The Farr Side: Reassessing Madame X
I won’t apologize for having an opinion, but I can admit when I’m wrong.
My first impression of Madonna’s latest album, “Madame X,” was not a good one. And her fans let me know how wrong I was in my review of the album in a recent column.
It’s cool to get feedback from readers. Most of the time the comments are nice, but once in a while I’ll hit on a topic that’s explosive. Apparently, Madonna is still very much the talk of the world. I received nearly 400 emails from readers asking me to re-listen to her album and give it a second chance.
The holiday weekend offered me more time to listen to “Madame X” without interruption. I was wrong. Yes, it’s different from her previous works, but that’s OK. This album takes more than a skim-through to witness its brilliance. That alone makes it worth checking out again.
I will say, though,listening to the actual CD on my home stereo system made all the difference. I’ve been enjoying her channel on Sirius XM. She’s quite candid, in interview, about the new record, too.
I was too quick to call for Madonna to “embrace her age.” Even I know better than to say that to a woman who’s been calling the shots for 40 years on the music scene. It’s Madonna, fool. She can do whatever she wants while all the others take notes. She’s a wave-maker, a trend-setter and a ceiling-breaker. And age has nothing to do with that.
“Medellin” was our true real insight into this phase of her life.
It took a while for me to grasp the song, but to hear it loud and uninterrupted, the music is amazing, something I’ve admired about Madonna songs.
The rest of the album is where it gets interesting, some might say bizarre. I have since changed my tune. “Madame X” is a revolutionary album filled with multiple twists and turns, some easier to navigate than others. The electro-Latin pop sound is infused with politically charged lyrics, bold attributes and some moments of genius.
Once you navigate the album you realize the shiny moments for what they are: great tracks.
I have to give mention to “Crave,” her latest single. She plays down her newfound accent on the love song and lets the emotion take over. That same emotion is stretched on “Crazy,” a song that gets better the more I listen.
“Come Alive” is, by far, one of the best Madonna songs this century, if not since her “Ray Of Light” album. The lyrics speak to me right now as I’m trying to find myself again. I must have listened to this track 10 times, turning it up louder each time. These lyrics are me … “Mouth closed, I don’t want your opinion, who you talkin’ to?/ Stand out, No, I don’t wanna blend in, why you want me to?/They say be all I can be and all I want is peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace/See the world, Haven’t seen it all, I wanna see it’s, see it’s, see it’s, see it’s, see it’s dreams…repeat (come alive).”
The chorus and synthesized orchestral composition make it a perfect 10. This is the Madonna I love.
I still stand firm on my dream of what Madonna needs to do next — a “standards” album, her way.
David T. Farr is a Journal correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.