Six things I’ve learned about Rebel Heart

1035x1035-rebelheartI think all the little Dutch boys in the world with their fingers in the dam couldn’t have stemmed the Rebel Heart leaks. Madonna has not been able to keep this album under wraps for love nor money and it’s led to an extremely awkward album rollout. It all culminated yesterday in the leak of all 25 track from the deluxe version of the album in high quality. Poor Madge, she can’t catch a break.

Nonetheless, it’s still a new Madonna record, so naturally, I’ve been pretty excited about it. I resisted the temptation to listen to the album early for about 8 hours. I was asleep for about 6 of those hours so all in all, I think I did pretty well. So far, I’m not sure what I think of the record other than it seems very “kitchen sink” to me – not surprising considering the number of writers and producers that have been involved in this project. But it’s still early and I haven’t listened start-to-finish even one time. But here are six early observations.

  1. When “Rebel Heart” makes my favorite songs of 2015 list (it likely will), it’ll be the version that leaked in November of 2014 and not the album version. Stripped of its Avicii-ness, the song is more appropriate for American Life. It’s not a bad change, but I vastly preferred the production on what was allegedly the demo. My hunch is that the version that leaked was a close-to-finished version and once it leaked, Madonna reworked it into what it is now.
  2. “Holy Water” is the new champion of  Madonna’s least subtle double entendres, displacing its clear musical cousin “Where Life Begins.” It’s kind of hard to argue when the lyrics are “Baby you should get down low/And drink my precious alcohol” and “Kiss it better, make it wetter/Don’t it taste like holy water?”  And then, as if to remove all doubt she says “Yeezus loves my pu**y best.”  Wow, just wow.  Still, it’s not a bad song, one of those songs that I will love in spite of myself. It also marks the second time she’s sampled “Vogue” into one of her songs.
  3. “Joan of Arc” works much better as a midtempo number than the straight ballad it was in the demo version.  This morning my phone autocorrected the song to “Joan of Arcadia” which is how I think I’ll refer to this song from here on out.
  4. “Iconic” will be massive live.
  5. Madonna’s still mixing her metaphors, this time with “Body Shop.”  A body shop doesn’t do repairs to car engines. A cute song though.
  6. “Autotune Baby” is the first Madonna song in 30 years of being a fan that is completely and utterly unlistenable. Just awful. Words can express how awful it is.

It’s fun to get this many songs from Madonna all at once, but my friend P.H. Davies has a really good take on what might have resulted had Madonna had anyone around her that is capable of saying “no” to her.

Regardless, it’s a new Madonna era! Let the games begin. Also, start saving your pennies for the tour.

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2 Responses to Six things I’ve learned about Rebel Heart

  1. P.H.Davies says:

    Great blog post Dan and thanks to linking to my post. I like the new version of Rebel Heart but it’s just no where near as good as the demo. That song was my absolute favourite and I was so excited when I first heard the leaked version but I feel a ‘hit single’ has now been lost in the chaos. Holy Water – it’s one of those songs that I don’t know if I love or hate – but it’s a song ONLY Madonna could have written and recorded, which makes me think that I love it. As for Body Shop – feels too much like a song written by committee and Autotune is just horrible. Like you I think it’s great to hear so many new Madonna songs but I do think we’ve lost a classic Madonna album in the process!

  2. John says:

    My middling attitude toward Madonna in recent years has taken a swan dive while watching how she’s responded to the leaks. Rather than making every album a spectacle, I’d love to see her just drop new music for the hell of it without years of setup. The sideshow is quickly becoming a freak show, and it’s not a good look.

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