For as long as she has been making music, Madonna has been known as the mother of reinvention, and she isn’t too proud to admit much of her metamorphosis is inspired by art that came before her, having told Cream, “Movies, music, art exhibits, books – I have an insatiable hunger to find out about things that are going on [and] inevitably those things find their way into my work; I think that’s what we all do as artists and creative people – we all plagiarise each other.”
But then what happens when an artist who plagiarises other artists turns the lens back on all that past plagiarism? The teaser for Madonna’s new album, Madame X, ought to give you a good idea.
In the teaser, Madonna appears in various guises (ghosts?) of her past, featuring hints of the graffiti artist from Borderline; the corporate feminist from Express Yourself; the dominatrix (ie: Dita) from Erotica; the bad girl from, well, Bad Girl; there’s even a look that melds her Like A Virgin bridal get-up with her Music cowboy motif.
Madonna narrates the clip, describing the record’s titular character as “a secret agent traveling around the world, changing identity, fighting for freedom, and bringing light to dark places.” She adds that she is “a dancer, a professor, a head of state, a housekeeper … a prisoner, a student … a saint, a whore” … and a whole lot more.
For the record, Madame X was a 1966 movie based on the 1908 play of the same name by French playwright Alexandre Bisson. The lead character of ‘Holly’ (played by Lana Turner) marries into a rich family but insists on leading a depraved, law-breaking life.
“Movies, music, art exhibits, books – I have an insatiable hunger to find out about things that are going on [and] inevitably those things find their way into my work; I think that’s what we all do as artists and creative people – we all plagiarise each other.”
Madame X is Madonna’s 14th studio album, and the first since Rebel Heart in 2015. There is no official release date of the LP.
While the music accompanying the teaser clip isn’t much to write home about, sounding like something of a demo left over from Rebel Heart, I’m guessing the LP will be slick, and run the gamut of genres from pop to hip-hop, dance to acoustic.
Given Madonna’s chameleon-like nature and her constant desire to win the following of every demographic, genre-hopping would be the smartest way to go.