Kieran

How has your opinion of MX album evolved since release?

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1 hour ago, RinoTheBouncer said:

Recently as I do full album run, I find it quite odd and unfitting that Medellín is the opening track. It just doesn't sit right with the others and it can fit perfectly well in the middle, so I wish the tracklist was rearranged to look like this:

1. Dark Ballet
2. God Control
3. Future
4. Batuka
5. Killers Who Are Partying
6. Medellín
7. Crave
8. Crazy
9. Come Alive
10. Extreme Occident
11. Faz Gostozo
12. Bitch I'm Loca
13. I Don't Search I Find
14. Looking For Mercy
15. I Rise

I like the sound of that a lot. This seems a little more coherent. DB as the opener would work really well and allow its quirkiness to become more of an introduction and tone-setter. It does seem a bit lost as track 2 after Med.

I'd still take out FG and BIL - stick them both on the bonus disc and allow the remaining 13 tracks to shine more. And cut the last minute of LFM!

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18 minutes ago, Justice said:

 wouldn't call IDSIF an Erotica leftover, although it evokes Erotica whispering, it is more about the 90s dub music.

Isn't the Erotica album very influenced by dub and drum'n'bass?

Compare IDSIF with  the original versionn of Goodbye to innocence, you can mash them up easily:

 

 

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If you watch AJay's  reaction clips, then you might agree when she says that Madonna doesn't need vocoders/autotune. Since Music, Madonna's albums have been featuring autotune, vocoder or both. It isn't that I dislike them, but sometimes a natural voice delivers more emotions and we know damn well how brilliant Madonna's emotional vocal delivery can be. On American Life vocal effects did make sense, while on Madame X it is too much. Certain songs (like Batuka) need natural vocals, so they could express certain emotions.

Does she hide her voice? We know it has weakened, but on Crazy she showed she can be good.  Some fans claim autotune and vocoder are artistic decisions. Maybe they are, but her songs didn't reach the full potential.

Maybe this sentence is too much for some fans, but Madame X tends to be soulless. Yes, this is her most ambitious and passionate work since COADF, but those vocal effects obliterated the intended emotional quality and made the songs to sound  impersonal. Instead of Madonna singing passionately about important topics, we have a robot that does her work. 

I think some fans are exaggerating when they say Madame X is her most experimental and daring album. Yes, there are some experimental songs, but other are just creative, and there are many simple or basic songs that could have been made by anyone. Throwing different genres to an album doesn't make Madonna genius.

Madonna had interesting concepts and ideas, but she played too much with vocals and again she decided to have some fun and added some kitsch songs that are out of place. Even some songs that are actually decent,  simply don't belong to the album. In the 2010s she doesn't know how to be selective and choose the best.

She should have stuck to Mirwais. Other producers were unnecessary and only delivered confusion. Mike Dean did added some good elements to certain songs and Crave is good, but many songs he did weren't  impressive.

Mirwais reinvented himself. Medellin  was a surprise with latino pop sound and those subtle electropop beats. However on many songs I wished he and Madonna delivered more typical structures and catchier melodies like on American Life. AL ballads are moody, but also very melodic, while Madame X ballads are just moody. Non-traditional structure of songs is interesting, but that doesn't instantly make Madonna super edgy and daring. Some songs simply don't work with unusual structures. I am not saying she should have delivered pure pop music. Certain songs are too repetitive,  they miss chorus or something that would make songs shine.

Although I like intellectual side of Madonna's music, I think an album full of love songs with latino feel (Medellin) and laid-back songs (Crave) could have been a beautiful album and a spiritual sequel to Bedtime Stories.

When it comes to Madame X ballads, they are too much Adult Contemporary for me. They reminded me of Evita sound, Messiah and Wash All Over Me, which are too boring (Don't Cry For Me Argentina is an exception). I am not a fan of those type of ballads, I prefer classic and melodic ballads from the 80s and the 90s, and most of the later stuff was good too. However, Killers and Extreme Occident are more interesting and creative than Messiah and WAOM. 

 

