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"Rebel Heart" Reviews [continued] - thread 2

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I hope this is not a jinx but I feel strongly that Boston Globe, All Music.com, NY Times, and Pop Matters will add to the good reviews pile. Consequence of Sound, the AV Club, and the Los Angeles Times could go either way. Hoping Pitchfork is not as negative as usual.

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Yet another Danish review, from the music magazine Gaffa:

Madonna - Rebel Heart

As a whole, Rebel Heart is a tiresome mess of an album.

The six songs that were released in December promised well for the full album. Unfortunately, it wasn't worth waiting fo. Those 6 songs are the most interesting, by far.

The album is well-produced, but once again sees Madonna following trends that peaked a few years ago, combined with a few cringe-worthy and forced attempts at provoking the Catholic church. She should have spent some more time on the actual songwriting. The songs here are decent, but unmemorable, especially on the second half of the album. Musically, it sounds like Madonna has chosen to go down the safe route.

"Body Shop", however, proves that Madonna is still capable of creating magnificent pop tunes. On the other hand, by-the-numbers ballads such as "HeartBreakCity" and "Wash All Over Me" are delivered so half-heartedly that you'd rather skip them in favour of hearing "Unapologetic Bitch" and "Illuminati" again.

It would suit Madonna to quit the forced provocations and the most embarrassing vulgarities. That would allow her to focus on creating a solid album.

Rebel Heart is one of those albums that make you appreciate the era of playlists,

Rating: 3/6

Original article (in Danish): http://gaffa.dk/anmeldelse/93225

Another newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, rated the album 5/6, but I won't have access to read the full review until tomorrow.

Can't argue with that. But I'm glad she's releasing a Super Deluxe Version so we can have more to pick from.

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I don't understand how someone cannot like Wash All Over Me or say it's half hearted. This is one of her albums that focuses the most on songwriting rather than production. They say she should focus less on vulgarity and provocation but yet they love Unapologetic Bitch and Illuminati which are the rebellious songs. Doesn't really make sense.

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Why do Danish reviews have 6 as the highest score? Seems like an odd number to choose!

No idea. But that is the standard for most Danish media.

A few, however, use a 5-point scale.

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I don't understand how someone cannot like Wash All Over Me or say it's half hearted. This is one of her albums that focuses the most on songwriting rather than production. They say she should focus less on vulgarity and provocation but yet they love Unapologetic Bitch and Illuminati which are the rebellious songs. Doesn't really make sense.

Me neither.

Speaks volumes to me that the same reviewer thinks that MDNA was a better album..

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I don't understand how someone cannot like Wash All Over Me or say it's half hearted. This is one of her albums that focuses the most on songwriting rather than production. They say she should focus less on vulgarity and provocation but yet they love Unapologetic Bitch and Illuminati which are the rebellious songs. Doesn't really make sense.

:chuckle:

That's exactly what I meant in regards to gay mags respecting Madonna more if she turned into Streisand. They are reviewing Madonna and not her work. That's why their reviews are full of contradictions and banalities all the time. NME was a major let down, not because it's unfavourable but because it reads as if it was written by a kid in high school

Tragic indeed

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NME is definitely the worst review. Coming from a "respected" magazine (or what used to be) it's really a let down.

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I don't understand how someone cannot like Wash All Over Me or say it's half hearted. This is one of her albums that focuses the most on songwriting rather than production. They say she should focus less on vulgarity and provocation but yet they love Unapologetic Bitch and Illuminati which are the rebellious songs. Doesn't really make sense.

Well, I agree with these sentiments to a degree. WAOM is a beautiful song lyrically and moves me immensely, but sonically it goes nowhere...so that's why I would also say it's only half way there. UB and Illuminati aren't vulgar at all and I don't think that's what they're referring to (it would probably be SEX and Holy Water). I gravitate to songs like UB and BIM over Hold Tight or Messiah, for instance, because they are more adventurous in their sound. I ordinarily love M ballads but these mostly sound very basic in production and bore me a little. I'm surprised that they are so ordinary in the way they sound. I recall someone else here a couple of months ago saying that they connect to the music before the lyrics (I'm the same). So my first impressions will always be based on sound...and that may be why we get such polarising responses.

