Last December, Madonna digitally released six tracks from her forthcoming album, Rebel Heart: Living For Love, Devil Pray, Ghosttown, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, and Bitch I'm Madonna. A further three tracks were digitally released earlier this month: Joan Of Arc, Hold Tight, and Iconic. The full album will be available next month.
Rebel Heart will be released three years after Madonna's last studio album, MDNA. (That album inspired The MDNA Tour and the live album MDNA World Tour; Madonna also released the promo single Broken in 2012, and produced the short film secretprojectrevolution in 2013.)
The catchy Living For Love and Unapologetic Bitch are among the album's strongest tracks, as are the powerful Ghosttown and the autobiographical Rebel Heart. The least successful tracks are those featuring other artists: Nicki Minaj reappears on Bitch I'm Madonna, and Iconic opens with convicted rapist Mike Tyson. (Curiously, the album does not include any liner notes; guest vocalists are credited, though producers and other collaborators are not listed.)
The self-referential Bitch I'm Madonna echoes the final line of MDNA's I Don't Give A ("There's only one queen, and that's Madonna. Bitch!"). S.E.X. clearly evokes the infamous 1992 book Sex, though it feels too much like self-parody. Veni Vidi Vici's lyrics are a collage of titles from previous Madonna tracks ("I expressed myself, came like a virgin down the aisle..."). Holy Water, like 1993's Deeper & Deeper, quotes several lines from Vogue ("Ladies with an attitude...").
Rebel Heart will be available in three versions, each with a different cover: the 'standard' edition (featuring Madonna wearing a red sweater), the 'deluxe' edition (featuring Madonna's face bound with chord), and the 'super deluxe' edition (featuring a red-tinted cover). The standard version contains fourteen tracks: Living For Love, Devil Pray, Ghosttown, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati, Bitch I'm Madonna, Hold Tight, Joan Of Arc, Iconic, HeartBreakCity, Body Shop, Holy Water, Inside Out, and Wash All Over Me. (Strangely, this version doesn't include the title track, Rebel Heart.) The standard version is also available in a censored 'clean' edition.
The deluxe version adds five more tracks to the original fourteen: Best Night, Veni Vedi Vici, S.E.X., Messiah, and Rebel Heart. (This is the version released on vinyl.) The super deluxe version contains the original fourteen tracks, the five deluxe tracks, and a further four tracks: Beautiful Scars, Borrowed Time, Addicted, and Graffiti Heart. A bonus track, Auto-Tune Baby, is available in Germany.