Proud to introduce my brand new remix production of Madonna’sRebel Hearttrack, “Wash All Over Me“. I did this remix for the new Madonna: Remix Project 2 EP which will feature a lot of amazing new remixes of M (from her entire catalog not just the Rebel Heart album)! My mix is featured on the first reveal of remix album along with 6 other great remixes! The rest of the project will be revealed in parts and will include 35 exclusive remixes total! Make sure you head over to LegitMix to hear the other mixes but in the meantime, check out my submission to album…
2 new tracks from Rihanna’s forthcoming album have magically appeared online today and TA-DA!!! I have an exclusive listen for you guys! Check out the mid-tempo pop cut ”Dancing In The Dark” and the gorgeous Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins produced ballad “As Real As You & Me“. I’m instantly feeling these two hot tickets a lot more than her current single “FourFiveSeconds“.
Rihanna – Dancing In The Dark:
Rihanna – As Real As You & Me:
Let me start of by stating; Yes I am a huge Madonna fan. Some might even label me “stan” but I would like to consider myself an enthusiastic fan with an mild obsession. However this does not make me one of those obnoxious sheep that will praise hallelujah every time Madge flashes a nipple or releases an album. In other words, yes I can be objective even when it comes to Madonna! All you have to do is look up my lukewarm review of MDNA, as evidence to just how objective I am. Here are some highlights from that review;
On the overall MDNA album: “While I do LUV Madonna… I’m not completely LUVing this album at all!”
On “I’m Addicted“: “I feel the song’s “over-production” drowns out Madonna’s vocals… Which actually might be a good thing since I’m not feeling her “sing-songy” vocals/lyrics on this one either”
On “Some Girls“: “The obnoxious synth intro that Madonna emulates melodically makes me cringe. And lyrically this song makes me instantly lunge toward the “skip” button to move on to the next track.“
You get the picture.
Ok, now that I got that disclaimer out of the way let me get to back to the task at hand – My review of Madonna’s new album, Rebel Heart. Not only is this album a major step up from MDNA but this Rebel Heart is hands down one of her very best bodies of work in a long, looong time! I’m even going to go as far as saying that R.H.is one of those career defining albums that will earn its place among some of her highly revered releases such as Like A Prayer, Ray of Light and Confessions On a Dancefloor! Now, just because I put this album on a pedestal with these previous fan favorites does not mean that Rebel Heart is anything like these albums I mentioned. If I hadto make a comparison, I would put R.H. in the same realm with her Eroticaalbum since it’s a grab-bag of “sounds” (Dance, urban, reggae, ballads, ect… ) and focuses more so on delivering very well written, solid pop songs.
To my surprise, a majority of the new album ranges from mid-tempo to ballad which is totally unexpected when you see names like Diplo and Avicii attached to the project. Also surprising considering that the album had leaked in the form of unfinished demos months before it’s release and we heard the epic Avicii cuts! Originally, there was good representation of upbeat EDM numbers on the record but because of the leak, Madonna has completely steered the album in a new direction and stripped away a lot of the dance beats for a more refined pop sound. I think it’s really hard to review any of the new material without mentioning their origins in demo form so I’m not only going to rate each song but also provide my opinion on weather the finished product was an “upgrade” or “downgrade”. Let’s get to it…
1. Living For Love: First single. Diplo/Blood Diamonds produced uplifting gospel house number. We’ve all heard it and seen the video by now. Don’t want to spend too much time reviewing this one but not one of my favorites and definitely wouldn’t be my choice for first single. This song is OK but kind of skippable for me personally. The video however is on fire! Rating: 7 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade – The 90′s throwback house sound of the demo was cute but even less interesting than the final product. I’m glad it got reworked with an updated sound.
2. Devil Pray: A fan favorite and defiantly one of my personal faves off the album. Basically I would describe it as an anti-drug/soul searching/religious lyrical theme sung on-top a lush house beat with a heavy flare of folk! Yeah, sounds like a hot-mess but it’s just HOT! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? I’ll say upgrade, but really I think it’s a tie with the demo version too. I enjoyed the organic feel of the demo which suits this folk inspired song so well!
