Before her computer was hacked, Madonna wanted to create a double album that would explore her rebellious side (Rebel) vs. her introspective side (Heart). Madonna talked more specifically about her plans to John Pareles of the New York Times.
“One aspect was going to be a representation of the more rebellious, provocateur side of me,” she said. “And the other side was going to be the more romantic, vulnerable side.”
As Pareles notes, the finished album isn’t divided like that since it hops from “rebel” to “heart” and back again many times. The album, for the most part, has garnered positive reviews for the Queen of Pop. However, the critics seem to appreciate the softer side of Madonna. Rolling Stone summarizes what a lot of critics think about Rebel Heart.
“Unfortunately, cameos from Nas, Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson don’t elevate their respective songs. And Madonna lets her own appetite for over-the-top sex songs run wild on a handful of cringy tracks…The album is at its strongest when Madonna shoves everyone to the side and just tells it to us straight.”
Sal Cinquemani from Slant gave the album three-and-a-half stars and praises songs like “Heartbreak City,” “Body Shop,” “Living for Love,” and “Rebel Heart.” However, he thinks that, at times, Madonna‘s new album stumbles.
“Like its predecessor, 2012’s MDNA, Rebel Heart is all over the map, not just musically, but lyrically and vocally. Madonna has always been a versatile artist, but also a surprisingly coherent one, adept at threading seemingly disparate styles together using lyrical themes or sonic continuity, and thus setting an incredibly high standard for both herself and pop music as a whole.”
The most positive review of Rebel Heart comes from Jim Farber of the New York Daily News. In his four-star review, Farber believes that Madonna bares her soul like she has never done before. Farber thinks that the Rebel Heart album, as a whole, presents the most sincere portrait of Madonna we’ve ever had. He admits that there are some stumbles, but only minor ones that don’t take away from the enjoyment of Rebel Heart.
Madonna is scheduled to perform on Ellen the week starting March 16. She will kick off her Rebel Heart Tour in August, with some dates going on sale this Monday. What do you think of Madonna’s Rebel Heart album? Tell us in the comments section.
[Photo Credit: Interscope Records]