REVIEW: Madonna – Madame X

Let’s agree from the outset, Madonna is a bona fide legend.  Coming from little and moving to NYC in the late 70s, she has more than achieved what she set out for and at 60, hasn’t stopped since signing with Sire Records 37 years and 13 studio albums ago.

Listed as the best-selling female artist of all time and cited as an influence by hundreds that walk the path she forged, it’s not surprising she was inducted into the not-very Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at the ripe young age of 50.  Her acting efforts range from the sublime (Evita) to the ridiculous (Swept Away) but I doubt very much this Queen gives a toss.

You know when you’re watching a film or TV programme which involves a pre-funeral visit to deceased loved one who has had a bit of a rough end and the funeral home attendant suggests you remember them how they were?    Well, consider me your funeral home attendant.  I could walk you through a review of this train wreck but, executive decision, it’s best for everyone if we remember Madonna how she was.

On that basis, and risking a yellow card from our editors, I’m sacking off a review of Madame X for a short track by track of the evergreen banger that is The Immaculate Collection.

‘Holiday’ – couldn’t have picked a better opener.  We’re gonna have a celebration!  Damn right, Madge, hence we aren’t touching Madame X with a shitty twig.

‘Lucky Star’ – as fresh now as it was when released in 1983 and if it’s good enough for Vinnie Jones in Snatch, it’s good enough for everyone.  Star bright!

‘Borderline’ – electro-dance-pop bliss and the third from her eponymous debut album.  Apparently there is a recorded cover version out there from The Flaming Lips and I already hate Wayne Coyne for ruining it.

‘Like A Virgin’ – Kweeeeeen.  School disco classic.  I remember seeing the video on Top of the Pops and asking my mum what a virgin was and she told me it was a lady that wasn’t married, which came back to haunt me in a junior school conversation during which I made a right twat of myself.  Cheers Mum.

‘Material Girl’ – I remember the pink, bowed dress and gloves she wears in the video to this day and I still want one.  Perhaps I’ll find one and try and recreate it while swigging a bottle of Prosecco and tripping down the stairs surrounded by children’s toys rather than masked fitties.

‘Crazy For You’ – released in 1985, it was still being played in the erection section of the Warner holiday park disco in 1990 when I had my first slow dance with a boy called Martin who lived next to the site.  I never returned his misspelt letter.

‘Into The Groove’ – not my favourite but when the Kraken outmeasures the shame, I’ll still dance to it

‘Live To Tell’ – probably my favourite Madonna song and (probably released around the same time), it sounds like it should be on The Lost Boys soundtrack.  Slinky AF.

‘Papa Don’t Preach’ – it’s 1986 and Madonna is knocked up and in for a bollocking.  She’s not really but it upset the Pope and that’s good by me.

‘Open Your Heart’ – Belter.

‘La Isla Bonita’ – I owned this on 7” single and wanted the hat she wears on the cover.  I had no idea what words I was singing then, still don’t now and am way too old to learn. And yeah I do go full flamenco when dancing to it badly.

‘Like A Prayer’ – Black Jesus.  Madonna 2-0 Pope. One of the best pop songs ever made and if you don’t like it, we ain’t pals.

‘Express Yourself’ – “C’mon girls, do you believe in love?  Cos I got something to say about it.”  Me too tiger, me too.

‘Cherish’ – bubblegum, skippy Madonna.  This is about Madonna’s dedication to her fella and them never parting.  Cough.

‘Vogue’ – we are now in conical-bra era Madonna and 10 year old me is striking all the poses at the Christmas disco down the Severn View club.  Probably on my own.

‘Justify My Love’ – filth.  Released for this record and involving dirtbag Lenny Kravitz, this is pre-Erotica, bordering trip-hop Madonna.  Good job I was old enough not to ask my Mum questions on this…

‘Rescue Me’ – the album closes with another song made for The Immaculate Collection and one later released as a single owing to how much airplay it got, which isn’t surprising as it harks back to ‘True Blue’ and ‘Like A Virgin’-era Madge.  Ironically, I have absolutely rescued anyone reading this from the new record.

Zero argument from me that this is one of, if not the, best Best Ofs ever released.  Classic, end-to-end, disco-pop, church-upsetting Madonna.  And, while Madame X is a level of auto-tuned hell even Cher would be embarrassed to release, it gave me the good reason I didn’t need to dig this back out.

Words by Lisa Whiteman

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