Certainly a split in tastes among fans and critics :)

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really? i think wash all over me is one of the greatest songs on the album.. i think it certainly goes somewhere

i dont understand why some fans don't like it or prefer the demo

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Well, I agree with these sentiments to a degree. WAOM is a beautiful song lyrically and moves me immensely, but sonically it goes nowhere...so that's why I would also say it's only half way there. UB and Illuminati aren't vulgar at all and I don't think that's what they're referring to (it would probably be SEX and Holy Water). I gravitate to songs like UB and BIM over Hold Tight or Messiah, for instance, because they are more adventurous in their sound. I ordinarily love M ballads but these mostly sound very basic in production and bore me a little. I'm surprised that they are so ordinary in the way they sound. I recall someone else here a couple of months ago saying that they connect to the music before the lyrics (I'm the same). So my first impressions will always be based on sound...and that may be why we get such polarising responses.

Certainly a split in tastes among fans and critics :)

Well... See how we're all different?

For me, these ballads and mid-tempo songs (messiah, heartbreak, joa, woam...) are the best songs she recorded in years. Musically they are way more accomplished than her up-tempo song, that I find, to a certain extend, over-produced. I don't hear anything original in UB, while I'm completly overwhelmed by the beauty of HC...

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really? i think wash all over me is one of the greatest songs on the album.. i think it certainly goes somewhere

i dont understand why some fans don't like it or prefer the demo

I love it too! I much prefer it to the demo which had more of the typical Avicii dance sound. From some preview articles, I was getting worried she changed it back to a dance track which luckily she didn't.

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Me neither.

Speaks volumes to me that the same reviewer thinks that MDNA was a better album..

I can't speak to it being better, but I recall feeling a lot more excited listening to MDNA. I enjoyed HC and lost my mind to COADF on first listen. For Music I was mixed (though adore it all now) and I loved AL so much I cried while listening. Writing a review after one/two listens will always invoke a knee-jerk response...I don't think anyone should be making claims of anything being better than another. It's too much based on feelings and how you respond to music....i.e. very subjective/personal. I try not to place too much weight on people's feeling about how the music sounds, but how it sounds in the context of M's age or being a female is out of line and has no place in a review.

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I love it too! I much prefer it to the demo which had more of the typical Avicii dance sound. From some preview articles, I was getting worried she changed it back to a dance track which luckily she didn't.

I think it suits the album better the way it is in final form, but I do prefer the Avicii one :Disco_Ball:

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rebel heart is the first album that's making me cry. no taste is the same ;) although i really can't get how people can prefer unapologetic bitch to a beautiful ballad or if they prefer that wash all over me demo :p sorry but.. ;)

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I think it suits the album better the way it is in final form, but I do prefer the Avicii one :Disco_Ball:

I'm with you on this, :lol:

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The Gay mags are so damn prudish. They'd respect and appreciate her more if she turned into Streisand.

So true :) there was one gay blog that was complaining about "Holy Water",implying that it was too sexual...lol...wtf?!

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I'm with you on this, :lol:

Let's dance!!!!!!!!!!

05691042_dance_gif.gif

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That seems to be a good review, but I don't know why it isnt rated yet. S T Elerwine always points out some stupid cliches about Madonnas career but it is nice to see a honest critic trying to make sense out of something that, for him, is not fully that easy to digest.

