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Madame X: 'A Combustible, Political, Musical Manifesto'


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In the recent Vogue UK editorial, we got a bit more information about the direction of Madame X, so I thought I would compile here some of the new information revealed, to open a discussion about people's expectations based on the information we got so far. First of all, thank you to @Herfaceremainsfor uploading the scans of the editorial in the Vogue UK thread.

  • Before this, Mirwais had defined the album as a 'global futuristic' record, and now in Vogue UK Madonna defines it as 'a combustible, political, musical manifesto.' Apart from the songs we already heard, this is one of the things that makes me really excited about the creative and musical direction of the record.
  • The global world-sounds infused nature of the album is also further confirmed in this editorial, where we get confirmation that it will bring together sounds from different musical cultures, ranging across Portuguese, Spanish, Caribbean, South American, and North African influences (Morocco, Jamaica, Cape Verde, Colombia, in addition to other influences previously revealed, such as Latino musical traditions like fado, funana, and morna).
  • This editorial also reveals that this will be a political album 'urging us all to confront the crisis facing the world.' The editorial goes as far as claiming that Madame X might be Madonna's most political album, claiming the title previously held by American Life.

Screenshot 2019-05-12 at 00.15.14.png

Based on the songs we heard so far, all this new info leads me the conclusion that the release strategy is to first make available the songs as singles and promo singles which are more commercial and less political to avoid any sort of backlash like the one that followed American Life. However, the combination of Madonna and Mirwais, plus the whole concept of the album, seems to indicate that this will be a complete departure from M's most recent releases, and instead, it will be a much more experimental culturally and politically engaged record.

So how do you feel about the direction of the record? Do you like the idea and concept of the record, its musical diversity, and the way it aims to engage with politics like American Life did?

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Thanks for compiling this!  I will add a list of song titles with any information known (next to none which is a testament to the strength of she and her team!)

Medellín - first single

Dark Ballet - we know very little.  Described as sonically innovative in the press release.  Scheduled as a pre-release track.  

God Control - we know nothing except for some lyrics quoted in British Vogue 

Future - coming next week

Batuka - We know nothing except a lyric quoted in British Vogue

Killers Who Are Partying - we literally know nothing 

Crave - second single just released 

Crazy - we literally know nothing 

Come Alive - we literally know nothing 

Extreme Occident - she quoted some lyrics in her Glaad speech. Some fans speculate that this is the brief clip in the Madame X trailer but not sure if that is confirmed?

Faz Gostoso - features Anitta

Bitch I’m Loca - features Meluma 

I Don’t Search I Find - we know literally nothing 

Looking For Mercy - we know nothing 

I Rise - pre release track 

To answer the original post, I feel excited and inspired by her concept and visuals as revealed so far. I also love the three songs we have heard. I can’t wait for the album which I think will be innovative, political and full of classic Madonna melodies.

I LOVE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!  Reminds me of the old days when we knew so little. I remember reading snippets of lyrics from ROL in Vanity Fair and snippets of lyrics from Music in The Face. You would read some reviews that came out in magazines before the album and speculate on how songs would sound.  She has managed to maintain that secrecy this time around and I am living for it.

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We know the original news release provides these additional details/descriptions:

”Future” features Quavo, is produced by Diplo, and has a Jamaican dancehall vibe.

”Dark Ballet” is produced by Mirwais, inspired by Joan of Arc (backstage BBMA interview), and is described as “sonically innovative.”

(Oops — sorry, @Shane, I somehow accidentally overlooked you already mentioned “sonically innovative”!)

Edited by peter
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Oh, also, we believe we have heard two excerpts from Extreme Occident in Madame X teasers, because Shazam identified those snippets as Extreme Occident. (“The thing that hurt the most is that I wasn’t lost ...” and the “life is a circle” lyrics.)

Furthermore, we know Dark Ballet is the final name for “Beautiful Game,” which was performed in part at the Met Gala last year. We don’t know how much it may have changed, but at least enough material (melody or lyrics) has remained so that Shazam could identify that peformance as “Dark Ballet.”

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We're not ready for this. She's about to obliterate our expectations! Sounds like she's releasing her best '10s work...and just in the nick of time.

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1 minute ago, Shaun said:

We're not ready for this. She's about to obliterate our expectations! Sounds like she's releasing her best '10s work...and just in the nick of time.

