EDM means) has been here since the mid 70's.

I'm confused about the term EDM. It's become this kind of bad word or has this negative connotation now, but I always thought it was just an abbreviation for electronic dance music and people say it because they don't want to spell out the whole thing. I use it and to me it just means any type of electronic dance music that dj's play in a club. To me, it's a broad term and can encompass many different sub genres such as house, dubstep, trance, electro etc. Just like rock is the broad term and there are many different kinds of rock like metal, classic, soft, punk, alternative etc. I thought it was created to distinguish electronic music from other genres such as rock and R&B that rely on traditional instruments and also to distinguish electronic dj's from the old school hip hop dj's that did the scratching of records.

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Boston Herald: Rebel Heart continues Madonna’s innovative approach to blending current style

Nobody releases anything of value this week. Maybe a dirty politician tries to get ahead of a scandal by dropping details of an affair or embezzlement. But artists and entertainers won’t compete with “All I Want for Christmas is You” spins or “It’s a Wonderful Life” showings.

As you’d expect, Madonna had big plans for her 13th album in 2015: “Rebel Heart” would be teased with a Valentine’s Day single, a video and loads of hype. Then hackers leaked demos of the album last week and Madonna and team had to think fast.

So the week of nothing new now features the release of six fresh songs.

Over the weekend Madonna tweeted, “Happy early X-Mas!” with an iTunes link. And in typical Madonna fashion, the icon 
turned controversy into gold — the music hit No. 1 on iTunes charts in 36 countries.

More than buzz made the songs succeed. The work continues Madonna’s increasingly interesting, innovative approach to blending current styles with her classic aesthetic. It improves on 2012’s “MDNA” self-examination, which was a ruminative dance record for Ciroc-sippers in a Parisian discotheque.

“True Blue” fans will hear a joy and nostalgia in “Living for Love.” The beat pulses with today’s energy, but the hook and harmonies recall old school Top 40 — check out how Madonna and producer Diplo pair the drop with a bright, buoyant gospel refrain.

Producers Avicii and Billboard help “Devil Pray” and “Ghost Town” find their own balance of Material Girl and modern Madge. Both use trending (or formerly trending) EDM tricks and a lyrical introspection absent from most of Madonna’s early stuff, but her obsession with the divine and a catchy chorus remain.

Fans of “Cherish” won’t find much to relate to on the other three tracks.

Her collaboration with Kanye (as a producer, not an artist), “Illuminati,” has little that’s organic to grab onto. It buzzes and clicks and shakes with layers of electronic drone. Her team-up with Nicki Minaj, “(expletive) I’m Madonna,” and “Unapologetic (expletive),” come off like Miley Cyrus cuts — actually they sound like someone with a more defined aesthetic and deep understanding of youth culture’s constant evolution putting her own stamp on Cyrus’ pop-gone-wild thing.

Some of it’s strange, some of it’s familiar, all of it’s ambitious in a way the blonde has never been.

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Boston Herald: Rebel Heart continues Madonna’s innovative approach to blending current style

Nobody releases anything of value this week. Maybe a dirty politician tries to get ahead of a scandal by dropping details of an affair or embezzlement. But artists and entertainers won’t compete with “All I Want for Christmas is You” spins or “It’s a Wonderful Life” showings.

As you’d expect, Madonna had big plans for her 13th album in 2015: “Rebel Heart” would be teased with a Valentine’s Day single, a video and loads of hype. Then hackers leaked demos of the album last week and Madonna and team had to think fast.

So the week of nothing new now features the release of six fresh songs.

Over the weekend Madonna tweeted, “Happy early X-Mas!” with an iTunes link. And in typical Madonna fashion, the icon 
turned controversy into gold — the music hit No. 1 on iTunes charts in 36 countries.

More than buzz made the songs succeed. The work continues Madonna’s increasingly interesting, innovative approach to blending current styles with her classic aesthetic. It improves on 2012’s “MDNA” self-examination, which was a ruminative dance record for Ciroc-sippers in a Parisian discotheque.

“True Blue” fans will hear a joy and nostalgia in “Living for Love.” The beat pulses with today’s energy, but the hook and harmonies recall old school Top 40 — check out how Madonna and producer Diplo pair the drop with a bright, buoyant gospel refrain.

Producers Avicii and Billboard help “Devil Pray” and “Ghost Town” find their own balance of Material Girl and modern Madge. Both use trending (or formerly trending) EDM tricks and a lyrical introspection absent from most of Madonna’s early stuff, but her obsession with the divine and a catchy chorus remain.

Fans of “Cherish” won’t find much to relate to on the other three tracks.

Her collaboration with Kanye (as a producer, not an artist), “Illuminati,” has little that’s organic to grab onto. It buzzes and clicks and shakes with layers of electronic drone. Her team-up with Nicki Minaj, “(expletive) I’m Madonna,” and “Unapologetic (expletive),” come off like Miley Cyrus cuts — actually they sound like someone with a more defined aesthetic and deep understanding of youth culture’s constant evolution putting her own stamp on Cyrus’ pop-gone-wild thing.

Some of it’s strange, some of it’s familiar, all of it’s ambitious in a way the blonde has never been.

Time ,NYT ,Boston Herald are all praising Madonna ,the best pop ARTIST of all time .Very proud of her really

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