Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Madonna: Madame X [Interscope, 2019]
However much reviewers-come-lately mock the ones about forswearing dope and feeling the oppressed, these are well-intended ideas executed with the appropriate brio and calm, respectively. The nadirs are a "far left"/"far right" hedge and an over-cautious bid for divine mercy, both sequestered off on the "deluxe" version as a boon to the dollarwise consumer. Depending on your age, she's either your colorful Aunt Madge or a long-lost pal you ran into at a screening of Little Woods. For all of this century she's been a pro too old to conjure up the kind of sure shots that made The Immaculate Collection so no-fail yet too proud to sign off on two-tier albums like, for instance, 1986's True Blue, which begins with two songs far sharper than anything here but is back-ended by three out of five duller than any of the 13 brand-new non-deluxes. If you think Aunt Madge has become a bore, that's your petty right. If you remain fond of her, pour yourself a nice glass of chablis and listen. A-