Madonna tells America to “wake up” with ‘Madame X’.


Interscope Records

The cover of the standard edition of 'Madame X.'

By Mason Montano, Pinole Valley

Four years after the release of Rebel Heart, Madonna has returned with her fourteenth studio album, Madame X.

Assuming the alter-ego of “Madame X”, the queen of pop was heavily inspired by Latin music and her life in Lisbon, Portugal to which she relocated in summer 2017 with her two adopted children. Several of the album’s tracks feature her singing in Spanish and Portuguese including “Medellín” with Colombian singer Maluma, “Killers Who Are Partying”, and “Faz Gostoso” with Brazillian singer and actress Anitta.

Lyrically, Madame X is very political, perhaps even more so than her controversial 2003 album, American Life; with lyrics touching upon themes of equality, discrimination, and gun control.

The latter is heavily explored in what I believe to be the most important track on the album, “God Control”. An experimental disco track, “God Control” is Madonna’s wake up call to America. The song’s message is simple: GUN CONTROL NOW! The song’s music video references the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and features Madonna and her friends dancing and having fun at a Studio 54-inspired nightclub only to be gunned down a few hours later. Meanwhile, the album’s titular character struggles to write the song’s lyrics due to her frustration with the issue of gun violence.

While I applaud Madonna for using her platform to discuss such important political issues, her message tends to get lost with the inclusion of tracks about relationships, like “Crave” with Swae Lee and “Crazy”, and party anthems, like “Faz Gostoso” and “B***h, I’m Loca” with Maluma. It’s not any of these are bad songs; they’re not; they just feel out-of-place among the more politically driven tracks on the album, like “Dark Ballet” and “I Rise”. You could argue they were included to offer the listener a break from the heavy subject matter, but I found it to be distracting from the point she’s trying to make with the record.

Then there are songs like “Come Alive” that are extremely uninspiring and feel more like filler than anything else.

Regardless of what songs did or didn’t belong on the tracklist, Madame X’s release in mid-June could not have been more perfectly timed, and Madonna has made it clear that she will not be silent until her demands of change are met. Madame X is available across all online and streaming platforms.

This story was originally published on Spartan Ink on September 11, 2019.