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"Rebel Heart" Reviews [continued] - thread 2

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Here's a nice review from the heart of Texas. Who would have thunk it? Not always the friendliest area to Madonna. But I guess Texas is a rebel state!

http://www.star-telegram.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article12670982.html

Watching Madonna attempt to wrestle the 21st century into submission ahead of her new studio album, Rebel Heart, has been fascinating.

A refugee from musics monocultural heyday, Madonna has tried to seem nimble and flexible rather than a MTV relic.

One stumble after another has dogged Her Madgesty, whether its her recent, painful tumble at the BRIT Awards or Hearts Internet leak a full month ahead of its release.

In each instance, shes forged ahead, but these missteps underscore how difficult a high profile publicity campaign is no matter your stature in the Internet age.

She even included a brief memo to journalists with Heart, her first studio album in three years, following 2012s MDNA.

In it, the 56-year-old singer-songwriter shares her initial vision I knew I wanted to explore the duality of my personality which is renegade and romantic, Madonna writes as well as what seems like a disclaimer as defensive as it is paradoxically vulnerable.

I have opinions, she writes. What else can you do if youre an artist? I dont know any other way except to offer up my heart, or Come on, you wanna f with me? Lets go.

Such overbearing, pre-release micromanaging gives a whiff of preemptive damage control, mitigating the impact of a forgettable record (for my money, Madonnas last high water mark was a decade ago, on 2005s Confessions on a Dance Floor), so imagine the pleasant surprise: Heart manages to balance the tough and tender sides of Madges personality in entertaining fashion.

For a substantial stretch of Heart, from the gorgeous atmospherics ofGhosttown through to the gritty Joan of Arc, Madonna offers a side of herself she hasnt exhibited since the transitional 90s. The human side of being an icon is fertile terrain, often left unexplored, because introspection doesnt always mesh well with pop escapism.

And while Madonna has some fun with tabloid rumors Illuminati, her much-touted collaboration with Kanye West, is bitingly funny, as well as pleasingly of-the-musical-moment Heart takes hold when she drops her guard, and distances herself from guests like Nicki Minaj and Chance the Rapper, admitting the high cost of global superstardom.

I dont want to talk about it right now/Just hold me while I cry my eyes out, she sings on Joan of Arc, a mid-tempo ballad providing sharp contrast with boastful tracks like the reggae-tinged, Diplo-produced Unapologetic B.

What sneaks up on you as Rebel Heart unfolds a little lengthy in its 55-minute version; absurdly over-long in its 75-minute deluxe edition format is Madonna, for all the hiccups in the months prior to the albums release, hit upon a realization as true in the 21st century as it was in the 19th: being yourself, regardless of the consequences, will win out every time.

In other words, substance almost always trumps style, but for a rare few artists, one can enhance the other.

Having the chutzpah to pull it off, in this short-attention-span age, is Madonnas true act of rebellion.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article12670982.html#storylink=cpy

BRAVO!

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I thought we were postings only reviews that count for MC

Where does it say that? I think it would be great if we could collect all the reviews, good, bad, mediocre, those that count towards MC and those that don't. I like to read everything. How do you figure out which ones count towards MC? I have google alerts for Madonna and that's how I'm getting these reviews. I don't see why MC doesn't just use any review that's on google?

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I thought we were postings only reviews that count for MC

Then we would be mostly reading trash. The good thing is that the general public, the ones who didn't even know Madonna is releasing a new album and might buy tour tickets for nostalgia, is far more likely to stumble across some of the more positive reviews from actual news publications or entertainment sites than pick up some elitist music magazine or obscure music blog that Metacritic chooses to include in its score.

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We can post just about any. Um can we get some more reviews in here instead of these reviews of the reviews and reviews on the fans who don't like them :crazy:

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Indeed:

"Madonna has never gotten the credit she deserves as a musician, or as an album artist. Her essential interests are unchanging -- dancefloor ecstasy, European balladry, 1960s pop classicism -- but her expression of them finds new articulations. Rebel Heart has 14 producers working in seven different teams and still it sounds exactly like a Madonna album."

My favorite part of the Billboard review...

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bloomberg counts? his twitter: Mark Beech To date, had a few hundred folks asking where's my @Madonna "Rebel Heart" review. Verdict: Return to form, ****.

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bloomberg counts? his twitter: Mark Beech To date, had a few hundred folks asking where's my @Madonna "Rebel Heart" review. Verdict: Return to form, ****.

No, it doesn't. :(

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I almost wonder if Madonna should have stuck with the original idea of releasing a double album, Rebel and Heart. I think it might shut up a lot of the critics that complain about lack of cohesion.

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I almost wonder if Madonna should have stuck with the original idea of releasing a double album, Rebel and Heart. I think it might shut up a lot of the critics that complain about lack of cohesion.

People are going to complain anyway. A Rebel and Heart double album would have been boring as hell. It would be like Madonna gone adult contemporary and then Madonna gone crazy. I don't know why people keep harping on the lack of cohesion. It's sonically cohesive with the industrial production, military drums, and the track list keeps things interesting.

