BY BOBBY HANKINSON
Today, Madonna drops her thirteenth studio album and, frankly, her best work in at least 15 years. The full Rebel Heart experience is a genre-spanning affair, as bold and uncompromising as its iconic star.
The record will no doubt stir some debate in social circles, as it has in a smattering of early reviews. Will you fall into the camp that loves strummers like “Devil Pray” and “Rebel Heart”? Is lead single “Living For Love” throwaway pop bombast or Madonna’s best single since “Hung Up”? Are you charmed by the plucky “Body Shop” or do you find the metaphor instantly tiresome? Folks seem to agree that Rebel Heart is one of Madonna’s strongest 21st-century outputs, but which tracks are highlights and which are skippable seems to differ from listener to listener. Sonically, the diversity could be attributed to the bevy of collaborators who helped craft the sound of Rebel Heart. Hit-makers like Avicii, Kanye West and Diplo appear throughout the liner notes, each leaving their imprint among the collection of tracks.
It’s the lyrical content that keeps the whole affair feeling cohesive, with Madonna at her most personal at its center. She’s opening up about lost love, she’s discussing the price of prominence and reflecting back on one of the most notable careers in pop music history. Of course, this is still Madonna, so there’s plenty of sex, religious imagery and Queen of Pop posturing to go around, but throughout the far-flung ideas that make Rebel Heart so worthy of study, Madonna’s resilient spirit permeates each moment.
We had the chance to talk to her Madgesty last night along with several other journalists. She graciously entertained questions about the album, those leaks, and how she’s seen the gay community change around her.
See highlights of what she had to say at the roundtable conversation, AFTER THE JUMP …
And don't miss our other Madonna feature up today: 26 Moments That Make Madonna The Most Pro-Gay Pop Ally of All Time.