When listening to Madonna sing a line like “Took me to heaven, let me fall down/Now that it’s over, I’m gonna carry on” on new single Living For Love, it’s hard not to think of the disappointment the pop queen felt earlier this week, when her thirteenth album leaked online in demo form before it was even officially announced. Fortunately for fans, that initial shock is over, and Madge is carrying on with an album release — Living For Love previews Rebel Heart, now due out in March, and hints at the defiant pose that the follow-up to 2012’s MDNA may strike after a few overstuffed dance projects.
Unlike Madonna’s previous two lead singles, the pre-EDM banger 4 Minutes and the cheerleader pep talk Give Me All Your Luvin’, Living For Love leaves its focus on its lyrics, with the singer beginning over a regal piano line that’s eventually joined by pulsing percussion. The confidence Madonna displays on the track recalls singular classics like Express Yourself and Like A Prayer, and when the song weaves its way toward a throbbing drop, Madonna continues crooning, refusing to be relegated to the background. Living For Love sounds like a giddy combination of Madonna’s past and present, and represents an encouraging sign for a 2015 project that was unexpectedly thrown into jeopardy at the end of 2014.