3. Ghosttown: Beautiful romantic ballad that touches on a recurring theme on this record – The end of days. Which I am interpreting as an end to an era. Weather it be the current state of the music industry or maybe even the nearing of retirement for Madge. Trust me, I don’t want to think about it either but it’s bound to happen someday! Ps… Second single! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Neither. A previous version never leaked.
4. Unapologetic Bitch: Madonna’s “fuck you” to one (or maybe all) of her ex’! It’s a Diplo produced reggaetone/dancehall infused dance track that is so catchy I couldn’t get it out my head for days when I first heard it! This is definitely one of those tracks that people are going to either love or hate because it could easily pass for a Rihanna single… But I’m a sucker for a good tongue-in-cheek pissed off breakup song when it comes to M so I absolutely love it! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Neither. Too similar to leaked version.
5. Illuminate: One of the 4 Kanye produced singles. When I heard Kanye was involved on this album, I was really worried but I have to admit that he did an amazing job transforming this one from it’s blasé demo version. This is the first of a few tracks that Madonna “raps” on and surprisingly she doesn’t sound awkward or forced a-la “American Life’s” ‘soy latte’ rap! It feels very reminiscent of her sound during her “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me” moments. Lyrically, M tackles all the Illuminate rumors that have swirled around her since forever and she attempts to “take back” the negative association with the word and remind people that the term “illuminate” originated from something very positive – An age of intellectual and creative enlightenment. Clever spin on a clever song! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Definitely upgrade. Good job Kanye! (on this one)
6. Bitch I’m Madonna (Ft. Nicki Minaj): I really do like this song and Madonna kind of confirmed it will be the next single after “Ghosttown” (Which once again I don’t think would be the best choice) BUT I’m not loving it as much as I want to! I think the silly sing-songy melody along with the lyrics take away from the best part of the song… Diplo’s INSANE drop! I almost feel like the song is being pulled in two different directions and is try to juggle itself between being a cheesy Britney Spears-ish bubblegum pop song and a edgy and hard EDM number. I really wanted it to lean more towards the edgy side but hey… Bitch, she’s Madonna! It’s her song. Rating: 7 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Neither. Too similar to leaked version and Nicki Minaj doesn’t really bring anything spectacular to the table this time.
7. Hold Tight: I LOVE THIS SONG! Lyrically it’s a little on the simple side and definitely not as personal than some of the other tracks on this album, but I LOVE the production which apparently was helmed by Ryan Tedder! “Hold Tight” is one of M’s most ‘current’ sounding and cohesive pop songs in years! Is it just me or does it kind of remind you of Coldplay & Rihanna’s “Princess of China“? Now THIS would have been one of my choices for a single! Rating: 10 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade. The demo was cute, but the album version is just EPIC!
8. Joan of Arc: So I went from really not liking this song in demo form to having it become one of my faves from the album thanks to the glossy production! This is probably one of M’s most personal songs on the record… Lyrically we hear a vulnerability that we’ve never really heard from her before. Madonna really opens up on this mid-tempo ballad and let’s us in a little known secret…. She’s not superhuman and has feeling too! Who knew that the things people write and say about her actually hurt her feelings?! Rating: 10 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade! The new lyrics, backing vocals and slick pop beat make the song so much more enjoyable than the sappy ballad version!
9. Iconic (Ft. Mike Tyson & Chance): Another edgy Diplo produced number. This is Madonna’s first REAL delve into trap and it’s magnificent! You’re either going to love it or hate it but if you’re like me and enjoy hearing M progress with the music scene and take chances with new and CURRENT sounds… You will appreciate this one! My only gripe… For being featured on a track titled “Iconic“, Chance the rapper really doesn’t bring his A game with his lyrical contribution. His whole segment just sounds lazy and uninspired. Nas (who is featured on another song on the album) sounds amazing on his track and would have been a better choice for this number! Rating: 8 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade. The polished production is on a whole other level when compared to the awkward demo.
10. HeartBreakCity: WOW!! This ballad just blows me away! Another very personal moment on the album where it’s evident that one of M’s recent breakups really hurt her deeply. You can really hear a genuine deep emotion in her voice and really believe the painful words she’s singing on this track. A raw sincerity that honestly hasn’t translated in her music since “Live To Tell“. One of (if not) my absolute favorite tracks on this album! Rating: 10 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade! Very similar to demo but upgraded production.
