Madonna, “Devil Pray”

Surprising fans and music leakers alike, Madonna reasserted her absolute power over the music industry by immediately uploading six new songs from her upcoming album, Rebel Heart. After hackers uploaded six in-progress demos of the tracks, Madonna one-upped the key punchers with the completed tracks produced by the likes of Diplo (“Living for Love”), Kanye West (“Illuminati”), and Avicii (“Devil Pray”).

The latter, which once again recycles Madonna’s penchant for religious imagery, is one of the more assertive mixes off the album’s sampler tracks. True to Avicii’s trademark style, the cut is a mash-up of acoustic guitar-backed verses with a synth-hard chorus warning America’s youth about succumbing to the Devil through drug-fueled escapism and waywardness.

Nevertheless, “Devil Pray” is simply Madonna’s rehashed sensationalism with contemporary production that foreshadows the dance-oriented approach used in 2012’s MDNA and the superior, Confessions On A Dance Floor. While Madonna’s proven she still has the power to destroy hacking attempts, the 56-year old once again falls short of transcending her own monotonous “reinventions” for authentic innovation.

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