UPDATE: Madonna released six tracks today http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/12/20/madonna-pulls-a-beyonce-surprise-releases-6-new-tracks-to-itunes-same-ones-she-said-were-leaked
EARLIER: “It might sound like I’m an unapologetic bitch/Sometimes you know I gotta call it like it is.” That’s Madonna, from what may be the title track for a new album. The album was leaked this week, at least in part, and it’s floating around the internet in bits and pieces. Madonna says she’s upset, but I think she doth protest too much. After several flops, (MDNA, anyone?) Madge had to try something new.
I can’t really review an unfinished album that’s come out unofficially. But if this the work in progress, then Madonna’s on the right road. I haven’t been able to turn off “Addicted to The One that Got Away,” a really great dance single that’s also a sharply composed pop song. Of the six tracks I’ve heard, that’s the most commercial and destined for radio.
The other songs are not dance, really, and are more serious: religion is a consistent theme, and I don’t mean Kabbalah. For the first time in eons, Madonna sounds honest and invested in what she’s singing about. On some of these tracks her voice is refreshingly unprocessed. Her tendency toward reediness works– especially when the songs are spare, acoustic guitar and piano driven. There’s also one, “Messiah,” produced with strings that’s got a majestic anthem like feel.
Of course, Madonna likes to shock. In “Make the Devil Pray,” which musically owes a lot to the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” she sings about redemption after indulgence : “We can do drugs, we can smoke weed, and we can drink whiskey. We can get high, and we could get stoned, we can sniff glue, and we could do E, and we can drop acid.”
But there may be focus mostly on “Joan of Arc.” That’s where Madonna complains about media scrutiny, and criticism. “Each time they take a photograph,” she sings, “I lose a part of me I can’t get back.” She’s upset about media “dragging my soul through the dirt…One little lie can ruin my day.” She admits: “I’m not Joan of Arc (not yet).”
Oh my! There’s more, and I can’t wait for Madonna to give us the whole project the way she wants it.
Spend New Year’s Eve at Joe’s Pub with the legendary New York rocker Garland Jeffreys!