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Old 03-18-2015, 09:36 PM   #631
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Oh that's a glaring example of it. Monday Morning is better than everything on that album. And I really like Bionic.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:42 PM   #632
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I think even MDNA was another example of that.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:55 PM   #633
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Rebel Heart could've been so much better, it ends up being so frustrating.
Yes, I downloaded all the demos and, so, I prefer to evaluate the recording sessions, rather than the album - or the 4759 versions of the album - it self.

When I first listened to the demos I had two feelings: first, she worked with too many people, too many producers, too many teams - which had already happened to the non-cohesive predecessor MDNA; second, many of the songs already sound pretty finished. Which, after the leakings, led me to two conclusions:
1) Madonna shouldn't have cared about the leaking, because it was mostly fans who downloaded it, and sticked with the original double album plan.
2) Why? Because there's too much material, some/many of it do not seem related with each other and... In the end we got a 25 song collection, rather than a proper album... And many of those 25 songs are not album material or have low quality standards when compared to some of her best albums.

I think (1) she should've chosen 15 max for the album; (2) separate it in two big groups of 10-12 songs and release it, whether as a double album, or as two different albums with a 12-18 month gap.

Despite sounding like a "Deeper And Deeper" ("Vogue") revival, I quite like this song. The problem is that, after listening to the demo(s), I feel like I'm listening to a quick radio edit. She edited some elements that were needed (specially the male backing vocals that provided a nice transition between sections), the intro is ridiculously short (she starts singing abruptly at the 8 seconds mark!), the outro comes too sudden and the bridge had a better fluence in the demo.
Plus, there's some loudness war in this song, which is a characteristic of many tracks... She - furious with the leakings - decided to mix and master herself. I can't hear the bass in some of the first 6 tracks and the drums/percussion are too loud.

I like the way the took the Aviici "Make The Devil Pray" and made Diplo turn it into "Devil Pray". It really works. But, again, too much edition. I wish it had a more subtle intro... They could've keep the demo's 10 second keyboard intro.

"Ghosttown" is one of mostly everyone's favourites and it's gonna be the second single (the video was shoot days ago). I like it. Yet... Am I the only one who thinks she got inspiration in Coldplay's "Paradise"?

A year ago or so, I said Madonna should start exploring new soundscapes she hasn't tried before, being reggae one of them. I like "Unapologetic Bitch"... But this is one of the few cases where the song - which didn't change after the demo state - sounds unfinished. Something's lacking, eventually a bass or some more keyboards. Plus, this is the worst example in the whole album of loudness war. I can't hear the drums, the mixing is soooo poor.

"Illuminati"... An interesting instrumental. Don't like the lyrics. And this is the first time she shamelessly evoques herself. That "Kanye, Beyoncé, Obama, Gaga, Rihanna" is toooo much "Greta Garbo and Monroe. Dietrich and DiMaggio. Brando and Jimmy Dean...".

The same goes to "Bitch, I'm Madonna". Is the instrumental too bubblegum pop? Yes. Too trendy? Yes. It is great anyway? Hell yeah! It's so sticky. Too bad the lyrics don't match the standard settled by that sick instrumental. I'd also dismiss that random meaningless Minaj rap.

I already liked the demo a lot. It seemed a little unfinished, but it had potential, specially with those MNEK backing vocals. I like both versions, both percussion/keyboard solutions, whether in the demo, whether in the album. It's a very Rihannesque track.

I always thought "Joan Of Arc" was perfect - "don't touch it!" - when I listened to the demo. It was ready to send to the radios. Why the hell did she decide those useless and clearly displaced drums? Why did she kept of adding elements? It doesn't work. Glad she performed it in a similar to the album in Ellen show. Still, it's one of Madonna's best lyrics and efforts in the last 10 years.

"Iconic"... I have some sympathy for this song. Again, I think she added too much elements. I think she just needed to go forward with what she already had with the demo. For instance, those subtle melodic changes weren't needed in my opinion. I'd also do without that self-celebrating Tyson intro (I HATE this self-celebratory mode Madonna got in progressively over the past 15 years).

"Heartbreak City". One Of my favourites. I really really like it. I'm still not sure if those extra drums were really needed, but it doesn't bother me as much as in "Joan Of Arc".

