While the Sony Hacking scandal that derailed, then re-railed the theatrical release of The Interview was the talk of Hollywood and the media at large, there was another multi-million dollar hack that went mostly unnoticed by the mainstream press.
Of course the political repercussions between the U.S. and North Korea made the Interview hack much more serious and garnered the press attention. However, the other big hack of the month was committed against the queen of pop (now and forever) herself. Yes, Madonna saw several tracks from her thirteenth studio album - REBEL HEART - slated for March 2015, released on various internet sites. At a time when sales for all music is waning, and the music buying public's attention span is shorter than ever, having several tracks (final versions - or even bogus) released months before the actual drop date could severely affect sales during the critical first weeks of release.
Madonna was not happy. In fact, according to her social media accounts she was hurt. Her facebook and Instagram pages were full of messages expressing her anger and disappointment at the fact that she would be betrayed by people she trusted. Adding insult to injury, several photos of Madonna were also released from several shoots and campaigns that were never approved by M.
So - what's a media savvy pop diva to do? Release the finished tracks early of course - to those who pre-order the album on iTunes - of course!
Hacking aside, the new material Madonna released does not paint the picture of a happy gal. This billionaire, single mother of 4 seems to have as much trouble finding a stand up guy to date as anyone - probably more. Of course songs are an expression of an artist - but just one expression. It's a bit like reading tea leaves trying to know what's really coming from an artists' day to day life. With Madonna, I think it usually is.
Unapologetic Bitch starts with a reggae / ska beat and builds into a laid back dance, rap track that details a woman who has kicked her guy to the curb, and she is happy to be free. It's a bit mean spirited, but an anthem of sorts for women to stand up for themselves.
Living for Love also has an uplifting beat and message, but details yet another broken heart. Madonna's message is clear - Feminism is the future, and rebels do it better!
Ghosttown is a haunting, beautiful ballad. For me, this is the strongest song of the six released. The vocals, the arrangement, and the lyrics.. stunning. While the revenge seeking, party anthem songs are fun and enjoyable - it's the deeper subject matter songs like Ghosttown and Illuminati that stand out with more mature, sophisticated ideas..
Here's hoping #RebelHeart gets the approval of millions of fans when it is released in full in March. Also let's hope Madonna can find Mr. Right soon. To her potential suitors - Don't make her angry - is that so difficult? Click REBEL-HEART to purchase on iTunes.