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Madonna - Rebel Heart [2015]


Josh Hurst
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This Chris Richards rip is one of the best reviews I've seen from him. It begins:

 

A new Madonna album, a fresh reminder that we’re all going to die.

 

And then:

 

The lyrics on “Rebel Heart” feel almost violently resistant to wisdom, as if espousing even the slightest air of sophistication might remind the planet that Madonna is now 56 years old. So instead, we get the lumpy neo-reggae of “Unapologetic B----,” in which she sasses a boy-toy: “See you trying to call me, but I blocked you on my phone.” Over the bratty dubstep of “B----, I’m Madonna,” she brags of partying so hard that “the neighbor’s p----- and says he’s gonna call the five-o.” And on “Devil Pray” — a song that doesn’t have the word “b----” in the title — she rattles off a menu of intoxicants: “We can do drugs, and we can smoke weed, and we can drink whiskey / Yeah, we can get high, and we can get stoned / And we can sniff glue, and we can do E, and we can drop acid. . . .

 

Which one will best help us forget that this is happening?
 

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I mean, I get all of that. I don't disagree with the criticisms of those songs in particular-- but I think there are songs, like the one I posted above, that add a bit of context and complexity to the album. They may not have wisdom, per se, but they are... reflective. And even vulnerable. I would frankly like a lot more material like that; if nothing else, I think they make this a little more interesting than the last couple Madonna albums.

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I don't mean to dance on Madonna's grave. I've never been much of a fan overall, but she does have certain songs -- and, especially, videos -- that are iconic. As I've grown older, my resistance to her has nearly evaporated.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I enjoyed this album, but I can completely sympathize with the notion that these lyrics don't make a lot of sense for a 56 year old. From her catalog, nothing touches Like a Prayer with me, but I think the album is at least as good as Music, anyway.

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The last Madonna album I really enjoyed was Ray of Light and that was a lifetime ago. So I'm not the most qualified to comment. But I saw Rebel Heart in the new release section and noticed that the standard album has 14 songs and the deluxe has something like 20. It would be nice if Madonna would have released a 10-song album (remember those?) filled primarily with the introspective and poignant songs that Josh has mentioned, and left the party-bitch songs elsewhere. But she seems determined to pander to the lowest common denominator...

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