Album: Madame X (Due in stores June 14th)
The weekly rollout of Madame X singles continues as Madonna drops her third with a sleek and sexy trap-dusted pop gem, “Crave,” featuring Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee.
Produced by Billboard (“Ghosttown”) and frequent Kanye collaborator Mike Dean, and co-written by Madonna, Lee and American songwriter/rapper Starrah, “Crave” begins with a slightly processed acoustic guitar and then slowly ripples into a fluttering, sultry, mid-tempo love song that finds Madonna hungering for her far-away beau, declaring “You’re the one I crave / My cravings get dangerous.”
Lee fuels her fire with sexual innuendo (“You’re down to ride, you ride me like a wave”), which only brings them closer together as the song progresses. Their beautifully-paired vocals dance around each other until Madonna lets Lee end the song with a warning: “It’s on the line, girl, you’re risking everything.”
“Crave” is a satisfying, repeatable listen, and of the three singles released so far from the upcoming Madame X (due June 14th), it’s by far the most radio-friendly offering. Madonna sounds mature, vulnerable and emotionally present—vocal characteristics that were, for the most part, missing in her last three albums.
In a recent Billboard interview backstage at the BBMA’s (which you really need to watch in its entirety because she’s having a great time), Madonna said she wanted to duet with Lee on her upcoming fourteenth studio album because, “I think he’s a great writer, a great singer and he’s so cute.”
Yes, people, in the Madame X era, “cute” is important (Hello, Maluma!) and the playful, flirty, and sonically curious Madonna is back.
[UPDATE 5/22/19: Madonna has unveiled the accompanying video for “Crave,” which you can enjoy below.]