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Madonna – Rebel Heart

Nobody can assert themselves like the ‘Queen of Pop’. The 56-year-old Madonna returns to stake claim again to that coveted title as rightfully hers in the 19-track offering of Rebel Heart, which is her finest and bravest sonic effort in over a decade. Preceded by an internet rage of leaked tracks and hasty Instagram and Twitter backlashes, Rebel Heart launched into a stormy start. Despite the hiccup and turmoil, the pop vanguard proves her mettle yet again in a final product that is her most consistent work in recent times.

Known for her cheerful collaborations, Madonna ropes in features from Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj, and (surprisingly) Mike Tyson in Rebel Heart. Behind the scenes, she’s got Kanye West, Diplo, Sophie and Blood Diamonds all co-producing various tracks.

Launching into the escapade of ‘Living For Love’, the kitschy anthemic tune will knock your heart out as it heads in the right direction in the dance artsy pop soundscape Madonna is relentlessly famous for. ‘Devil Pray’ has the crusader preaching against drugs, but barring the theme, Madonna puts out her most excellent vocal vibrancy in a decade. Meandering varied tonalities with catchy “sing hallelujah” synth disco pops pack a solid sonic punch in this exceedingly infectious song. ‘Ghosttown’ opens up in confident vocal dynamicity again as the eclectic virtuoso rages in a powerful aural display.

Two tracks really stand out ‘Unapologetic B****’ and ‘B**** I’m Madonna’. Atypically offbeat, the songs exude the sinister aggressiveness she sometimes wears on her sleeve. The refreshing, reggae-tinged former and the frenetic, Nicki Minaj-assisted latter songs, both featuring Diplo’s ear-tingling airhorn blasts, come as a breezy music offering that will make you hit repeat every time.

On ‘Illuminati’, Madonna speak-sings through a dance jam while ‘Iconic’ throws in lazy rhymes with a hybrid EDM and hip-hop mash-up. ‘Hold Tight’ will surprise you. The chorus is a simple and yet beat-driven glittering compilation of vocal and instrumental cohesiveness. One of the highlights occurs in ‘Joan of Arc’, the gentle ballad that couples vivid imagery and sound plaudits of love.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:35:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/madonna-rebel-heart/article7198180.ece

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