I quite like "Body Shop", even noticing the silly lyrical games and references. Do I think it matches the other songs in cohesion? I tend to think it doesn't.

"Holy Water"... Silly lyrics again. It was okay. I would even accept it in the album's final tracklist if it was kept more or less as the demo. In the album version the song becomes obnoxious. And I HAAAATE that "Vogue" quote. Stop quoting, evoquing and self-celebrating yourself... Bitch! But then I remember that this is a Kanye West product and all this bad aura makes sense...

"Inside Out" already was a favourite in the demo version, which I thought it was almost 100% finished. I like both versions, can't decide which one is the best. The album version is very Depeche Mode/NIN-esque, but I love the alternate demo version.

I have an issue with "Wash All Over Me". Lyrically it makes perfect sense as an album close. Am I happy with the way it was stripped and toned down? No. Not that it does sound bad, but it doesn't feel enough. It lost those nice ABBA/Pet Shop Boys-esque string section, but that speeded up arrangement of the demo wasn't perfect either. She worked on dozens of versions of this song. Maybe another of those would've suit better.

Also love "Best Night". Always was a favourite. Glad she didn't touch it at all for the album.

I don't like "Veni Vidi Vici". Again, Madonna in the worst self-celebratory mode ever. From the unbearable rapper intro, to the self-referential lyrical tricks, it's all to unsustainable. And I also don't think the song is melodically interesting. Trash bin quality.

"S.E.X."... The good thing about this song is that, if you forget the beyond-pathetic lyrics, both the demo and the album arrangements are very sticky and enjoyable - any of those could be interesting Hard Candy outtakes. But then you remember the quality standard Madonna herself settled 20 years ago when it's about mixing pop music with sex and bringing up sexuality to the table... And "S.E.X." lyrics become laughable... In a very bad way.

"Messiah" is another interesting effort in the vein of "Joan Of Arc" and "Heartbreak City". Glad she didn't change it too much.

At first, I didn't like "Rebel Heart". It sounded too much Avicii style. But when all the leaks came out I started to enjoy it more. Not sure I enjoy more the stripped down arrangement made for the album's final version. Between both versions, I'd probably stick with the demo version with a mix of the album version's elements (that acoustic guitar maybe and that subtle outro).

Another disaster is "Beautiful Scars". The demo clearly needed lots of work, but the way to go was pretty clear - it just needed some extra keyboards and guitars to embody the song. Then I listened to the final version and it sounds like a car accident, a disco-sound pastiche (when the demo had the disco glance but in a very modern way). Forgettable.

"Queen" sounds like a "Ghosttown" poorer sister. It's an enjoyable song which I have some sympathy for. But it's b-side material.

Not sure I like the percussion changes she did in "Borrowed Time" (is it me or the added percussion is 75% of the songs became a problem?). It's a nice track anyway.

"Graffiti Heart" had potential in the demo phase, but it needed LOTS of work. I like the way she worked it for the album, except for the chorus. Why? Again, the percussion... It's TOO MUCH. Was it hard to put it in half of the tempo? The lyrics, however, are hearty.

Most fans gave a lukewarm reception to "Autotune Baby" in the demo phase (which doesn't differ much from the final version). I'm one of the few who enjoyed it. Is it lyrically silly? Yes. Is it an interesting pop composition? Absolutely.

"Addicted/The One That Got Away" was the song that I'd use as track #2 after "Living For Love". Madonna made a few changes that don't do much for the song, comparing with the version state. I'd probably stick with what I already had.

I'd also like to leave a note to some of the songs that didn't make the final cut.

90% of the fans hated "Revolution". I liked it a lot! It had some of that 2008 Madonna+Gogol Bordello vibe. It needed improvements, but it was interesting to me.

"Trust No Bitch", "Tragic Girl" and "Two Steps Behind Me" are not bad songs, both have some interesting elements, but both are as well b-side material. "Two Steps Behind Me" is too Madonna-clichéd-soundscapes and "Tragic Girl" sounds pale when compared to "Joan Of Arc" or "Heartbreak City".

Pharell's come back brought some other new outtakes... But most are very uninteresting and make Hard Candy sound like a masterpiece.
However, although most fans didn't like "Back That Up (Do It)", I have to say that there's something about this song that makes me want to dance immediately. In fact, "Back That Up" sounds like a good Hard Candy outtake like "Ring My Bell" or "Candy Shop". The same goes to "Take It Back".

