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Music review: Madame X by Madonna (2019)

There are several possible points of entry into the territory of Madonna’s Madame X. You could try the portentous, genre-shifting portal that is God Control. You could decide to delve in via the hip-swaying nostalgia of Medellin. Or you could go for the smoke-filled, strobe-lit, 90s club gateway signposted by I Don’t Search, I Find. What makes the album interesting - and arguably the most cohesive piece of work Ms Ciccone has released for some time - is that most of the potential pathways lead to the same destination.
Whether she’s grappling with a chacha, mangling her words through a vocoder or chanting over a tabla, Madame X is anxious for us to understand that she’s worried. Yes, she’s concerned about the state of the world: that much is obvious and clear almost straight away. But her fears run deeper. What she’s really frightened about is our attitude towards the state of the world. There’s much on this album about hypocrisy, about intending to do the right thing, but failing, be…

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