Madonna’s anticipated new album, Rebel Heart, may not be officially released yet. However, she already released six cuts from the album on December 20 as response to her album leak weeks before. The song Living For Love leads the pack of the six new singles from the Queen of Pop. Truth be told, risks are severely high for this new record given that expectations are extremely great.
The song starts with an EDM sound, which is actually good albeit confusing. After a few seconds, it already sounds as if it is a cut off Christina Aguilera’s Bionic or Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Not to mention that the released single cover is a throwback to the album cover photos of prominent EDM records back in 2010. Then Madonna’s voice arrives, and it eases all the confusion away. Madonna’s voice is as distinct as ever. It is still invigorating and uplifting. It movingly demands all attention; thus, the commanding presence of Madonna’s vocal performance is still the main advantage of her new track.
Lyrically, the song is inspiring. It is a good move from Madonna’s team to release Living For Love as the lead single. It is a well-written anthem for moving forward after a failed relationship. This empowering anthem becomes more powerful as the song reaches the chorus, where Madonna preaches how she is living for love and is not giving up. For artists who want to create a genuinely empowering anthem, perhaps they should learn from Madonna’s potentially canonical lines: “I could get caught up in bitterness / But I’m not dwelling on this crazy mess / I found freedom in the ugly truth / I deserve the best and it’s not you / I picked up my crown, put it back in my head / I can forgive, but I will never forget.”
The only major setback of Living For Love is its lack of originality. The sound of the song has already been popular four years ago, and it does not help that this is the sound of Madonna’s new song. While it is commendable for its lyrical accomplishment, it still hurts to hear such a powerful anthem in an already dated tune. The song has the commanding vocals of Madonna along with such formidable lyrics, why settle for a less than phenomenal sound?