Album Reviews

Rebel Heart – Madonna

Rating: 9/10

Everyone seems to get their kicks out of making fun of Madonna for being old, but that’s where the joke ends. She’s still talented as hell– she always has been, and Rebel Heart (March 10, 2015) is just another album in her long, long list of incredible musical creations.

I seriously love this album. Everybody should love this album, and anybody who says it’s bad is kidding themselves. Let go of your ego for, like, four minutes and appreciate the magic of Madonna, who is so huge she’s basically transcended any form of proper pop music criticism. 

Rebel Heart is a breakup album, and it does that so well. It’s a different kind of breakup album, though– not as bitter as one would expect, but, similar to Taylor Swift’s 1989, it suggests coming out better on the other side. I love thrusting and dancing Madonna from Hard Candy as much as anybody else, but Rebel Heart is a little more serious compared to her previous debauchery. She’s still sexual– of course, she’s still Madonna– but she’s coming a bit closer to acting her age in this one. However, whether that’s good or bad is anybody’s guess– the interesting mix of house beats and “rising above heartbreak”-style lyrics offer so much open for interpretation. But then again, it’s not all strength and power– “Joan of Arc” reveals pain in Madonna– “I can’t be a superhero right now,” she says. The slower, sadder song on the album, it admits what we, her loving audience, already know: “I’m only human.”

The album is kind of all over the place in regards to musical influences– I can definitely pick up some reggae in there, but there’s still the to-be-expected dance and house sounds. Then there’s some interesting ska sounds– what is going on? What are you doing, Madonna? But I can’t even say anything– I love it, and she’s always been one to change things up and be complicated.

It’s probably my favourite album of hers since, well, Confessions on a Dance Floor. I can’t understand why Rebel Heart has been given ratings in the C/B range when it’s pretty much The Best Thing that came out semi-recently. I can’t help but obsess over it. She has a song featuring Nicki Minaj (“Bitch I’m Madonna”), and one with Chance The Rapper (“Iconic”). She may be old, but I’ll be damned if the crone doesn’t have some great pull and still, all the influence she absolutely deserves.

Rebel Heart offers gems. I can already see myself listening to this over and over and enjoying it. I can see it becoming a classic album, something that’s like, oh wow, everybody has to listen to it. It’s that good. I’m actually surprised I like it this much. I thought I would be all, ah okay. It’s alright. NO, man. It’s AMAZING. 

Download Rebel Heart by Madonna on iTunes

About author

Sofie Mikhaylova is a music writer at Live in Limbo and local nobody who spends her time loitering in parking lots and chain smoking. She listens to a lot of music and has an extensive CD collection, which she's spent many a Saturday night reorganizing. Her work has been published in Vice and Noisey, among others. Follow her on Twitter @sofiesucks.