Saturday, July 26, 2014
Madonna's new album: What we know so far
It's been two years since Madonna's chart-topping 12th studio album MDNA, but if you've been following the Queen of Pop on Instagram, you will be more than aware that she is currently working on the follow-up.
There's always been an air rife with anticipation when it comes to a new Madonna album. During her 31-year career she has kept her multi-generational fanbase second guessing what she's going to do next.
Let's take a look at some of the hints we have so far for album number 13, which include biblical references, numerous super producers and the prospect of some truly pop-tastic collaborations.
Since Madonna discovered Instagram, we've been teased with a multitude of 15-second clips from the studio. We know that she has recorded with a full orchestra, as well as the London Community Gospel Choir. Madonna has always put the orchestral side of pop to good use (see 'Like A Prayer' and the intro to 'Sorry'), so we could be in for some more rolling-around-in-a-church moments on the next record.
Looking at the list of producers for album number 13, Madonna has roped in some of the world's biggest hit-makers. Avicii will surely cook up an EDM-tinted banger for her, while Diplo is going to add his booty-shaking brand of squiggles and beats into the mix, right? The super-producer has worked on seven songs for the collection, saying:
"I do not usually feel pressured to write hits, but when it's an artist of this calibre, it's obvious that I want to push the boundaries a little bit further and surpass myself."
What's more, Madonna has been in the studio with MoZella, who co-wrote Miley's naked ballad 'Wrecking Ball'. The iconic star has delivered some memorable serenades in her time, so we could be in for another sky-soaring slowie. Grammy-winning record producer Ariel Rechtshaid is also on board, so considering his previous credits with Kylie, Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX and Haim, he's bound to add a healthy dollop of #EdgyPop. In our humble opinion, Madonna is at her finest when she's pushing those boundaries.
Let's not forget the brilliance of Madonna teaming up with Natalia Kills. We've been a fan of the Bradford singer-songwriter for a number of years now, and the prospect of Madonna recording something in the vein of 'Wonderland', 'Zombie' or 'Acid Annie' is, quite frankly, very exciting.
Who else has she been in the studio with? Bonafide pop guru Toby Gad has been sprinkling his magic over the album. The German producer has previously worked with the likes of Beyoncé, One Direction, Fergie and Miley Cyrus. Symbolic One has also been spotted in the studio with Madge. He worked on Kanye West's 'Power', so is likely to be adding a touch of alternative hip-hop grit to the soundscape.
That's a lot of people, we know, but if any popstar can pull all of those influences together, it's Madonna.
The only song title that has been confirmed by Madonna's spokesperson is'Messiah'. Religious undertones, game-ruling bravado and a potential orchestral opening; the title alone has got our head spinning. Let's take another look at those lyrics too:
We don't want to speak too early because at the moment it's just an idea continuously speculated about on the internet, but our expectations can't help be sky high.
Other titles knocking around on the web - mainly down to Madonna's Instagram hashtagging - are 'Unapologetic Bitch', 'Bitch, I'm Madonna' and 'Trust No Bitch'. It's all a bit bitchy, really.
Madonna has always thrown a few zeitgeist-y collaborations on to her albums. Whether she's jumping over car bonnets with Justin Timberlake, strutting around a bamboo maze with Britney or cheerleading with Nicki Minaj, the Queen of Pop isn't averse to sharing the stage every now and then. But who could she have her eye on this time?
Madge kicked off the year performing a mash-up of 'We Can't Stop' and 'Don't Tell Me' with Miley Cyrus for an MTV special. Teaming up with pop's current wild child wouldn't be out of character for Madonna, and considering they have been working with a few of the same producers, at this point it seems the most likely of team-ups.
Let's not forget Madonna's suggestive photoshoot with Katy Perry, though. The latter has been cat-walking the stage to 'Vogue' during her Prismatic world tour, possibly indicating a future collaboration. If Madonna's looking for a sparkly pop hit to damage the charts with, Katy Perry would be the prime candidate.
Aside from pop's premier females, Madonna could be eyeing up a collaboration with British duo Disclosure. They recently denied that they have already recorded material with her, but when pushed on a future hook-up, it all got a bit coy. Madge made sure she was side of stage for two of their shows in New York City earlier this year, and the prospect of a beatific house anthem on the next album is appealing.
We don't actually know yet. Madonna hasn't released an album in Q4 (the lucrative Christmas period between September - December) since 2005's Confessions On A Dancefloor. That was also the last time one of her albums sold over 10 million copies, so maybe Madge is pulling out all of the stops to get another multi-million hit on her hands. Can Madonna still compete in the over-saturated Christmas market? Of course she can. And with loads of promo potential (let's get that X Factor final booked in now, yeah?), it could be one of the most exciting Madonna album campaigns in years.
All in all, the signs are pointing towards a potentially great new album from Madonna. We liked MDNA, but the spark that has been present on most of her previous material seemed lacking. What's more, producer William Orbit - who famously worked with Madonna on her 1998 album Ray Of Light - has heard some of the new stuff and tweeted that it "sounds good". We'll take that praise at this stage and continue to be teased by Madonna's Instagram account until we get some concrete news.