The signs weren’t promising for Madonna’s 14th album, but Madame X is punctuated by enough indelible moments. Strings float over I Don’t Search, I Find’s descending bassline until a phat house groove resurrects her Justify My Love murmur, and Dark Ballet leaps from delicate piano to a Switched On Bach take on Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Mirlitons.
Equally eccentric is God Control, its autotuned vocal interrupted by Tiffin Children’s Chorus, before strings, a spoken interlude and gunshots deliver disco whose insanity is matched by Batuka, the chain gang chants of Portugal’s Batukadeiras Orchestra paired with explosive drums.
Madonna is a stayer: as I Rise reminds us, “There’s nothing you can do to me that hasn’t been done”. Madame X confirms there’s plenty she can do that she’s still not done.