11. Body Shop: If I were to describe the song as a folk inspired, guitar driven, pop song full of car analogies you would think this song is awful but it’s anything but! Well it is a folk inspired, guitar driven, pop song full of car analogies but it does not suck! Again, this is another one of my favorite moments on the album… We hear M use her voice in a way we’ve never heard before and she really pulls the soft and sultry folk vocal off pretty flawlessly! There’s also a little middle eastern vocal layer in the song that is so unique and unexpected that it just adds another interesting element to make this track even more so a standout. Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade. Similar to the demo with a more polished and refined sound.
12: Holy Water: OK, this is the first track that I am going to have to say is awful! Yes, awful!!! I love you Madonna but everything about this track is just… Not good. It’s not the sexual content as it is the bad lyrics (“Bitch, get off my pole“?), cheap production and (I hate to say it but) subpar vocal delivery. Kanye produced this one and while he did improve from the horrendous demo, there’s so much that is so wrong with this track that it’s really not fixable without a complete lyrical/vocal re-do! Even the random “Vogue” sample Kanye thought would be a fun addition makes no sense and feels forced! Hands down my least favorite track on the album. Rating: 4 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade but still awful.
13. Inside Out: What a great way to recover from the last song. “Inside Out” is a beautifully written pop song about loving someone completely on a deeper level than just their aesthetics. It could also be interpreted as a raunchy sex song too… You decide for yourself! Once again, M delivers with an amazing pop vocal on top of a very Nine Inch Nails inspired distorted bassline! Rating: 8 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Downgrade but still good! I have to admit, the more complex demo felt more “complete” than the stripped down and darker album version. Still a great song that I’m glad is an addition to the record.
14. Wash All Over Me: So this one was one of the first songs to leak and was an instant fan favorite. The album version however left a lot of people disappointed since it transformed from a ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor‘-esque EDM track into a stripped back ballad. I would have preferred this song to stay in it’s original incarnation but I don’t totally reject it in its more mature and mellow form since it’s a beautifully written song and can work either way. Rating: 8 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Again, a downgrade from the demo but still good.
15. Best Night: “Best Night” finds Madonna dabbling in the R&B pond yet again. I have to say that the urban influenced tracks on this album sound so much more natural & authentic than some of her previous attempts at the genre. “Best Night” is a sultry jam that takes us back in time with a little 90′s throwback nostalgia. M (as she clarified she wants to be called in this song) even treats us to a little “Justify My Love” reference that will blow your mind! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade but very similar to demo.
16. Veni Vedi Vici (ft. Nas): Another BLAZING HOT urban-pop track! Madonna reflects back on her career using iconic song titles and lyrics from her extensive catalogue to describe her journey of pop conquest! It’s a very clever track that will surely be a fan favorite thanks to empowering production and all of the classic song references. Wishful thinking but I would love to see this track released as a single!
Rating: 9 out of 10 Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade. Nas‘ addition and the new production parts take this song to a whole new level of hotness!
17. S.E.X.: This is probably the biggest disappointment to me on the album mainly because I loved the bubbly unfinished demo but can’t stomach the dark and boring final product produced by Kanye. S.E.X. has a great melody and worked very well as a dance song but this new urban production sucked everything that was fun and sounded good on the track and made it one of my least favorites. Rating: 5 out of 10
Upgrade/Downgrade? Downgrade. Seek out the demo if you haven’t heard it.
