October 20, 2021


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‘Madame X’ Review: A Madonna Show Heavy on Messages, Light on Euphoria

5 min read

“Madame X,” begins with a montage of the new Madonna concert film, the most legendary performance of the pop superstar, music videos and some of the shock-theater persuasions: the infamous moments of the MTV Video Music Awards, the transgressive S&M images and Goltier’s fashion, “What Trump” and “Madonna Has No Shame” (how bizarre in the age of Instagram!), The on-cue outrage of the Catholic Church. The film ends with a montage of oppressed people and groups from all over the world in the stage performance of Madonna’s “I Rise”, a song about the powerless to fight against power. The inaugural cabinet reminds you of Madonna in her indifferent time and sometimes scandalous abuse; Each clip stops a buzz. The final montage is sincere for a fault, and the song, while working overtime to be a music, is far from serviceable and enjoyable. (I don’t think it will inspire a lot of people to get up.)

In “Madame X” we see Madonna toggle between two poles: the self-styled pop witch and the regularly promised savior of the masses. He incessantly, trying to transform from one to the other, creates the idea that “artists are there to disturb the peace” and stimulates how much he has always been attacked for doing this work. At first, he wrote a long quote from James Baldwin sitting on the stage at a desk, and in the end he repeated the silhouetted typing number so that we get the point: he himself is an artist like Baldwin. Of course, Madonna’s industry has a political dimension. At her height, she was a revolutionary, changing the possibilities for women, breaking more than a few ceilings to do it. For those of us who love them, song after song, his passion and his message are inseparable. But another thing that used to be his joy is inseparable from these two things.

On the scale of joy, “Madame X” feels exhausted. The show has seemed a bit unfocused in recent episodes, but it’s one of the most talked about in the world. But I’m not saying this because I’m begging for Madonna’s message. It’s just that he didn’t get used to being so deadly serious and sometimes almost punitive about it.

Madonna, at her height, is one of the best living actors I’ve ever seen. She did great shows, and the last time I saw her at a concert, on the Confessions Tour in Madison Square Garden in 2006, the show was held together with passion, which was a kind of reverence – a dream come true in her life as a disco but the mood of “Madame X” is completely different. . It was filmed during Madonna’s six-night stand at the Coliseum dos Recreos in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of her 11th concert tour, which took place in theaters and small venues for the first time since 1985. . Given this, you can expect him to strive for a new intimate connection with his audience. But the Madonna we see in “Madame X” wears a dipped layer on her and for a moment, a black ipatch with a bezel X in the center, a vague image: a film-noir diva transforms into ego (code name: Madame X), Strict and deadly, claiming its influence in the universe.

Her feminism has evolved. She now presents herself as part of a collective, larger female consciousness and as a mother in every sense – the mother of her children, but the mother of a movement away from the trap of male attitudes. In a sense, he’s been singing all his career, but now it’s clearer, clearer. He told us, “A freedom fighter,” but fighting for freedom brings a price, as we all know. He lets us feel valued. While he’s still trying to have a good time, theoretically, he’s gone as a bit of a defender, as if people are still attacking him unjustly, and all the years of it have gotten to him. But I don’t think Madonna has been tortured in recent times for flying her sensual freak flag. The culture is weirder than he is now, and the biggest change of his career is that he is no longer at the central level.

Let’s be ruthlessly honest: the songs on the 2019 album “Madame X” lack the X Factor. The movie opens with “God Control”, which has a monotonous groove and is filtered by Madonna Extra Autotune. (“We have to wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up …”). Tchaikovsky’s sample of The Nutcracker with the second song, “Dark Ballet,” is even better, if only on stage it had a wooden nymph on the animal’s head with gas-masked eyes. But then Madonna starts with “Human Nature”, “Bedtime Stories” and the concert comes to life. It’s a song I’ve always heard from David Letterman as his clear answer – the inhuman treatment he received from him during his appearance on the show in March 1994, when he maintained his brilliance like a nightstick.

The song is beautifully staged on “Madame X,” a horn from an old Fine Young Cannibals track, a female chorus, a set like Escher’s calligraphy, and finger shadows on the wall. The number is much higher than before, as Madonna turns her final line (“I’m not your bitch, don’t throw my shit at you”) into a mantra. This is followed by “Enjoy”, which includes a collection of Madonna clones on stage, ray-bans and platinum hair and trench coats, and you’ve got a lot more hit than ever, it’s a great song-a reminder, celebrating the aesthetics of drag ball release Faith Which was echoed in the 90s.

But these are the rare high points in “Madame X” that tend to pull in a kind of educational austerity. I don’t want to take Madonna seriously about the greatness of her past work, but a song like “I Can’t Find” can be called “Confessions of the Stadium of Dance Floor” with her single word Austinato. There is no hook in the song! As the movie progresses, the feeling you get is that for Madonna, the art has become a matter of weighing the dynamics of energy. And it has shrunk his showbiz instincts.

At one point, he brings a group of Batuk singers-dancers from Cape Verde and when he joins their traditional theatrical performances, the number gives a shine. But he split up from there into several songs in Latin (most of “Madame X” was recorded in Lisbon, where Madonna moved in 2017 to find her son the ideal football club – we should all have such a revolutionary alternative), and the truth Is that the songs are nondescript. It also goes for a remake of “La Isla Bonita” (one of my favorite Madonna songs) which becomes the “one two tea-tea-tea” ballet here. Madonna’s art always deals with many things: sex, romance, danger, concussion, femininity, humiliation, persuasion, rights Stay – And, more than anything, that holds it all together: the surge of pop music. “Madame X” has a bit of a buzz of excitement, but they take a seat behind the more coming back: purpose temptation. In fact, the tide has turned.

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