Single Review: Madonna – Dark Ballet

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Madonna drops last promo single before album release
Madame X is almost here! Madonna is dropping her new album on the 14th of June (one week from now!) and she gives us the last promo single to make the wait a bit more fun! She has given us almost half the album already by now! She returned with first single ‘Medellín’, dropped the tracks ‘I Rise’ and ‘Crave’ with Swae Lee and then performed ‘Future’ on the Eurovision stage. New track ‘Dark Ballet’ almost feels more like an interlude than a pop song.

The track starts out with Madonna’s heavily autotuned vocals over piano. After the first chorus (if you could call it that), a slow beat kicks in. Then around the second chorus, the track suddenly turns into ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ from Tchaikovksy’s The Nut Cracker. So there’s the ballet! The track ends with a spoken word verse, which she performed during her much talked about Eurovision performance as well. Madonna could not have come up with a less radiofriendly track as next promo single, but the choice for ‘Dark Ballet’ makes much more sense after watching the video.

Madonna announced that the song and video are inspired by Joan of Arc: “She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy. Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that”, she wrote in a statement. In the impressive video directed by Emmanuel Adjei we see rapper Mykki Blanco take on the role of Joan. Madonna only appears briefly behind a black veil. Blanco is seen mouthing some words to the song being locked up, while dancing in a circle of religious men (the video somewhat resembles her iconic ‘Like A Prayer’ visuals with loads of catholic imagery) and is eventually burned at the stake. For Madonna not to take centre stage, but to tell the strong message of the song through a queer person of colour is a powerful decision. These are easily her best visuals in years!

 

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