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People are going to complain anyway. A Rebel and Heart double album would have been boring as hell. It would be like Madonna gone adult contemporary and then Madonna gone crazy. I don't know why people keep harping on the lack of cohesion. It's sonically cohesive with the industrial production, military drums, and the track list keeps things interesting.

+1

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And this might be reading too much into it, but I think mixing the Rebel and Heart tracks together makes a stronger statement in the message she's trying to convey. Why does someone have to be just a rebel or just a vulnerable romantic? Stop trying to put Madonna (or people) in a box.

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I almost wonder if Madonna should have stuck with the original idea of releasing a double album, Rebel and Heart. I think it might shut up a lot of the critics that complain about lack of cohesion.

But most critics have problems with the rebel songs themselves instead of the cohesiveness of the record. At least there are just a few badass songs on the album. Had she put half of the focus on the record the slaughter would've been worse.

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What is your problem? I thought I was being nice by sharing what I saw in some magazines about the album. Sorry that offends you.

He's off his meds and trying to prove some point. Next month he will love everything.

One soul in a crazytown.

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People are going to complain anyway. A Rebel and Heart double album would have been boring as hell. It would be like Madonna gone adult contemporary and then Madonna gone crazy. I don't know why people keep harping on the lack of cohesion. It's sonically cohesive with the industrial production, military drums, and the track list keeps things interesting.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that finds it cohesive. The Super Deluxe gets a little all over the place but I wouldn't expect bonus tracks to fit in with any sound/theme of main album......that's why they are bonus tracks after all. :)

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We can post just about any. Um can we get some more reviews in here instead of these reviews of the reviews and reviews on the fans who don't like them :crazy:

:dead:

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"She may have stumbled in Britain, But this is a triumph"

People Magazine gave it a short but great review.

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People are going to complain anyway. A Rebel and Heart double album would have been boring as hell. It would be like Madonna gone adult contemporary and then Madonna gone crazy. I don't know why people keep harping on the lack of cohesion. It's sonically cohesive with the industrial production, military drums, and the track list keeps things interesting.

I agree!

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Some of M's past scores by Entertainment Weekly

Madonna A

Like a Virgin A

True Blue B

Who's That Girl D

Like A Prayer A

I'm Breathless A

TIC A

Erotica C+

Bedtime Stories B+

Something To Remember A

Ray of Light A-

Music A

American Life B-

Confessions B+

Hard Candy B+

Celebration A

MDNA B-

Rebel Heart B

For the most part they've been pretty fair. However, that Erotica is so low just shows that Madonna is judged more on public perception of her at the time than her actual output.

THANK YOU,I was about to research this myself..pretty accurate imo, just I disagree with the American Life and Erotica rating

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"She may have stumbled in Britain, But this is a triumph"

People Magazine gave it a short but great review.

Madonna, Rebel Heart

She may have stumbled in Britain, but this is a triumph

The beauty of the indefatigable provocateur's latest is how she reaches new levels of invention even when looking back to classic moments. Teaming up with A-list producers like Diplo and Kanye West, Madge nods just enough to her prime moments - you recognize the gospel-pop of "Like a Prayer" in "Living for Love," the brash sensuality of Erotica in "Holy Water" - to make this her best album in a decade. (March 10)

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The Times review



Will Hodgkinson

Published at 12:01AM, March 6 2015


4 out of 5 stars




stars_stencil_a.png



One of the more colourful explanations for Madonna’s near garrotting by her own cape at the Brit Awards last week puts the blame on a cabal of all-powerful figures intent on ruling the world through a combination of blood sacrifice and song-and-dance routines.


Halfway through Rebel Heart, her 13th album, comes Illuminati, a robot-voiced listing of all the people — or shape-shifting lizards, according to David Icke — who are said to belong to this sinister order. Jay-Z, Beyoncé, even that poor lost man-child Justin Bieber get a mention in a catchy disco tune that pokes fun at conspiracy theorists’ fondness for mythologising famous people.


Those same theorists are now suggesting that the Illuminati took revenge on Madge by subjecting her to a terrible punishment at the Brits: tying her cape on too tight.


In fact, Madonna’s accident showed her to be not only human after all, but also possessed of a strength of character that has seen her through four decades of outrageous fortune. She knew how to fly backwards without breaking her neck, she bounced up in seconds and got on with the show and, rather than sack her mortified dancers, she took them out for dinner.


All this won public approval, which she needed badly after melodramatically describing the leak of Rebel Heart in December as “artistic rape and terrorism”. Madonna’s fall became the story of the Brits, but it was her reaction to it that casts her album in such a benign glow.


It’s not perfect. Like so many recent albums by major pop stars, it’s too long. Why do we need a standard and a deluxe edition? Would an author offer an extended version of their new novel for a few quid more? It takes away from the idea of an album as a complete work.