18. Messiah: Beautiful mystical ballad in which M channels her inner Wicca alter-ego circa her “Frozen” music video to cast a spell on us and make us fall in love with her! The orchestral arrangement is heaven sent and her impeccable vocal delivery reminds us that Madonna can actually sing and is much more than the overly produced dance-pop diva that we’re so use to lately! I would love to see this as a single just to see what she comes up with for a visual! Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade
19. Rebel Heart: One of HER BEST songs of her entire career! “Rebel Heart” is another very personal and introspective track that takes us on a journey alongside Madonna through her controversial and rebellious life journey! She took “the road less traveled by”… Made some mistakes along the way… Admits to some of her faults such as being a raging narcissist… But in the end she chalks it all up to live experience of her “rebel heart” that has brought her to the point that she is at now – “right where she’s suppose to be”. My only grip… The Avicii produced EDM demo is SO MUCH BETTER than the pop production we ended up with. Why she chose to strip away the lush Avicii strings and synth drops confuses the hell out of me. If it were up to me, this would be a definite single release with Avicii on the remix! (Crossing my fingers) Rating: 9.5 out of 10. I would have given it an 10 out of 10 but had to bump it down a bit since the demo was so much better. Upgrade/Downgrade? Downgrade but still a f#$%g amazing song!
Super Deluxe Bonus Tracks
20. Beautiful Scars: I was shocked at the drastic metamorphosis of this song and pleasantly surprised with the final product! A beautiful melody over chill and funk-driven house vibe! Rating: 8 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Upgrade on so many levels!
21. Borrowed Time: This is Madonna’s socially conscious contribution to the album. She often gets political with her music and imagery but she goes about it differently in “Borrowed Time“. Rather than presenting her musical social commentary from a jaded or preachy perspective (a-la “American Life” or “Nobody Knows Me“) the pop icon plays on our natural human need to feel loved and reminds us that we’re living in this world on borrowed time. It’s a very sweet song with an amazing message!
Rating: 9 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? It’s a tie! The demo was an Avicii produced dance track which I LOVED. The album version is a more stripped down, guitar driven pop song which I also love. I honestly can’t decide on this one!
22. Addicted: This was my absolute favorite demo and I was convinced that this track would be on the final album track listing! To my shock and dismay, it ended up as a bonus track and sounds like an earlier demo version compared to the one that leaked. As if they literally regressed the production rather than beefing it up and finishing it. The song itself is still well written and amazing. And Madge’s vocal delivery on this one is her best performances from the entire album! (Those moody low vocals!! SO HOT!!) Another misstep in my opinion… This song had great potential as a possible single but ended up feeling neglected and “unfinished”. With that said, if you’ve never heard the demo I think you should totally get into this one since you have nothing prior to compare it to! Rating: 8 out of 10. It would have been a 10 out of 10 had it progressed (not regressed) from demo form! Upgrade/Downgrade? Downgrade but still worth putting on repeat for a day or two!
23. Graffiti Heart: Another pleasant surprise came to me in the form of “Graffiti Heart“. An energetic, upbeat pop homage to Madonna’s late friend, Jean-Baptiste, that you’ll instantly love! The demo version was a little blasé but this souped up rework will make you want to jump around and fist pump in your bedroom!
Rating: 8 out of 10. Upgrade/Downgrade? Duh! UPGRADE!!!
Overall, “Rebel Heart” is a stellar album that took a lot of time to craft. Most of the music really reflects just how much consideration and effort Madonna applied towards the songwriting process this time around and delivered the authentic & personal album that we’ve been waiting for from her for a long time! This is the first time in years that I’m actually hoping she performs a lot of her new material on tour rather than a greatest hits show! Yes, it’s that good! A piece of advice… If you’re going to pick up a copy (Which I highly recommend you do – Even if you’re only a casual Madonna fan) make sure you buy the DELUXE BOX EDITION with the bonus tracks since they’re just as good if not better than some of the tracks on the standard addition.
It’s official… The deep house sound is here to stay and superstar DJ/Producer Barry Harris has just jumped on baord on the revival to deliver us this EPIC housalicious remix of Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)“!! What I love most about this mix is that it is not just another cookie cutter house track that everyone else is doing at the moment, but a hybrid mix – Meshing the worlds of deep house with his signature tribal sound! This is a must have for your Saturday night playlist!
Tonight Christina Aguilera appeared on The Tonight Showwith Jimmy Fallon and showcased her hidden talent that none of us every knew she had – Her uncanny ability to impersonate Britney Spears! Press play for the epic watch!!
New “it” couple, Zedd & Selena Gomez have just unleashed the product of their blooming romance… A hot EDM banger called “I Want You To Know“! I’ve been a longtime fan of both Selena and Zedd so this is a no-brainer… I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Check it out… And even if I didn’t, I would still support it out of sheer gratitude that Zedd is keeping Mrs. Gomez far away from Justin Bieber. Do I really need any other reason??
