Madonna, Rebel Heart

 

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It’s been 26 years since Madonna released an indisputably great album. Fans may press a case for 1998’s Ray of Light but even that was 17 years ago now. So why is La Ciccone still big news?

Partly it’s because during her imperial period, the 1980s, she was the only challenge to Michael Jackson as biggest star on the planet and managed to change all perceptions of what a female pop star should and could be. She also made some outstanding music.

That side of her – the bit that’s interested in making brilliant records – seems to have been hugely suppressed since 1989’s Like A Prayer. Since then she seems to have been more concerned with using her albums to make sure we know that she’s bang up to date with what the younger, brighter things in the world of pop are doing.

Her in-built pop sensibility has ensured that there have been some fantastic singles along the way – Rebel Heart’s lead track Living for Love being the latest – which is no surprise because when she forgets about trying to be 19 and just concentrates on making great pop, she’s really good at it.

Even if she does insist sometimes on ruining even them with deliberately controversial lyrics, Rebel Heart contains a high proportion of such songs and for that, I suppose, we should be grateful.

Like this? Try these: Lily Allen, Sheezus; Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

By Andrew Greenhalgh

twitter: @adjgreenhalgh

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