The original Material Girl is back with her 13th studio album, but it doesn't seem to offer anything new. Madonna has always been about pushing boundaries and breaking taboos, and Rebel Heart is no exception. But in the past she was always able to wrap her message in super catchy dance beats and choruses that inspired crowds to sing along.
This time the lyrics seem clunky, and often it feels like she's just saying things she thinks young listeners say.
There's no hit single in sight. Living for Love, produced by DJ and rapper Diplo, is a wannabe house anthem, but falls flat.
The next offering, Ghosttown, is a little closer to classic Madonna, but that's the problem. Instead of bringing hot musical innovation, she's just reheating her old sounds. She would've been much better off polishing a dozen masterpieces, instead of serving up 19 mediocre pop songs.
Ultimately it sounds like Rebel Heart is imitating today's hot young artists, from Miley to Iggy. That would be fine from anyone else, but Madonna has led the way for years and she should still be the icon others are trying to be.