ALL MUSIC

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rebel Heart was introduced to the world with an indiscipline uncharacteristic of Madonna. Blame it on hackers who rushed out a clutch of unfinished tracks at the end of 2014, a few months before the record's scheduled spring release. Madonna countered by putting six full tracks up on a digital service, a move that likely inflated the final Deluxe Edition of Rebel Heart up to a whopping 19 tracks weighing in at 75 minutes, but even that unveiling wasn't performed without a hitch: during an ornate performance of "Living for Love," she stumbled on-stage at the BRIT Awards. Such cracks in Madge's armor happily play into the humanity coursing through Rebel Heart (maybe the hiccups were intentional after all?), a record that ultimately benefits from its daunting mess. All the extra space allows ample room for detours, letting Madonna indulge in both Erotica-era taboo-busting sleaze ("Holy Water") and feather-light pop ("Body Shop"). Although she takes a lingering look back at the past on "Veni Vidi Vici" -- her cataloging of past hits walks right on the edge of camp, kept away from the danger zone by a cameo from Nas -- Rebel Heart, like any Madonna album, looks forward. Opener "Living for Love" announces as much, as its classic disco is soon exploded into a decibel-shattering EDM pulse coming courtesy of co-producer Diplo. Madonna brings him back a few more times -- the pairing of the reggae-bouncing "Unapologetic Bitch" and Nicki Minaj showcase "Bitch I'm Madonna," their titles suggesting vulgarity, their execution flinty and knowing -- but she cleverly balances these clubby bangers with "Devil Pray," an expert evocation of her folktronica Y2K co-produced by Avicii, and "Illuminati," a sleek, spooky collaboration with Kanye West. These are the anchors of the album, grounding the record when Madonna wanders into slow-churning meditation, unabashed revivals of her '90s adult contemporary mode, casual confession ("I spent sometime as a narcissist"), and defiant celebrations of questionable taste. Undoubtedly, some of this flair would've been excised if the record was a manageable length, but the blessing of the unwieldiness is that it does indeed represent a loosening of Madonna's legendary need for control. Certainly, the ambition remains, along with the hunger to remain on the bleeding edge, but she's allowing her past to mingle with her present, allowing her to seem human yet somewhat grander at the same time.

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I don't understand why every album must be compared to ROL or LAP. Can't people just move the fuck on and understand that each album is not a 2.0 of another?

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The allmusic review is cool. I like that site. They usually give pretty fair reviews. Is Madonna becoming the new Tori Amos? With the long albums and Wash All Over Me reminds me of Tori. Plus, the harking back to the 90's sound. They're both human and grande like the review said and they can mingle their past and their present. I love them both!

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I don't understand why every album must be compared to ROL or LAP. Can't people just move the fuck on and understand that each album is not a 2.0 of another?

Exactly. We all have our favorite eras we're most fond of and nostalgic for. But I'm so tired of reviewers, including some fairweather fans, stubbornly pining for whatever 2.0. She's not Michael Jackson who barely evolved and stepped out of his "Thriller" shadow. She's not the same person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. With her experiences and restlessness, her vision will keep evolving and her output will reflect it organically instead of trying to redo a past chapter. These reviewers can go worship 5th rate Madonna tribute act Lady Gaga for that! :chuckle:

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Exactly. We all have our favorite eras we're most fond of and nostalgic for. But I'm so tired of reviewers, including some fairweather fans, stubbornly pining for whatever 2.0. She's not Michael Jackson who barely evolved and stepped out of his "Thriller" shadow. She's not the same person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. With her experiences and restlessness, her vision will keep evolving and her output will reflect it organically instead of trying to redo a past chapter. These reviewers can go worship 5th rate Madonna tribute act Lady Gaga for that! :chuckle:

Exactly!

She's always reinventing herself, constantly changing. If she stays the same, they complain, if she changes, they want her to return to past times. Why are they never happy with her?

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But I think the great thing about Madonna is she reinvents herself but there's a core that remains the same. There's a lot of echoes of past eras and albums on Rebel Heart. She changes but not too much that it doesn't feel like Madonna!

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Exactly. We all have our favorite eras we're most fond of and nostalgic for. But I'm so tired of reviewers, including some fairweather fans, stubbornly pining for whatever 2.0. She's not Michael Jackson who barely evolved and stepped out of his "Thriller" shadow. She's not the same person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. With her experiences and restlessness, her vision will keep evolving and her output will reflect it organically instead of trying to redo a past chapter. These reviewers can go worship 5th rate Madonna tribute act Lady Gaga for that! :chuckle:

Amen. Madonna's ever changing style of music, image and style is one of her greatest achievements. Imagine if she stayed with the same style and look as Like a Virgin for example. She never stops changing and evolving and it is natural and second nature to her. Even if people prefer different songs and eras etc, surely they can appreciate how consistently great and interesting she always is.

