Last week, tracks from Madonna's forthcoming Rebel Heart, her 13th studio album, leaked onto the Internet — an act she called "artistic rape" and a "form of terrorism." On Friday, she released six of the tracks from the album as an "early Christmas gift." It seems like what some call an "early Christmas gift" others might call "crisis control," but I digress. Here's a track-by-track review.
"Living for Love" — The lead single, originally intended for a Valentine's Day release. Par for the course for a Madonna lead single, has a slight house vibe.
"Devil Pray" — Madge pleads for a sign from God over an acoustic guitar. Oceanic metaphors, Catholic imagery, and references to doing drugs abound. Pretty terrible, but the line about sniffing glue gives it a sort of campy immunity to criticism. Well-played.
"Unapologetic Bitch" — A reggae track that prominently features an air horn. Why not. Certainly one of the more enjoyable tracks here.
"Illuminati" — Lyrics references Beyoncé, Jay Z, pentagrams, Google, Isis, and the Illuminati — you know, that mysterious organization that controls the entire world. Sample lyric: "Everybody in this party shining like Illuminati." Produced by Kanye West and sounds like it could have been on Yeezus. A bit repetitive, but it's probably my favorite track here.
"Bitch I'm Madonna [ft. Nicki Minaj]" — The beginning sounds like a K-pop or Dance Dance Revolution level. Not Nicki's best guest verse, but she saves the track somewhat.
If this is an accurate sample of the rest of the album, this could be one of Madonna's loosest, campiest records. It's due for a full release in March 2015.