Today in Madonna History: January 30, 2020

On January 30 2020, glowing reviews of Madonna’s first Madame X show in London were published:

Music critic Neil McCormick (The Telegraph) had this to say: Anarchic and experimental – her best show ever? 5 STARS (out of 5)

I’m not sure who was having more fun at the opening of Madonna’s London residency, the audience or the star. She sang, she danced, she joked and she beamed with almost childlike glee at the crowd’s adoring response.

“How happy I am to have made it this far,” she declared, calling London “my second home”.

Madonna first played the city in 1983 to 1,500 early adopters at the Camden Palace. Her next London gig was Wembley Stadium. She was clearly delighted to be back in a venue where she could not just reach out and touch the audience, she could descend from the stage and sit in their laps. “It’s so intimate. It’s gorgeous and a thrill for me to be able to see all your faces.”

David Smyth of the Evening Standard gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5): Madame X is tireless, imaginative and powerfully intimate.

Such drama before Madonna could even take to the stage for her first theatre tour since 1985! Would she arrive drastically late? Would she cancel at the last minute? Tenterhooks all round.

Monday was supposed to be the first of a planned 15 nights at the Palladium, cancelled on doctor’s orders. It was the 10th dropped concert of the Madame X Tour, which began in New York in September and gathered complaints for its late start times.

But tonight at 8.45pm, there she was, dressed as a bloodstained, eyepatch-wearing revolutionary soldier. She was also a spy, a protest marcher and a Portuguese fado singer in the course of a tireless, imaginative show that was far from shrunken arena pop. Thanks especially to an extraordinary troupe of dancers, it was a spectacle that felt more powerful up close.

Like Bruce Springsteen, who showed a different side of himself in his recent Broadway run, and Kate Bush, whose live comeback was more theatre than concert, the 61-year-old has unearthed something new late in her career. The Madame X album may have plummeted out of the charts in an instant, but here its songs dominated and found their purpose.

Batuka, tuneless on record, was euphoric when performed with a mass of smiling, rump-shaking Batuque drummers from Cape Verde. I Rise was far more powerful when backed by footage of anti-gun protests and gay pride marches.

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, also gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5) and noted: London residency short on hits but big on British banter.

She sings the bare minimum of big hits – Vogue, Like a Prayer, Human Nature – with Express Yourself and La Isla Bonita reduced to interstitial roles (the former performed as a sweet, but brief a cappella duet with her daughter Mercy), and American Life performed in full.

Still, it occasionally serves to remind you that some of Madame X is better than its relatively muted commercial response might suggest – Medellín sounds like the hit single it wasn’t, as does the gorgeous album track Crazy. This is presumably part of the point – the other part being a certain screw-you intransigence designed to underline that we are in the presence of an artiste, not a pop star.

And the BBC had a few fun notes to add in their review:

The audience were required to store mobile phones in sealed pouches as “an intervention for us all”. However, Madonna admitted that even she was getting anxious without a phone nearby.

“I’m having little panic attacks,” she joked. “I’m like, ‘Why is no-one taking my picture?'”

But the gambit worked: Freed from distractions, the audience gave the concert their undiluted attention; while Madonna seemed to relax and have fun without a phalanx of tiny cameras recording her every move.

At one point, she slipped into a British accent and recalled how she’d been ridiculed for developing similarly plummy vowels during her marriage to Guy Ritchie.

“I didn’t know what anyone was talking about until I heard old interviews of myself,” she said. “And then I was horrified and flabbergasted. Why did you let me do that to myself? I’m from Michigan!”

“It’s all Guy Ritchie’s fault,” she decided. “He made me to it.”

