Album was released on June 14th

Thirty-seven years and 14 albums later, Madonna does the predictable on her latest release, Madame X … reinvent herself. After living in Portugal for several years, Madame X is heavily inspired by the country’s rich traditional and modern eclectic music. It’s far from perfect, but there’s beauty even in imperfections, and while it doesn’t stand up to Madonna’s best work, it is the best album she’s released in recent years.

Upon first hearing, the mix of musical styles shows Madonna, even at 60, is up to date on current musical trends, what the “kids are into these days”. Her voice, albeit a bit deeper, sounds as potent and sexy as it does from her Ray of Light days (arguably Madonna’s best album). Madonna performs each of the 13 tracks effortlessly and production-wise, Madame X doesn’t sound like a pop star trying to sound modern. It’s Madonna after all, claiming her rightful place and setting the trends, musically.

From the sounds coming from a sweaty hot downtown club in New York City, Spanish and Afro drumbeats, and plenty of Latin influences, Madonna returns to her dance music roots but also dwells into politics (maybe a little too political), introspection, and of course Madonna’s trademarked not giving a damn what people think of her or what they may think of Madame X. That’s made quite clear on “Come Alive” where Madonna doesn’t care about one’s opinion, or “I Rise”, the grand, closing track where Madonna declares there’s nothing anyone can do to keep her down, she’s been through it all and won the battle every time.

The beautiful ballad “Looking For Mercy” is a bit out of place on Madame X but again, it’s Madonna and the way the music sounds and passionate lyrics are standard Madonna love songs. Yet the politically uneven “Killers Who Are Partying” where Madonna claims she will be poorer if Africa falls seems empty especially when Madonna is one of the world’s richest entertainers.

But the real highlights such as “Come Alive”, a track that will be standard on every Madonna concert, and “Medellin” where Madonna performs with Colombian artist Maluma, is as Latin as you can get for a white pop star.

Madame X is a strong effort, showing that Madonna has no plans to give up her throne as the Queen of Pop. The few setbacks can’t override what is Madonna’s best work in years. Madonna is back!