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Madonna’s New Album ‘Madame X’ is Here, and … It’s Weird (Listen)

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Madonna returned on Friday with her new studio album, Madame X, which was previewed in recent weeks with the track “Medellin,” featuring Colombian singer Maluma.

That dance-floor ready tune opens Madame X, an album of larger-than-life compositions with top-notch production, electronic flourishes and an overall sense of … well, weirdness. It’s a wild listen.

Per the press release, the iconic singer was inspired by a number of things in conceiving with this new record:

Influenced creatively by living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years, Madame X is a collection of 15 new songs that celebrate Madonna’s career-long affair with Latin music and culture as well as other global influences. Singing in Portuguese, Spanish and English, highlights on the album include ‘Medellín’” which was co-produced by Mirwais and captures the spirit of Maluma’s hometown, the anthemic song ‘I Rise’, the Jamaican dancehall vibes of ‘Future’ featuring Quavo, and co-produced by Diplo, as well as the sonically innovative Mirwais produced ‘Dark Ballet’. Recorded over 18 months in Portugal, London, New York and Los Angeles, Madonna collaborated on Madame X with longtime producer Mirwais, as well as with producers Mike Dean and Diplo, among others.

Just listen to “Dark Ballet,” which changes genres, sounds and even includes an unexpected electronic portion of The Nutcracker Suite. yes, really. Its video is just nuts, too:

Naturally, there’s a ton of Autotune throughout Madame X, for stylistic purposes of course.

There’s also reggaeton, as Madonna tackles on “Bitch, I’m Loca,” another collaboration with Maluma:

Overall, Madame X finds Madonna at her most … Madonna-ish. For ages, she’s existed to push the envelope and fight back against what people “expect,” opting instead to put together some challenging bits of music … of which this album has plenty.

“Future” is a standout, its rhythmic groove and a guest spot from Quavo helping it grab attention:

In a pop world dominated by the Taylor Swifts and Lady Gagas of the world, Madonna still has her core audience — but this record could open up some new audiences, too.

On the other hand, it could fall flat and wind up as “Just another late-era Madonna record.”

Taking chances is her thing, though, and she definitely hit that arrow on the head with this album. Dive in and stream it below, via Spotify:

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