×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Single Review: Madonna’s ‘Medellin’

While a song that begins with a cha-cha count-in and the lyric “I took a pill” sounds like it should be a dancefloor rager, it’s actually the unexpectedly low-key return of Madonna, who today dropped “Medellin,” the first single from her forthcoming album “Madame X.” A collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma — himself a native of the country’s mountain city — and her longtime collaborator Mirwais, the song combines a sing-song melody with a reggaeton-inflected, shuffing beat; she and Maluma pair trade off flirty verses in Spanish throughout the song.

While she pronounces the city’s name correctly (“meh-deh-zheen”), to her discredit she needlessly references the city’s violent past — it was the home base of drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar — in the lyrics: “We built a cartel just for love/ Venus was hovering above us.” Visitors to the city will know that it’s one of the last things residents want to talk about (unless they’re leading one of the tourist-baiting “Narcoterrorism tours”).

The song stretches on for nearly five minutes, stretching out toward the end with an extended instrumental bit designed for some low-key dancing. While produced by Mirwais, the song recalls Madonna’s previous Latin-inflected work with producer/songwriter Diplo.

The rest of the lyrics are more impressionist and romantic, and the city is only mentioned incidentally. “I took a pill and had a dream/ I went back to my seventeenth year, allowed myself to be naive, to be someone I’ve never been,” she sings on the song’s opening verses. “I took a sip and had a dream/ And I woke up in Medellín.”

And while the song may not be the dancefloor-filling that fans might be hoping for, it’s a sultry and promising introduction to Madonna’s latest era.

Popular on Variety

Single Review: Madonna’s ‘Medellin’

More Music

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Rob Thomas Sammy Hagar

    Sammy Hagar Joins Rob Thomas for 'Smooth' Performance (Watch)

    Who do you call when your pal Carlos Santana has plans on a Friday night? If you’re Rob Thomas, you recruit another famous friend, rocker Sammy Hagar, who turned up to help the singer close out the latest show of his Chip Tooth Smile tour with a performance of “Smooth” at the Fox Performing Arts [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Takes Beatles' 'White Album'

    Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Gets Back to '68 by Touring Beatles' 'White Album'

    The 50th anniversary re-release of 1969’s “Abbey Road” may be just days away, but that doesn’t mean Beatles fans have been there and done that when it comes to celebrating ’68. Todd Rundgren, the Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz, Badfinger’s Joey Molland and several other name musicians of a certain vintage are teaming up to go out [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content