Now that Madonna explained who Madame X is (she forgot pretentious), this is how I see Madame X.
Medellin – Four years since Rebel Heart and I was ready for some new Madonna music. After hearing the first single “Medellin”, I thought “Eh”, but who knew this would be one of the better songs on the album. Madame X is mediocre.
Dark Ballet – This ballad will keep Auto-Tune in business at least until a new Cher album is released. I don’t know what’s more out of place, the classical piano breakdown in the middle of the song or the preaching at the end. Madame X sounds as profound as Little Edie from Grey Gardens.
God Control – The worst song on the album starts with Madonna’s vocals muffled as if she just had her wisdom teeth removed and transitions into the best song on the album with a disco beat worthy of Donna Summer. Madame X is a Dr. Seuss poetress on acid.
Future – With a reggae beat and weak lyrics borrowed from “Don’t Tell Me”, this song is quite unforgettable even if you’re not “coming from the future or not coming from the past”. Madame X is Bob Marley fresh out of rehab.
Batuka – Madame X is a post-apartheid Paul Simon wanna-be on this global call and response song. “It’s a long way, it’s a long day” and with these repetitive lyrics it’s a long song.
Killers Who Are Partying – Madonna lists a bunch of people that she would be if they needed protecting. My favorite is “I will be poor if the poor are humiliated”, as if she’d give up her 2000 thread count sheets for anyone. Madame X is like Mother Teresa having a psychotic episode.
Crave – This is the first song on the album that really stands out. This is the only song on the album that tries to be radio friendly, both with it’s sound and with it’s collaboration with Swae Lee. Madame X is trying to remain relevant.
Crazy – This modernized Motown sounding gem starts weirdly enough with an accordion. Madame X is Edith Piaf singing Karaoke in Harlem.
Come Alive – A song with pop sensibilities, over a Stomp beat, and more preachy political lyrics. Madame X is the most Madonna on this track.
Extreme Occident – I can’t relate to Madonna’s angst of being lost but not lost. Madame X is a broken GPS.
Faz Gostoso – Mostly non-English lyrics (the few English ones are sung with an accent) over a Latin beat. Madame X thinks she’s Carmen Miranda.
Bitch I’m Loca – Throughout the album I’m left wondering if Madonna is losing her voice with all the Auto-Tuning, heavy back-up choirs, and featured singers like Maluma on this song. She’s more like the guest singer on many tracks. Madame X is Swiss Miss on spring break in Miami coming for Gloria Estefan.
I Don’t Search I Find – This song is all about the electronic sound that Madonna has been cultivating since Ray Of Light. Madame X is Angela Lansbury on the prowl at a lesbian bar in the 70’s.
Looking For Mercy – This ballad has a theme that is common in much of Madonna’s music, mixing religion and love. Madame X could be a pregnant nun.
I Rise – Finally a political song that takes a stand in a universally relatable way. Madame X is Norma Rae…of course, ala Sally Field.
Madame X is a concept album that needs visuals to tie it together. As with previous albums, I think Madame X was created for Madonna’s next tour (theater venues for short residencies) to give new material to the upcoming heavy-handed spectacle with a message. Is Madame X a global album, a political album or a pop album? Yes, however it lacks cohesion, within the songs themselves and how they interact with each other.
Now that I’ve talked about the things that Madame X is, let me tell you the few things Madame X isn’t…at least in my gay opinion. Madame X isn’t subtle but doesn’t even try, Madame X isn’t sincere which she unsuccessfully seemed to be going for, and Madame X isn’t Madonna’s best.