Madonna ‘Rebel Heart’ Album Review Roundup

March 5, 2015

Madonna’s new album is ‘Rebel Heart.’ Music critics have given the Queen of Pop mostly positive reviews as she charts out yet new territory in a long career with her 13th studio album. Check out a roundup of what they have to say.


Madonna continues her decades-long reign as Queen of Pop with this, her 13th album. And in the weeks leading up to the album, there has been much drama. It began with the leak of several songs from the album late last year, and her immediate rush release of the finished versions of the songs. Along wit that, there was the uproar and controversy over Madonna’s reaction on social media as she compared her plight to that of victims of terrorism at one point and called the leak “artistic rape” at another point. Then, too, some saw contrivance in her falling on the stage at the BRIT Awards.

It’s all made for quite an odyssey to get to this point where critics have an album they can listen to and comment upon and fans too can weigh in on the icon’s latest efforts.

‘Rebel Heart’ is Madonna’s first new album since MDNA of 2012. That album saw massive sales and a tour of the same title. This new album also has an eponymous tour and we can expect once again massive sales, as Madonna is a fixture as a touring artist and as one who can sell albums all over the world.

Critics have had their say and some take the opportunity to address such extraneous matters as Madonna’s age — 56 year old somehow seems ancient if not unseemly for a pop icon — and her longevity in the in the music world in particular and the entertainment world overall as she has branched into filmmaking and other pursuits over the years.

As for the reviews of’Rebel Heart’ — which is the matter at hand, after all — here’s a roundup.

“….Rebel Heart is that long because it is essentially two separate albums. One is wistful and thick with reflections on failed love affairs and intimations of self-doubt. Most shockingly, it occasionally touches on the hitherto-unmentionable notion that Madonna’s career might draw to a conclusion at some point: “In a world that’s changing, I’m a stranger in a strange land,” she sings over wafty electronics and a battery of percussion on the gorgeous Wash All Over Me, “if this is the end then let it come.” The other offers dirty talk and defiant I’m-still-here snarls set to EDM-inspired productions, frequently the handiwork of Diplo…..” — The Guardian

“….There are times you hope for a little more dumb fun — enter Diplo, who turns up on five tracks with his air horn and Caribbean beats and would be welcome on more — and there’s at least one moody ballad too many. But then an aqueous bassline bubbles up and a surge of trance-y pulses sweeps you along to Madonnaland, where introspection and abandon engage in erotic acts of self-actualization. After 32 years, it’s still a great place to be….” — Billboard

“….There is, nonetheless, a quality of coherence to the finished album and it really does centre on the star. The tone switches dramatically between dynamic contemporary electro groove adventures, singalong pop and lush synthetic ballads, while veering emotionally between introspective vulnerability and strident defiance. Yet every track adheres to robust, classic songwriting principles, a kind of melodious elegance of structure gleaming through no matter how inventively deconstructed the arrangement. And Madonna sounds relaxed and confident, singing with the sweetness and freshness of her youth, yet with much greater technical accomplishment. …..” — The Telegraph

“….Rather than the return to ’80s underground New York promised by lead single ‘Living For Love’, this 13th album is a scattergun attempt to hit all the bases of modern pop. Instead of having one producer at the helm, as ‘MNDA’ did with William Orbit, Madonna hired the biggest chart-humping names she could find….” — NME

“… While a decent portion of harder, bitchier odes do turn up, the album as a whole presents the softest, most sincere portrait of the star we’ve ever had. In the process, “Rebel Heart” coheres, offering a swift rebuke to whoever prematurely dribbled out its tracks in a dizzying variety of leaks.

It also marks a clear move away from Madonna’s last two works — “Hard Candy” and “MDNA.” Both soared on energetic pop, creating two of the most enjoyable, catchiest albums of her career. “Rebel Heart” goes for something more substantial and — dare I say? — mature…..” — New York Daily News

“…Alas, there are chinks in her armor. The 19-song set could use some trimming, as one too many throwaways — take the tepid “Inside Out” or “Messiah” — flail in the wake of the superior ballad “Ghosttown.” ….” — US Weekly

Will we see another Billboard 200 No. 1 debut? It seems likely, according to industry projections. The Queen of Pop still reigns. As Frank Sinatra famously said, the best revenge is massive success. As we await the release of the album, check out the music video for the album’s lead single, ‘Living for Love’ below.

Pictures: PR Photos


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