Today in Madonna History: April 17, 2019

On April 17 2019, Madonna issued the press release for her forthcoming album, Madame X:

MADONNA TO RELEASE HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED 14th STUDIO ALBUM MADAME X GLOBALLY ON JUNE 14th

FIRST TRACK MEDELLÍN WITH MALUMA IS ZANE LOWE’S WORLD RECORD ON BEATS1 TODAY

MTV PRESENTS MADONNA LIVE & EXCLUSIVE: MEDELLÍN VIDEO WORLD PREMIERE ON APRIL 24

PRE-ORDER MADAME X NOW: ALBUM PRE-ORDERS INCLUDE DOWNLOAD OF MEDELLÍN

Madonna’s highly-anticipated 14th studio album Madame X will be released on June 14th globally from Live Nation, Interscope Records and Maverick. The first track from the album Medellín, with Colombian superstar Maluma, will be Zane Lowe’s World Record today on Apple Music’s Beats 1. Madame X is now available for pre-order. Album pre-orders include a download of the first track which is available across Apple, Spotify (pre-save), Amazon and all DSPs. Select additional tracks will become available before the album release.

Madonna will exclusively unveil the world premiere of her video and single Medellín with Maluma, during a globally televised MTV music event, MTV Presents Madonna Live & Exclusive: Medellín Video World Premiere, on Wednesday, April 24 at 9:00 pm BST / 4:00pm ET/ 1:00pm PT. Madonna will join British DJ Trevor Nelson and fans live from London for a conversation about the influences of her new album, and the creative forces behind her transcendent career. Medellín collaborator and Colombian pop star Maluma will join live from Miami. Madonna will also take questions during the global event via satellite from MTV’s Sway Calloway and fans in New York City, with additional MTV-hosted events in Milan and São Paulo.

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.

“Lisbon is where my record was born,” Madonna says. “I found my tribe there and a magical world of incredible musicians that reinforced my belief that music across the world is truly all connected and is the soul of the universe.”

Madame X will come in a standard and deluxe version of the album. A Target CD version will feature the deluxe version of Madame X plus an additional two tracks. Pre-order the Target deluxe at Target stores or online at Target.com. A variety of special bundles of Madame X with one-of-a-kind limited merchandise, as well as special vinyl and cassette versions of the album, are available now for pre-order as well HERE. Further details regarding the album, videos and appearances will be announced in the coming weeks.

This is the cover for the standard CD version:

The full track listing for Madame X CD standard version (pre-order):

  1. Medellín with Maluma
  2. Dark Ballet
  3. God Control
  4. Future ft. Quavo
  5. Batuka
  6. Killers Who Are Partying
  7. Crave ft. Swae Lee
  8. Crazy
  9. Come Alive
  10. Faz Gostoso ft. Anitta
  11. Bitch I’m Loca ft. Maluma
  12. I Don’t Search I Find
  13. I Rise

The double black vinyl version (pre-order), web-exclusive double clear vinyl version (pre-order), cassette version and digital deluxe version all contain the following 15-tracks (see below for the digital deluxe cover):

  1. Medellín with Maluma
  2. Dark Ballet
  3. God Control
  4. Future ft. Quavo
  5. Batuka
  6. Killers Who Are Partying
  7. Crave ft. Swae Lee
  8. Crazy
  9. Come Alive
  10. Faz Gostoso ft. Anitta
  11. Bitch I’m Loca ft. Maluma
  12. I Don’t Search I Find
  13. I Rise
  14. Looking for Mercy
  15. I Rise

This is the cover for the digital deluxe and FNAC exclusive double-CD versions:

This is the cover for the cassette version:

This is the cover for the deluxe 2-CD version with additional 3-bonus tracks:

The 3 tracks on the bonus CD are:

  1. Fuana
  2. Back That Up To The Beat
  3. Ciao Bella

And finally, the Madame X box set:

The Madame X box set includes:

  • Deluxe CD (15 tracks + 3 bonus tracks + 32-page book)
  • Double poster
  • 7″ picture disc for I Rise
  • Cassette (standard version with 13 tracks)
  • Temporary tattoos

Jay’s Note: Please forgive me if I’ve confused any of these versions. I’ll update if I notice any mistakes .. there are a LOT of versions to keep track of!

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