Stefani Germanotta took the stage at the 2015 Oscars and literally stole the entire show with her The Sound Of Musictribute medley. Hats off to an amazing performance. Here’s hoping that she lays off the gimmicks a little and gets back to using that amazing voice to put out some solid pop records once again. (Her recent recording studio stint with longtime production collaborator RedOne suggest she may just be doing just that!)
In this day and age, it seems that we have to turn to the bootlegs for all the amazing remixes for pop artists! This Spin Sista remix of Meghan Trainor “Lips Are Moving” is a perfect example of that! It’s a little bit of 90′s house, a little bit of break-beat and a whole lotta HOTNESS!! Get into it…
After her debut single “Heartbeat Song” failed to make an impact with listeners, Kelly Clarkson has quickly moved on to a sure-fire Sia penned hit titled “Invincible“. This mid-tempo ballad is the embodiment of pop-perfection and should do the trick to get Kelly back on top! Check it out…
Madonna has handpicked her next single off of her forthcoming Rebel Heart album and has chosen a ballad for her second go! “Ghosttown” has been a fan-favorite since its release so she made a lot of people happy with this choice for follow-up single… Personally I would have preferred another upbeat number before she turned to a ballad (“Hold Tight” being my first choice) but I definitely love “Ghosttown” so I won’t complain. M also has long-time collaborator Jonas Akerlund lined up to produce the video, so it’s safe to say we can expect an epic visual to accompany the release! Are you excited for Madonna’s next single choice?
A new Calvin Harris track called “5AM” has surfaced online and features a very Rihanna-esque vocal by Tinashe. Either this is a scrapped track for his own album or an intended demo for Rihanna’s forthcoming release! Either way, I’m really feeling it… Or maybe I’m not feeling it but wanted to find an excuse to post a picture of Calvin in his underwear. No really it’s a fun song! Take a listen…
So I’m really trying not to post too much about Madonna’s latest single “Living For Love” (too late right?) even though everytime I take a breath another amazing official, bootlegs, remix video or mashup of my own pops up! So instead of posting 20 news L4L related posts, this will be my “Living For Love” MEGAPOST which I will update as more blog-worthy version cross my path! Let’s get started…
Today M released her part 2 batch of official remixes which include 2 HOT new productions by Dirty Pop & StoneBridge! I absolutely LOVE both! StoneBridge delivered the house sound I really wanted to hear for this record while Dirty Pop’s part 2 is literally my favorite remix of all the officials! It’s an EDM meets circuit hybrid mix and just absolutely NAILS IT! Take a listen to both stellar productions!
Now on the mashup front… Well there’s my new one that I did with Matt Bailer of course (Yes that was a shameless plug) BUT have you seen/heard the Robin Skouteris mix which perfectly marries the song with Haddaway’s “What Is Love“? Perfection!!
Finally, have you guys seen the epic remix video set to the Offer Nissim and features clips from the music vid as well as Madonna’s Grammy performance?! We can all thank DJ DigiMark for producing this little gem! I absolutely LOVE IT and so will you! Just press play…
DJ DigiMark has just released his latest mashup remix that you really need to get into ASAP! His latest masterpiece is a mash of Prince Royce’s latest single “Stuck on a Feeling” which features a little assistance from Snoop Dog. I barely paid attention to the original version of this song but DigiMark’s Aude mash makes the song hard to ignore! Check out it and don’t forget to follow Mark on his new Hearthis.at account!
As if this Jack Ü featuring Kiesza song couldn’t get anymore badass… Missy Elliott had to jump on the track for a remix! I mean, c’mon!! I don’t even really describe it to convince you it’s good… How can you resist?
Dave Aude and Jessica Sutta’s fun dance single “I’m Gonna Get You” not only samples a 90′s dance classic (Bizarre Inc’s song with the same titles) but the just releases video also borrows heavily from the 90s as well! The throwback clip brings back some nostalgic memories of some of my favorite 90s acts! I’m having some C+C Music Factory and CeCe Penistan flashbacks! Check it out…