We’ve got to be honest… analyzing ‘Rebel Heart’ is no easy task.
Madonna is a living legend, and it feels almost disrespectful to offer anything but praise.
Luckily, ‘Rebel Heart’ is a pretty decent album, distinctly lighter than 2012’s ‘MDNA’. But it does have its flaws.
For example, ‘Living For Love’ is ample proof that Madonna’s vocal ability has seen better days. Hearing her screech ‘Love’s going to lift me up’ is a bit… unfulfilling.
Things get briefly worse when she channels her inner ‘Regina’s cool mum’ (‘Mean Girls’ reference) for ‘Unapologetic Bitch’ and ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’. We get that age is just a number but she really doesn’t pull it off as well as she thinks she does.
Phew! Now that the awkward part is over, let’s concentrate on the good stuff.
We really enjoyed ‘Iconic’ and ‘Holy Water’. The latter, at least in our eyes, seems to be a response to Lady Gaga. It’s the most Gaga sounding on here and her chants (“Bitch, get off my pole”) and use of a ‘Vogue’ sample remind us of the whole ‘Born This Way’ controversy. Such flashbacks give the album a sense of history, and this is also used to great effect on the Nas duet ‘Veni Vidi Vici’ (though we could live without the rapping).
There are also a few more decent ballads on here for when Madonna does another ‘Something To Remember’ ballads collection.
‘HeartBreakCity’ is pretty straight forward musically, but its chorus is a solid seven on the scale of musical devastation (0 being Redfoo, 10 being Sam Smith or Robyn).
‘Messiah’ hits a ten for the brutal delivery of the line “Until you wake up and find that you love me too”.
That being said, our favourite track is the title track, cruelly banished to the deluxe edition. Yes, it could really soar with a better vocalist, but it feels more authentic coming from the Material Girl. It also sees Madonna come full circle in a way; it’s her ‘Born This Way’ moment, which was Gaga’s ‘Express Yourself’ moment. It’s also a great way to end the album, as it’s equal parts radio friendly and a mission statement for Madonna moving forward.
Regardless of what ‘the people’ may think of ‘Rebel Heart’, Madonna’s going to continue doing things on her own terms. And in many respects, that’s why she’s such a legend.
Download : Iconic, Rebel Heart.