Madonna has drafted in all manner of modish producers, including Kanye West, resulting in a modern pop equivalent of a bring-and-buy sale. And the lyrical rudeness can be less sexy, more downright gynaecological. When she sings “kiss it better, make it wetter” onHoly Water, you don’t know where to look. Yet at her best Madonna remains head and shoulders above everyone else in pop.


There’s a price to pay for reinventing yourself as a postmodern figure of worldwide fame and controversy and Madonna weighs it up onJoan of Arc, a ballad that is as smart as it is heartfelt. “Each time they take a photograph I lose a part I can’t get back,” she sings. “Each time they write a hateful word, dragging my soul into the dirt, I want to die.”


The agonies of fame and fortune is not a subject we non-rich, non-famous people traditionally have much sympathy for, but Madonna throws a light on to her reality by being honest and it draws the listener towards her.


Heartbreak City is another cri de coeur, a piano ballad on which she tries to make sense of the end of a relationship. There’s more than a tinge of bitterness to the words about an ex-boyfriend (or husband? Watch out, Guy Ritchie) who hitched a ride on Madonna’s coat-tails.


“You got just what you came for, a bit of fame and fortune, and now I’m no longer needed,” she sings, adding: “And then you had the nerve to say that we could still be friends.” It’s reassuring to know the most disingenuous pay-off in the history of relationships is used not just on teenagers getting chucked for the first time, but on multimillionaire queens of pop too.


The hi-octane pop songs here recall the hook-laden glories of Madonna’s Eighties heyday. Living For Love and Devil Pray have tinges of the irreligious gospel that made her 1988 classic Like a Prayer so irresistible, and the aforementioned Illuminati recallsVogue, her 1990 paean to posing in nightclubs, while also serving as a reminder that a fun, throwaway tune can be clever too.


Things fall apart on Iconic, on which Madonna comes across less like a cultural icon and more like a motivational speaker reading out platitudes of empowerment, but for the most part the album jumps happily between revelation and disco escapism.


Frustratingly, some of the best songs are on the deluxe edition only. Madonna has a Julius Caesar moment on Veni Vidi Vici, giving us a quick run-through of her myriad achievements before deflating her own pomposity by adding, “I exposed my naked arse and I did it with a smile”.


The (deluxe) album ends with the title track, a combination of country rock and electronic pop. “I’ve spent time as a narcissist . . . trying to be provocative,” sings Madonna before telling herself, “Never look back. It’s a waste of time.” It sums up the message of this flawed but vibrant album: still in the game, still pushing forward, now in a position to reflect on all that has happened with sagacity.(Out now, Interscope)






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^ UK Times 4 out of 5 stars

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Guest HaveASit

Good review. Does it count?

Nope. None of those two count

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Here's my rough translation of a review from Danish newspaper Børsen:

The soft Madonna is back

You should always read the liner notes whenever Madonna releases a new album. The list of producers and songwriters is a clear indication of her intended overall sound and how she perceives herself at the moment.

Rebel Heart was intended as a dance-pop album. Danceable pop has been Madonna's musical home ground for the past 30 years. This time, she has hand-picked her collaborators from the top of the pops. The Swedish hitmaker Avicii is present, Ariel Rechtshaid has delivered some edgier pop sounds, while Diplo gets the crazy party started. They are all people with a flair for mixing pop tunes with dance beats. In other words, the album was built on a solid foundation and even though it's not flawless, Rebel Heart appears much stronger than its predecessor, MDNA.

This time, she has remembered to breathe and it's nice to once again hear the softer side of her voice. Songs such as "Ghosttown" and "Joan of Arc" belong in the same thoughtful universe as "La Isla Bonita" and "Take a Bow".

The thematically pivotal song of the record, "Unapologetic Bitch" is more problematic. Over a dancehall beat, she shows off and marks her territory. She didn't need to do that. After all, she's Madonna. The lead single "Living for Love" is much stronger, with its poppy house beats and a gospel choir reminiscent of "Like a Prayer".

Another highlight is "HeartBreakCity", which is another proof that Madonna's melancholic moments are often where she is at her strongest.

Several songs on the album were released in December due to a mass leak of demo recordings and most of those songs have managed to stand the test of time. The remaining pieces fit well into the puzzle. The album is at its strongest when Madonna goes for sweetness rather than provocation.

Rating: 4/6

Original article in (Danish): http://borsen.dk/nyheder/avisen/artikel/11/106647/artikel.html?hl=TWFkb25uYTttYWRvbm5h (paywall)

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"I don't listen to what art critics say. I don't know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is." - Jean-Michel Basquiat

First post, guys. Really loving this era. It makes it even better to see you being so supportive of Madonna.

Don't worry about the bad reviews. "Rebel Heart" makes evident just how some critics are stupid and absolutely miss what dealing with creation and art vision really is. In this album Madonna have enough songs that could be put together in at least two more "cohesive" albums that every so called critic could only give her stellar reviews. She obviously knew that, but that was never her goal.

They simply dont get an artistic vision in pop world, what makes this album even more close to Erotica.

Hope youre all enjoying what shes been doing as much as I am!

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