I like during the Madame X Tour video reveal Diplo says Madonna’s fans love her. So very true. That love means I will devote myself to this album and have a beating heart when listening through for the first time. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

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Interesting.  I love a 3 songs we've heard but NONE of what she mentioned in the interview is how I felt when listening to those songs.  Maybe the other tracks will be the "Combustible, political, musical, manifesto" songs?

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Guest CzarnaWisnia
1 hour ago, headonfire said:

So how do you feel about the direction of the record? Do you like the idea and concept of the record, its musical diversity, and the way it aims to engage with politics like American Life did?

I don't like political music (American Life is one of my favorite albums, there's nothing political about it whatever, except the first single's video and the marketing), but I'll love Madame X if the music is good (and so far it is), so I don't care.

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I'm most interested and excited about the different musical styles that she will incorporate into the album tracks.

Really bored and not interested in mainstream EDM or American hip hop.

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Next Friday, when Future is released, we'll have listened to half of the Starrah's songs on the album (3/6) but only  to 1 out of 7 songs by Mirwais. I think there's a clear intention in launching before the most accesible songs to general public (or at least to USA market) and reserve the most experimental tracks, those with political content or the ethnic / fusion ones for when the album is released (except Medellin, that was chosen as the lead single because it felt more representative of the rest of the album than Crave or whatever it was the other option).

  

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I’m in total agreement regarding the rollout strategy. I think she and her team are very aware of what they are doing. It’s difficult to create a moment in this disposable culture, let alone the momentum to have a longer term worldwide impact, and what she has already managed to do with these first three more commercially palatable releases is create buzz...a great deal of buzz by anyone’s standards, but there’s actually a sense that people are reawakening to Madonna. I didn’t think that would happen with all the vitriol and knee jerk dismissal she’s been the recipient of for a good part of this decade. It’s uncanny how astute she is after several years of floundering in the chaos of the ever-evolving music industry. For the first time in almost fifteen years Madonna is truly redefining the game again. And she’s hardly even gotten started yet! The promo rollout is just beginning. Once the album drops, we are going to get to digest what is possibly shaping up to be Madonna’s magnum opus. I have a feeling we are in for a very rich and layered treat...

I don’t think this is a political album in the sense of it being an indictment of specific American or Western governments and public figures. I think it is broadly political in the sociological sense that the violence, the volatility, the lack of transparency and the confusion of our world have so radically reshaped the human experience both intellectually and metaphysically at such a rapid pace in our current era...as a mother, as a person of privilege, and as an activist, Madonna has found new ways to express herself through the concept of Madame X. It’s a brilliant move that opens up a multiverse of artistic explorations both visually and sonically, and it gives her the dramatic flair of a character to convey her message more poetically. There is the sense that Madonna has redefined the way she sees herself and her legacy, and she has rediscovered her passion for creative performance outside of the requirements of commercial viability. That’s very exciting to me! 

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6 hours ago, Herfaceremains said:

I’m in total agreement regarding the rollout strategy. I think she and her team are very aware of what they are doing. It’s difficult to create a moment in this disposable culture, let alone the momentum to have a longer term worldwide impact, and what she has already managed to do with these first three more commercially palatable releases is create buzz...a great deal of buzz by anyone’s standards, but there’s actually a sense that people are reawakening to Madonna. I didn’t think that would happen with all the vitriol and knee jerk dismissal she’s been the recipient of for a good part of this decade. It’s uncanny how astute she is after several years of floundering in the chaos of the ever-evolving music industry. For the first time in almost fifteen years Madonna is truly redefining the game again. And she’s hardly even gotten started yet! The promo rollout is just beginning. Once the album drops, we are going to get to digest what is possibly shaping up to be Madonna’s magnum opus. I have a feeling we are in for a very rich and layered treat...

I don’t think this is a political album in the sense of it being an indictment of specific American or Western governments and public figures. I think it is broadly political in the sociological sense that the violence, the volatility, the lack of transparency and the confusion of our world have so radically reshaped the human experience both intellectually and metaphysically at such a rapid pace in our current era...as a mother, as a person of privilege, and as an activist, Madonna has found new ways to express herself through the concept of Madame X. It’s a brilliant move that opens up a multiverse of artistic explorations both visually and sonically, and it gives her the dramatic flair of a character to convey her message more poetically. There is the sense that Madonna has redefined the way she sees herself and her legacy, and she has rediscovered her passion for creative performance outside of the requirements of commercial viability. That’s very exciting to me! 

Very well written!

