The disarming first song from the singer’s 14th album has some lyrical clunkers but acts as a potent reminder of her genre-mashing skills
If any artist has shown her ability to code-switch between styles, it’s Madonna, who’s adroitly shifted from dominatrix to disco queen to Earth mother with previous album cycles. Her latest reinvention is Madame X: the title of her forthcoming 14th album (out 14 June), and also the name of a chameleonic character that she will play across the record. She announced it last week in a cinematic, enjoyably OTT video featuring a panoply of guises that included multiple eye patches and the singer wearing a hooded bonnet as if preparing for Gilead.
In a voiceover she details 15 identities – dancer, prisoner, nun and whore among others – and explains: “Madame X is a secret agent. Traveling around the world. Changing identities.” And it seems that Madonna’s gaze is reaching just as wide for Madame X, which features the American rap artists SwaeLee and Quavo, as well as the South American superstars Anitta and Maluma, the latter of whom is featured on the album’s iridescent lead single, Medellín.