News of a new record by Madonna always generates a level of interest and curiosity unmatched by other pop stars. The queen of reinvention has been teasing fans with often cryptic clues for months now about her 13th outing. Here are five things we know to date about the album that is likely to be released in the fourth quarter of 2014.
1. Madonna got drunk on rosé recording with Diplo
Diplo has joined Madonna for three weeks worth of studio sessions so far, during which the pair wrote seven songs together, including a track titled, ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’. The producer says “probably four tracks” will make the final cut, and as for feeling pressured he told Digital Spy “I do not usually feel pressured to write hits, but when it’s an artist of this calibre, it’s obvious that I want to push the boundaries a little bit further and surpass myself. He has also recruited Ariel Rechtshaid (Kylie, No Doubt) and MNEK to write verses for “a song Madonna really likes”. Speaking to Billboard magazine he told, “One song is super weird. Late one night in the studio we got a little bit drunk and she improvised a little hook and we made a song out of it. I think it’s going to be a breakthrough if she can manage to get everything together and get it out properly”. For those curious, Madonna’s drink of choice was Rosé. The late Christian Falk (Robyn, Neneh Cherry) also told a Swedish publication that he joined Diplo in the “fruitful” sessions in which Madonna was “very engaged”.
2. William Orbit approves
William Orbit is a perfectionist. He produced the career-turnaround and four-time Grammy-winning album Ray of Light for Madonna in 1998. When he signs up to work on a project he takes his sweet ass time about handing over the goods, which was the main reason he went on a Facebook rant following his sessions with the queen of pop for her last studio album, MDNA. Orbit told followers, who were underwhelmed by the single choices and general handling of the record by Interscope, “Madonna was on form and better than ever with her singing and writing and musicality, and was having a great time. We had songs lined up that were breathtaking. The various pressing commitments that took up the artist’s limited time, such as perfume ranges and teen fashion contests and other such endeavors which are beyond my own limited understanding of popstar agendas”. While the producer later apologised for his comments, there is nothing to suggest that Orbit has had a hand in producing the new album, but he has heard it and simply said it “sounds good”, which is good enough for us given Orbit’s consistently high standards.
3. Top-shelf producers are on board
Aside from Diplo, it is also confirmed that EDM-maestro Avicii is contributing to the album, with the pair exchanging Instagram ‘in the studio’ updates over the past months. Symbolyc One (Kanye West’s ‘Power’) is involved too, so there could well be some hip-hop influnces in the mix. On the ‘maybe’ list, we have Chic disco legend Nile Rodgers who told the New Yorker he was highly interested in being involved in new Madonna music, saying “If Madonna ever wants to work I am totally down, she is the hardest-working, most dedicated, most focused person I have ever worked with and I absolutely adore her”. Add to the ‘maybe’ pile Disclosure, the British dance duo who have blown-up in popularity since their debut album Settle was released featuring guest vocals from Mary J Blige and Sam Smith. P.S. There is a ‘Like A Prayer’-style choir featured on a track rumoured to be called ‘Messiah’, according to this a short video posted on M’s Instagram.
4. Equally top-shelf songwriters are present
While Madonna has always been a lyricist in her own right (and not in the ‘change a word claim a third’ fashion of some modern pop stars), she always reaches her full potential when she strikes a collaboration with the right co-writer (see Patrick Leonard and Stuart Price, to name just a few). Martin Kierszenbaum, who is the founder of Cherrytree Records and the songwriter behind Lady Gaga’s early hits, has been putting pen to paper for Madonna, along with MoZella, who was signed to the 56 year-old’s own record label Maverick once upon a time, and who has now transitioned successfully from failed pop star to successful songwriter, with recent hits including Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ on his books. Rounding off the healthy list is Toby Gad, an LA-based songwriter who boasts over 200 hits on major labels, including Beyonce’s ‘If I Were A Boy’ and Grammy-nominated hits by Fergie and John Legend.
5. Potential collaborations may feature
On the last two Madonna albums she has collaborated with artists who have been received by fans with truly divided opinion – from Justin Timberlake’s overwhelming presence littered on several tracks on 2008’s Hard Candy to Nicki Minaj & MIA’s less invasive flourishes on MDNA’s lead single, ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’. While much of the entertainer’s fans have expressed hopes of a return to a full solo set (which was last the case on 2005’s 12-million selling Confessions on a Dance Floor) it seems possible that we may be in for some surprise ‘special guests’, including potential candidates Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Upon the rumours surfacing of Cyrus making an appearance, ‘Vogue’ and ‘Erotica’ producer Shep Pettibone tweeted a simple but clear, “oh no”, a reaction that was shared by many Madonna fans on social media. Perry, who is rumoured to appear on a track titled ‘Unapologetic Bitch’, has developed a playful friendship with Madonna after the pair appeared on the cover of V magazine together and more recently, the ‘Teenage Dream’ singer nominated her new friend for the ALS Bucket Challenge.
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