Rebel Heart is, in the end, another chance Madonna dismissed to make a great pop record. She shouldn't have panicked with the leakings, closed herself alone in the studio and finishe/release those 6 songs, changing the album's concept and strategy.
Rebel Heart, thus, suffers from the MDNA's disease, ending up being a mere collection of songs with no sonic cohesion, disbanding itself in too many directions, that has some brilliant lyrics that are overshadowed by Madonna's becoming-old narcisistic self-celebration strategy.
Most of all, Rebel Heart is the product of a 56-year old pop diva, that keeps on believing the others that she's the queen (something that she shouldn't have to because it ends up having the opposite effect: devaluating her), because she's still living on the limbo of (1) competing with younger pop artists that have other type of audience and public (2) assuming the fact that she's the queen and no one/nothing can take that away from her.

Rebel Heart: 6,4/10
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:33 PM   #634
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wow lengthy review

I completely agree that this could have turned out so much better than it did. Some of the demos that didn't make the cut are really good

Rebel Heart, Wash all over me- great demos- ruined by Kanye and Diplo at the end

Iconic- could have been great but ruined with pointless rapper section

LIving for Love- should have been an amazing upbeat song...is a joyless dirge that never takes off

of the rest some of it is good (Ghost Town, Heartbreak City, Devil Pray, Messiah, Inside Out, Joan of Arc) and then the rest is rubbish to these ears

too many producers, rappers, Kanye and a 56 year old pop star trying to act and convince everyone she is still 25..and aiming at a yoof market that has long gone

Confessions on a Dance Floor is a long time ago now
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:47 PM   #635
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djparky View Post
wow lengthy review

I completely agree that this could have turned out so much better than it did. Some of the demos that didn't make the cut are really good

Rebel Heart, Wash all over me- great demos- ruined by Kanye and Diplo at the end

Iconic- could have been great but ruined with pointless rapper section

LIving for Love- should have been an amazing upbeat song...is a joyless dirge that never takes off

of the rest some of it is good (Ghost Town, Heartbreak City, Devil Pray, Messiah, Inside Out, Joan of Arc) and then the rest is rubbish to these ears

too many producers, rappers, Kanye and a 56 year old pop star trying to act and convince everyone she is still 25..and aiming at a yoof market that has long gone

Confessions on a Dance Floor is a long time ago now
Too bad I immediately posted it and then went to bed without reviewing it, it has soooo many errors, faults. In some paragraphs, for some who don't know the order tracklist don't know which song I'm talking about.
Sorry...
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:20 PM   #636
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Favourite songs:

Live to tell
You'll see
Take a Bow
Frozen
Crazy for you
Bedtime stories
This used to be my playground
Justify my love

I can't stand/care for anything post Ray of light
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:32 PM   #637
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Originally Posted by Aygo View Post
Too bad I immediately posted it and then went to bed without reviewing it, it has soooo many errors, faults. In some paragraphs, for some who don't know the order tracklist don't know which song I'm talking about.
Sorry...
no need to apologise- having heard the demos and the actual album I could pretty much pick out the songs
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:23 AM   #638
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the only dry rough patch spot for me on the album is tracks 14-17. Not connecting with those yet. Everything else for me has been decent to great. I really like beautiful scars a lot at the moment .
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:25 PM   #639
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Madonna appreciation thread!

She's back on tour, and already getting some of the best reviews she's had in a while. Really looking forward to seeing this show in January.

Quote:
SETLIST

Iconic
Bitch I'm Madonna
Burning Up
Holy Water / Vogue
Devil Pray

---------- VIDEO INTERLUDE: Messiah ----------
Body Shop
True Blue
Deeper and Deeper
HeartBreakCity / Love Don't Live Here Anymore
Like a Virgin

---------- VIDEO INTERLUDE: S.E.X. ----------
Living for Love
La Isla Bonita
Dress You Up / Into the Groove / Everybody / Lucky Star
Who's That Girl
Rebel Heart

---------- VIDEO INTERLUDE: Illuminati ----------
Music
Candy Shop
Material Girl
La vie en rose (Édith Piaf cover)
Unapologetic Bitch
Holiday

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