  • Medellin: Well made song with a brilliant video. It needed just a little bit more energy, especially from Madonna.
  • Dark Ballet: I like the ideas, but the song sounds unfinished and it isn't that listenable. I expected it to be crazier and to become a super catchy electropop bop with classical music elements at certain points.
  • God Control: I like it, but that disco music is a little bit dated. It should have been more polished and the song deserved a chorus. That "It's a hustle, it's a con" part should have been repeated more times. That could have been a chorus. In general, one of the best songs. very creative.
  • Future: Solid song, a little bit repetitive. Quavo doesn't really deliver anything, because both vocals are autotuned af, so it doesn't make any difference. The tour version is more interesting. If this was more organic at certain parts, if it had natural vocals and focused more on those horns it could have been brilliant. It needed to be more laid-back like Crave. Diplo did better reggae songs for some other artists and that's a fact.
  • Batuka: It needed natural voice. Too repetitive, too monotonous. I like the tribal vibe, she finally did it. The song should have had a chorus and a splash of reggae would spiced up the song, plus the flow between Future and Batuka would be nicer.
  • Killers: I don't have any problem with the problematic lyrics, but the melody of the verses is so boring, while the chorus is very catchy and lovely  actually.
  • Crave: At first, I didn't like, but now I adore it. So laid-back, sensual and sophisticated. Probably Madonna's best collaboration with another artist. 
  • Crazy: It is OK. The verses are better than the chorus, that should have been more interesting.
  • Come alive: A filler. It is basically Body Shop  part 2 . Enough of autotune. The highlight of this song is the choir. It would have been better if the choir was added to some other song.
  • Extreme Occident: It shouldn't have been a deluxe song. It represents the album. Overall, it flows better than Killers. A little boring.
  • Faz Gostoso: Basic trash song. What was the point of this cover? It doesn't fit to the album's vibe at all.
  • Bitch I'm Loca: Trash. Seriously Madonna, can you stop ruining albums with bad and cheap songs?
  • I Don't Search I Find: Another song that is out of place. Instead of turning this into a disco/electropop dance gem with some intellectual lyrics  that could be next to God Control, it is a weird dub work with the 90s influence and Erotica whispering. It is solid, but doesn't belong to the album.
  • Looking for Mercy: Too long, repetitive, dated. Sounds like RH outtake. 
  • I Rise: It is a solid song. It could have been a little bit more creative.
  • Funana: Joke. Trash lyrics, basic music.
  • Back That Up: Who did think it was a good idea to release it? It sounds like some DJ used the demo and mixed it with world music elements. Madonna didn't even bother to record new vocals.
  • Ciao Bella: I love it. Apparently the lyrics fit the political side of the album, but musically it doesn't belong to the album. It has that dark vibe of the album, but just like IDSIF, it sounds too much like that DJ club music with a few lines. It is even dated.

 

Overall, this album should have had around 10 songs. The shit starts with Faz Gostoso. The album should have ended with Extreme Occident and Come Alive should have been replaced with I Rise. That's it.

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1 hour ago, Enrico said:

Isn't the Erotica album very influenced by dub and drum'n'bass?

Compare IDSIF with  the original version of Goodbye to innocence, you can mash them up easily:

Erotica's dance songs were based on house music and new jack swing.

I Don't Search I Find sounds more like some of Madonna's dub remixes from the 90s.

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3 hours ago, Kieran said:

I like the sound of that a lot. This seems a little more coherent. DB as the opener would work really well and allow its quirkiness to become more of an introduction and tone-setter. It does seem a bit lost as track 2 after Med.

I'd still take out FG and BIL - stick them both on the bonus disc and allow the remaining 13 tracks to shine more. And cut the last minute of LFM!

Yes! This is exactly why I want Dark Ballet first, because it sets a tone and it’s way more defining of the album than Medellín. And I too think FG and BIL, and perhaps even Medellín and Come Alive can go from the album or be on a bonus disc. The album is much more coherent without them. 

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22 hours ago, Justice said:

If you watch AJay's  reaction clips, then you might agree when she says that Madonna doesn't need vocoders/autotune. Since Music, Madonna's albums have been featuring autotune, vocoder or both. It isn't that I dislike them, but sometimes a natural voice delivers more emotions and we know damn well how brilliant Madonna's emotional vocal delivery can be. On American Life vocal effects did make sense, while on Madame X it is too much. Certain songs (like Batuka) need natural vocals, so they could express certain emotions.

 

 Amazing post - thanks :) I love how Ajay completely appreciates M's rich voice. Her MMMMs in Frozen and on BS album etc. True, in more recent years that warmth has been evident in places, but she/producers seem intent on going different routes to push her in different areas and styles. Having said that, I'd absolutely LOVE Falling Free to be delivered with the vocal clarity that we get in EO.

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20 hours ago, RinoTheBouncer said:

And I too think FG and BIL, and perhaps even Medellín and Come Alive can go from the album or be on a bonus disc. The album is much more coherent without them. 

OMG you are brutal lol. Chopping Med might be a bit too far for me! I agree with CA, though - it's a skipper for me. I bet I will love it live, though.

As has always been the case from HC onwards - there is a great album in there somewhere, just lost with incoherent trackllists, track choices and messy production decisions which should have been more obvious to producers if they spent time reflecting on the final product.

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4 hours ago, Kieran said:

 Amazing post - thanks :) I love how Ajay completely appreciates M's rich voice. Her MMMMs in Frozen and on BS album etc. True, in more recent years that warmth has been evident in places, but she/producers seem intent on going different routes to push her in different areas and styles. Having said that, I'd absolutely LOVE Falling Free to be delivered with the vocal clarity that we get in EO.

Totally agree with what you say as well as @Justice.  Ajay will probably love Madonna's albuma more from this point on since the albums are far more natural voice.  I look forward to her reviewing them.  

I totally agree that Madame X is a "bit too much" vocal effects.  Like mentioned, it worked well on many of her earlier albums, and there was a fair balance.  While I love Rebel Heart (the album), there were tracks like Ghosttown that got some treatment that I thought wasn't necessary.   There is a particular word in the song that you can hear a vocal effect applied which I thought "why?"  It still doesn't take a way from how great the song is, but I had noticed the use of vocal effects on Madame X seemed a bit too much.  I understand on some of the songs, but songs like Batuka, Extreme Occident and Dark Ballet should have been much more natural.  

To me, while Madonna didn't really copy/follow trends with her output on Madame X, I think the vocal effects are definitely a product of what is being heard in a lot of current music these days. Over usage of vocal effects.  

 

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