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Guest Spiraltp

Will the super deluxe songs ie borrowed time be on spotify or iTunes or are they cd only

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No, they and most of the media world just love to worship and fawn over starlets with little to zero talent who are used as interchangeable puppets with no voice/opinion/education whatsoever. As always, some, luckily not most people, cannot cope with Madonna's astounding longevity. I can't at all those slant/pitchfork type blogs' customary level of condescension towards her. And I don't care if they made an effort this time and conceded better reviews

What Madonna did on that Italian TV show last Sunday and on Le Grand Journal, Grammys, Brits etc etc is a big memo to the rest of the industry. And not just for female singers, a lot of male superstars could learn a lot from her too.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

Everybody could learn from her...and looking at the state of the industry, they all NEED TO.

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Will the super deluxe songs ie borrowed time be on spotify or iTunes or are they cd only

Welcome to the Nation! :)

The Super Deluxe tracks are CD-only, unless you buy a ticket for the North American leg of the tour.

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Exactly. We all have our favorite eras we're most fond of and nostalgic for. But I'm so tired of reviewers, including some fairweather fans, stubbornly pining for whatever 2.0. She's not Michael Jackson who barely evolved and stepped out of his "Thriller" shadow. She's not the same person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. With her experiences and restlessness, her vision will keep evolving and her output will reflect it organically instead of trying to redo a past chapter. These reviewers can go worship 5th rate Madonna tribute act Lady Gaga for that! :chuckle:

giphy.gif

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Exactly. We all have our favorite eras we're most fond of and nostalgic for. But I'm so tired of reviewers, including some fairweather fans, stubbornly pining for whatever 2.0. She's not Michael Jackson who barely evolved and stepped out of his "Thriller" shadow. She's not the same person 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. With her experiences and restlessness, her vision will keep evolving and her output will reflect it organically instead of trying to redo a past chapter. These reviewers can go worship 5th rate Madonna tribute act Lady Gaga for that! :chuckle:

Yes. Imagine Madonna being stuck in a time warp for the past 30 years and not evolving . She always take us on these amazing journeys and they're never the same . Thank god !

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To me, the essential Madonna is "Ray of Light", "American Life" and "Confessions on the Dance Floor". You could summarize it all with "I'm Going To Tell You A Secret". The "Human Nature" Madonna is an illusion. It's a character. In real life she is a total metaphysical nerd. This is not to say that she is not sexual. Of course she is. But it most certainly does not define her as a person. Her children, her love for Malawi, her passion for the world, art, freedom, these things define her.

Btw, when people asked her which one album she would says defines her best, she said Ray of Light. She also said that her favorite album was American Life.

But this get's right to what Hector was saying above. That's who she was at that time in her life. I don't really understand why so many always think ROL-to-Confessions Madonna is somehow the "real/essential" Madonna, as if the before or after are just "characters" or "personas"... Why are those eras above any different? How is Veronica Electronica any different from Dita? She has always said her work is a combination of fact and fiction. I don't see why that doesn't apply to the more 'spiritual/married' years. If anything, she's basically alluded to the fact that she deliberately chose to tone down that side even if she really didn't want to in recent interviews. The fact that this side has come out more so since the divorce/HC, I think that says a lot... As for being a "metaphysical nerd" and her caring for her children, human rights, art...while true, it doesn't mean the sexual/provocative/cheeky side is only a "character." If anything, the whole Rebel Heart project is saying the opposite of what you're saying...that she is ALL these things. It's not about one being any more than the other, or that one side is "real" and the other is "character." I get that people love ROL, but when that becomes the end all/be all that everything she is and has done is compared to, to me, that's nothing more than confirmation bias.

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