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13 hours ago, Herfaceremains said:

I’m in total agreement regarding the rollout strategy. I think she and her team are very aware of what they are doing. It’s difficult to create a moment in this disposable culture, let alone the momentum to have a longer term worldwide impact, and what she has already managed to do with these first three more commercially palatable releases is create buzz...a great deal of buzz by anyone’s standards, but there’s actually a sense that people are reawakening to Madonna. I didn’t think that would happen with all the vitriol and knee jerk dismissal she’s been the recipient of for a good part of this decade. It’s uncanny how astute she is after several years of floundering in the chaos of the ever-evolving music industry. For the first time in almost fifteen years Madonna is truly redefining the game again. And she’s hardly even gotten started yet! The promo rollout is just beginning. Once the album drops, we are going to get to digest what is possibly shaping up to be Madonna’s magnum opus. I have a feeling we are in for a very rich and layered treat...

I don’t think this is a political album in the sense of it being an indictment of specific American or Western governments and public figures. I think it is broadly political in the sociological sense that the violence, the volatility, the lack of transparency and the confusion of our world have so radically reshaped the human experience both intellectually and metaphysically at such a rapid pace in our current era...as a mother, as a person of privilege, and as an activist, Madonna has found new ways to express herself through the concept of Madame X. It’s a brilliant move that opens up a multiverse of artistic explorations both visually and sonically, and it gives her the dramatic flair of a character to convey her message more poetically. There is the sense that Madonna has redefined the way she sees herself and her legacy, and she has rediscovered her passion for creative performance outside of the requirements of commercial viability. That’s very exciting to me! 

Very well put - thank you. This is a great analysis and I agree 100% with all you wrote.

I do also think from what we have seen so far that M will truly redefine the game again and give us a very special era, one which will mark profoundly her discography.

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14 hours ago, Herfaceremains said:

I’m in total agreement regarding the rollout strategy. I think she and her team are very aware of what they are doing. It’s difficult to create a moment in this disposable culture, let alone the momentum to have a longer term worldwide impact, and what she has already managed to do with these first three more commercially palatable releases is create buzz...a great deal of buzz by anyone’s standards, but there’s actually a sense that people are reawakening to Madonna. I didn’t think that would happen with all the vitriol and knee jerk dismissal she’s been the recipient of for a good part of this decade. It’s uncanny how astute she is after several years of floundering in the chaos of the ever-evolving music industry. For the first time in almost fifteen years Madonna is truly redefining the game again. And she’s hardly even gotten started yet! The promo rollout is just beginning. Once the album drops, we are going to get to digest what is possibly shaping up to be Madonna’s magnum opus. I have a feeling we are in for a very rich and layered treat...

I don’t think this is a political album in the sense of it being an indictment of specific American or Western governments and public figures. I think it is broadly political in the sociological sense that the violence, the volatility, the lack of transparency and the confusion of our world have so radically reshaped the human experience both intellectually and metaphysically at such a rapid pace in our current era...as a mother, as a person of privilege, and as an activist, Madonna has found new ways to express herself through the concept of Madame X. It’s a brilliant move that opens up a multiverse of artistic explorations both visually and sonically, and it gives her the dramatic flair of a character to convey her message more poetically. There is the sense that Madonna has redefined the way she sees herself and her legacy, and she has rediscovered her passion for creative performance outside of the requirements of commercial viability. That’s very exciting to me! 

Excellent post. Thank you.

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22 hours ago, CzarnaWisnia said:

I don't like political music (American Life is one of my favorite albums, there's nothing political about it whatever, except the first single's video and the marketing), but I'll love Madame X if the music is good (and so far it is), so I don't care.

I never get why people refer to that album as political. Aside from the title track, the album is fairly personal and introspective. It’s my third favorite. Xstatic Process and Mother and Father slay. 

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Based on the diversity of the four tracks we have heard, I think we are about to receive one of the greatest albums of her thirty-six year career, a critically acclaimed (I hope) masterpiece that will have a variety of styles and innovations with many classic Madonna melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and great vocal moments. I am on the edge of my seat.

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1 hour ago, Shane said:

Based on the diversity of the four tracks we have heard, I think we are about to receive one of the greatest albums of her thirty-six year career, a critically acclaimed (I hope) masterpiece that will have a variety of styles and innovations with many classic Madonna melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and great vocal moments. I am on the edge of my seat.

Yessssssssss. 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌

I'm with you on this 100%. 🙂

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On ‎5‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 9:50 AM, peter said:

We know the original news release provides these additional details/descriptions:

”Future” features Quavo, is produced by Diplo, and has a Jamaican dancehall vibe.

