“Dark Ballet” Is Madonna’s Most Experimental Single Yet
From reggaeton bangers to dancehall-infused protest anthems, the singles (or buzz tracks) from Madame X have been nothing if not eclectic. And yet, they still don’t portend the demented grandeur of “Dark Ballet.” Co-produced with Mirwais, the song that was first performed as “Beautiful Game” at the 2018 Met Gala is a sprawling indictment of modern society. “It’s a beautiful plan, but I’m not concerned,” Madonna preaches on the chorus. “It’s a beautiful game that I never learned, people tell me to shut my mouth that I might get burned.”
But we all know that Madonna will never hold her tongue. Which leads to a brilliantly warped post-chorus that culminates in an extended piano solo and an even weirder bridge. “I will not denounce the things that I have said,” a heavily-distorted voice declares robotically. “I will not renounce my faith in my sweet Lord.” It’s a wild, thrilling mess that makes me even more excited for Madame X (if that is even possible). It’s time to accept that the Queen of Pop’s days of chasing hits are over. She’s now doing whatever the fuck she wants and it sounds amazing.