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Bitch, I Interviewed Madonna: The Queen Of Pop On Her New Album ‘Rebel Heart’ & More!

Today marks the official release of Madonna‘s thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart, easily, her best work in years! The 19-track, lyrically-driven, electric pop album is as ambitious as it is personal. From start to finish, the album creates a great picture of where Madonna‘s career has been and where it is now. There’s a certain maturity in her vision that we haven’t seen in recent efforts MDNA and Hard Candy; thematically, Rebel Heart feels like a return to form. What really keeps the record feeling cohesive is the lyrical content; Songs like “Ghosttown,” “Devil Pray,” “Joan Of Arc,” and even “Living For Love” (the Heart side) come off surprisingly relatable from someone who truly has experienced a whole lot. She might be an “Unapologetic Bitch,” but she’s human just like us. Of course, this is Madonna, so there’s still plenty of provocative fun to be had throughout with songs like “Holy Water” “Body Shop,” and “S.E.X.” (the Rebel side). It is by no means perfect with all of its sonic variations, but Rebel Heart is undeniably one of Madonna‘s finest moments.

BUY Madonna’s thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart on iTunes NOW!

Last night, on the eve of her Rebel Heart release, I was fortunate enough to join a few members of the gay blogging community to interview the Queen of Pop at an intimate roundtable. We talked about everything from the new album to those early leaks to her thoughts on pop music. She was everything I had hoped for and much much more. I can’t even begin to describe the meaning of the whole experience so I’ll just leave you with this photo…

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Did the Rebel Heart leaks change anything about the way the album was released?

It changed everything. First of all, it drove me insane—and made me feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety. It made me second guess everything, because suddenly I thought, ‘Oh god, everyone’s heard all these demos.’ There were some demos that I actually liked the demo version of, and I thought, ‘Well they heard the demo, now they’re going to be expecting other things.’ Then they heard the next level of versions, and it kept making me think ‘Should I change it, or should I just leave it how it was?’ I was second guessing everything rather than having to just choose for myself and put it out as I would normally, as an artist. The way he leaked it and the way the stuff started coming out and coming out and coming out in all these different incarnations, it kind of drove me crazy. Then it started making me think I don’t even know what version I should be putting out. Some people were like ‘Ooh, I love it! I love it!’ and I was like, ‘No, don’t love it, because that’s not the thing.’ So, it was crazy-making.. From now on I’ll stay off the Web. Everything will be hand delivered.

Thematically and lyrically the album is a lot more self-referential than you have been in the past. During the writing process, was that something you did intentionally? Are you at a point in your career where you’re actively looking back?

I didn’t set out to write certain kinds of songs. I just set out to write good songs. And that was the mood I was in, and that was what I was channeling. Sometimes I was in nostalgic moods and looking back. Sometimes I was in a mood to write a song as if I was writing in my journal and reveal certain parts of me that I was ready to reveal.

Of all you’re collaborators you’ve worked with on this album, who pushed you the most?

I felt like I wrote a lot of good songs with Avicii’s writing team, and I didn’t expect that. I ended up writing a lot of personal and very soulful songs with [that group]—who I refer to as my Viking harem—who are all really wonderful, intelligent, soulful people. And they made me feel really comfortable. I guess I felt like I was safe enough to write those kinds of songs, and that surprised me. And Diplo was very particular. He pushed me a lot, and it served me well.

The “Living For Love” video was your first time bringing what you do with your tour visuals to a full-on music video concept. Is that something we’re going to get to see again?

The thing about that song, it’s such a passionate song, I had to present it in a passionate way. I used mythology to tell the story, with the story of the minotaur and the matador and fighting and fighting for love and the color red and flowers and horns and death and naked men. You know, the important things in life. I don’t want to make every video the same, but I did love the richness of that video. To me, it felt like a painting that came to life. That’s what I was trying to do. I wouldn’t want to do that for every video. When I do ‘Bitch I’m Madonna,’ it’s going to be a whole different aesthetic.

So we are getting a visual for “Bitch I’m Madonna”?

If Diplo has his way, yes.

You’re doing a Grindr chat, and you released the “Living For Love” video via Snapchat. Will this unconventional social media approach be a continuous theme throughout the promotion for Rebel Heart?

Yes! I love the way social media works and I love thinking of new ways to showcase my projects to the fans.

Do your kids have a favorite song of yours?

They really love ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’. That’s my teenagers’ favorite song. My son David’s favorite song — he plays guitar — and he likes ‘Devil Pray.’ That’s his favorite.

What do you love the most about pop music?

I love how accessible it is.

What do you despise about pop music?

Despise? That’s such a strong word. I’m not crazy about how sort of homogenized it’s become. It used to be much more diverse. Maybe it’s just what’s played on the radio sounds very much the same. But I can’t say I despise, that’s just too much. In our house we don’t use words like ‘despise’ and ‘hate,’ we say ‘strongly dislike.’

– This interview was edited and condensed from a press roundtable with several other outlets –

BUY Madonna’s thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart on iTunes NOW!

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