”Dark Ballet” is produced by Mirwais, inspired by Joan of Arc (backstage BBMA interview), and is described as “sonically innovative.”

(Oops — sorry, @Shane, I somehow accidentally overlooked you already mentioned “sonically innovative”!)

Hi, Pete!  Miss ya xo

 

Anyways, thanks for mentioning that Diplo produced 'Future'.  I thought it sounded like the tracks he did for RH, so my ears were not deceiving me (I have ready very little about the album to date -- for once in this millennium, I would like the element of surprise (once again) for a Madonna release!

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1 hour ago, Shane said:

Based on the diversity of the four tracks we have heard, I think we are about to receive one of the greatest albums of her thirty-six year career, a critically acclaimed (I hope) masterpiece that will have a variety of styles and innovations with many classic Madonna melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and great vocal moments. I am on the edge of my seat.

I had no real expectations for Madame X (except the usual fan expectation of 'quality') and have been pleasantly surprised by the tracks that have been revealed so far.  I was hoping for more drier vocals but have loved that every now and then in a track, a less treated vocal line appears and the warmth that radiates from that line can really pick up the track for me.

 

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12 hours ago, Shane said:

Based on the diversity of the four tracks we have heard, I think we are about to receive one of the greatest albums of her thirty-six year career, a critically acclaimed (I hope) masterpiece that will have a variety of styles and innovations with many classic Madonna melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and great vocal moments. I am on the edge of my seat.

:tigger::tigger::tigger:

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16 hours ago, Rebel Heartbreaker said:

Hi, Pete!  Miss ya xo

 

Anyways, thanks for mentioning that Diplo produced 'Future'.  I thought it sounded like the tracks he did for RH, so my ears were not deceiving me (I have ready very little about the album to date -- for once in this millennium, I would like the element of surprise (once again) for a Madonna release!

Hi, Tezza!! Miss you, too!! xo :inlove: Glad you are enjoying Madame X so far ... looking forward to the unveiling of more Mirwais-influenced tracks when the album is released...

Love you!!

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20 hours ago, Shane said:

Based on the diversity of the four tracks we have heard, I think we are about to receive one of the greatest albums of her thirty-six year career, a critically acclaimed (I hope) masterpiece that will have a variety of styles and innovations with many classic Madonna melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and great vocal moments. I am on the edge of my seat.

We’re on the same wavelength! 😃

I’m on the edge of my seat, too.

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On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 3:31 AM, peter said:

Hi, Tezza!! Miss you, too!! xo :inlove: Glad you are enjoying Madame X so far ... looking forward to the unveiling of more Mirwais-influenced tracks when the album is released...

Love you!!

I am surprised I am liking the tracks as much as I do.  I am not usually a fan of autotune/vocoder and the tired business of 'featuring' artists in pop music, especially where Madonna is concerned (call me an old school hag, but I much prefer backing vocalists like Donna and Nikki as a compliment to Madonna's vocals.  But, hey...time to move with the times!

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Many of the songs have been kind of slow-growers for me, but I've learned to love them a lot. I couldn't stand Medellín at first, but now it's just such a gem. On my "best of" playlist it fits lovely between La Isla Bonita and HolidayI Rise with its powerful message is ringing in my head all the time, and Crave is like a warm caress. Future is all about the horns, which I love. 

I agree with @Rebel Heartbreaker about the vocoder and featuring artists, but somehow these songs indeed "rise above it all". I mean I barely notice Swae Lee in the Crave video as the messy 80's hair gets all my attention. 😍 Though I have to say that I love the Maluma collaborations for all the extramusical elements... 

giphy.gif

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4 hours ago, Klasu said:

Many of the songs have been kind of slow-growers for me, but I've learned to love them a lot. I couldn't stand Medellín at first, but now it's just such a gem. On my "best of" playlist it fits lovely between La Isla Bonita and HolidayI Rise with its powerful message is ringing in my head all the time, and Crave is like a warm caress. Future is all about the horns, which I love. 

I agree with @Rebel Heartbreaker about the vocoder and featuring artists, but somehow these songs indeed "rise above it all". I mean I barely notice Swae Lee in the Crave video as the messy 80's hair gets all my attention. 😍 Though I have to say that I love the Maluma collaborations for all the extramusical elements... 

giphy.gif

It helps that Maluma is Columbian Sex On Legs!!

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