Somewhere in the sprawling mess of 19 songs in the Deluxe Edition of `Rebel Heart' there is a very satisfying, not quite up to par, ten track approximation of a Madonna album of old.
But, interrupted by the dross that is Madonna trying to incorporate modern commercial dance and hip-hop trends and trying to compete with the successes of much younger artists who now dominate the US and other charts, it is disconcertingly hard to find.
Less so than in her previous 21st century albums, the problem here is still that Madonna has become lost trying to follow when once she was so powerfully one of the main leaders in the dance-pop recording world.
When modern styles emerge and overtake you, surely the most elegant thing to do is let them do so and stick to what makes you great - unless you can harness them to great effect and make a comment or enhance your sound in an individual trademark way.
When you simply imitate, as Madonna too often does here, you end up coming across as desperate, embarrassing and awkward (and, sometimes, funny) - a (much) older person stupidly trying to compete with the younger experts.
To wit - you end up recording crap like `Unapologetic Bitch', `Bitch, I'm Madonna', `Holy Water' and `Veni Vidi Vici'. And when you are preoccupied with competing on that level, you end up under-writing and coming up with repetitive, same-sounding melody lines and simplistic too-obvious lyrics. And sometimes your cynically inserted guest rap break far outshines your own song!
But, despite obvious talent, Madonna's artistic success has always been mightily dependant on her production partners. And here, without her golden age collaborators, like Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, you are left with the feeling that everything is a little undercooked, failing to ever really soar - particularly in her curiously unabandoned, overly cautious vocal performances. You are left with "what could have been". #madonna #madonnaciccone #madonnafans #madonnacollector #madonnaqueen #madonnafamily #madonnaarmy #rebelheart #livingforlove #holywater #ghosttown #bitchimmadonna #cdcollector #cdcollection #madonnalove #iconic #queenofpop #venividivici #picoftheday #instamusic