Rebel Heart – by the numbers

It’s been months now since Madonna released her 13th album, Rebel Heart. Thanks to the massive amount of leaking, it’s also the only album of hers that feels like it’s had multiple release dates.  Now with the start of the Rebel Heart Tour looming less than two weeks away, I thought it time to take a look at just how I’ve been listening to Rebel Heart.  I screen capped the Rebel Heart deluxe edition from my iTunes library, including the play counts. It should be noted that my “deluxe edition” is a bit of an amalgam of the official deluxe edition and leaked version that hit the Internet five weeks prior to its release.  You’ll have to click on this picture to make it remotely readable.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.37.43 PMA few thoughts:

  • Overall, I’ve listened to this album a lot less than I did MDNA. All things considered, it’s a good but not great album.  Part of the problem is that it’s too damn long. I would have rather had a solid 12 songs than the lumbering behemoth that we ended up with.  It also suffers from what I feel like Madonna playing it too safe.  There are some authentic “Madonna moments” on the record, but in general, it feels kind of generic – as if the songs could have been recorded by anyone.
  • The first half of the album has definitely benefited from being out since December when Madonna scrambled to counter the leaks by releasing the first 6 songs on iTunes. It also helps that they are, more or less, the best songs on the record.  That said, I’m not saying that “Bitch I’m Madonna” is a GOOD song, just that it benefitted from the early release.
  • In the “Holy Water” vs. “S.E.X.” war, “Holy Water” wins easily.  Neither is a great song, but “S.E.X” is the only non-remix, officially released song to not break into double digits yet.  If it had been up to me, “S.E.X.” would have been jettisoned from the album. I would have substituted the demo “Revolution” but no one asked my opinion. Based on Madonna’s Instagram, it looks like we’re going to get both “Holy Water” and “S.E.X” on the tour.
  • I still prefer the original Avicii “demo” versions of the title track and “Wash All Over Me” to the finished versions.
  • The two “Living For Love” remixes are largely garbage, as evidenced by a single play each.
  • “Beautiful Scars” and “Graffiti Heart” should have made the album proper (which ends with “Rebel Heart,” rather than being delegated to bonus tracks.)

In the end, I’m still excited for the tour, but it’s largely based on the prospect of hearing classics like “Who’s That Girl” and “True Blue” performed live for the first time in nearly 30 years and the fact that a live Madonna show has never disappointed. Amazingly, precious few details of the tour have leaked. Madonna has apparently learned her lesson from the album launch.  I guess we’ll find out on September 9th when the tour opens in Montreal.

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