Tuesday, February 10, 2015



You don’t have to know much about music to know that Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and “Ray of Light” were albums that bridged decades (‘Prayer’ the late 80’s-early 90’s, and ‘Light’ the late 90’s-early 00’s). Although, personally I feel all of her albums have shaped the music scene, I personally think that M’s own LP’s “Erotica” and “American Life” are two artistic and musical masterpieces (Rolling Stone and Idolator agree with me, but more on that later).

In the Madonna community, there are two groups of people: The “Ray of Light” and “Like A Prayer” group, and the “Erotica” and “American Life” group. For arguments sake, let’s not argue: the common theme between these (and all of Madonna’s albums, honestly) is singular: they remain relevant and fresh as if they were released today, they broke ground in musicality and sound, and they are – literally – works of art. Where as in my opinion Ray of Light and Like A Prayer are musical masterpieces, Erotica and American Life are both musical and artistic masterpieces… (again, just me – huge fan here since I was a baby, so don’t judge too harsh – I’ll defend this woman to the death – just a personal opinion from my deep love of those two albums).

Enter Rebel Heart, Madonna’s forthcoming album, due to release on March 10th around the globe. When Madonna was forced to release 6 songs (“Living For Love”, “Bitch, I’m Madonna”, “Illuminati”, “Ghosttown”, “Devil Pray”, and “Unapologetic Bitch”), die-hard fans (myself included) and the casual fan alike were delighted, slinging ALL SIX songs into the top ten and making her album number one in pre-orders.

I was as much happy as I was furious at those that leaked her songs – I personally still have not (and will never) listen to the leaked demos – true fans know better, and I didn’t want to add any energy to that negativity. I was also afraid that this 1/3rd release of the album would hurt the actual official release. There is always a magic that surrounds a Madonna release – the excitement for the stroke of midnight when the first single is released, the excruciating wait for the first music video, the joy when the whole album is finally out, and the nervous excitement of wondering if she will or won’t do a tour (I’m almost 27, and you younger ones are lucky because you don’t remember that little period when we had to wait almost NINE years for our lady M to tour after The Girlie Show – so some of us still have PTSD from that ;-)).

But, in the last seven days, all of that anger and fear has washed away. The video for Living For Love dropped (which I reviewed here in my “7 Reasons Why Madonna’s New “Living For Love” Is The Best Music Video Ever” ) and it is amazing. Then, last night, Madonna raised the bar for ever single live musical act on Earth with her incredible, spellbinding Grammy performance. Then, today, she released three more songs (all of which currently are sitting at number one on the iTunes chart) – “Iconic”, “Hold Tight”, and “Joan of Arc”.

When I heard Joan of Arc, I almost hit the ground. “Take A Bow” (and Madonna’s American Music Awards performance of it which was one of the most flawless live performances she’s ever done) and “Crazy For You” have held the position for favorite Madonna ballads ever – until, literally in the first listen, “Joan of Arc” ripped that crown right from those other two and planted in firmly on it’s head – right where it belongs.

That’s also the moment the writer and artist in me knew – “Rebel Heart” is going to not be just a Madonna defining album, but a MUSICALLY, Decade-defining album – just like “Ray of Light” and “Like A Prayer”. “Joan of Arc” has it all – it’s the song that brings the album from incredible to transformative for the listener. It’s deep, she’s feeling every word, and we are right there with her – although we all don’t have to deal with things being written about us everyday, photographers following us constantly – the song is relatable in that same, magical way that “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” was from “Ray of Light”.

Madonna and her manager have gotten everything right with this album and everything surrounding it thus far – don’t even get me started on the how the album artwork and photographs released thus far are some of her best since “Justify My Love” and “Vogue” – and I have a strong suspicion that “Rebel Heart” will be not just the Madonna album fans will talk about for years, but that ALBUM (Madonna or not) that everyone (Madonna fan or not) will be talking about for years.

P.S. I think we all need to give M’s manager, Mr. Guy Oseary a big thank you for working with M to turn the lemons of the leak into some of the best lemonade us fans have had in years. Maybe we should get #ThankYouGuyOseary trending?

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