Madonna is back. It’s been four years since the Queen of Pop has released a new single, and Wednesday she dropped “Medellín” from her 14th studio album, Madame X. Colombian urban artist Maluma, who hails from Medellín, is featured on the trippy track.
“I took a pill and had a dream,” sings Madonna in the first verse. Maluma chimes in, in a whisper, “Yo también.” The remainder of the verse on the dance-pop-meets-island track hints at a hallucinatory reflection of a recent trip: “I went back to my 17 year / Allowed myself to be naïve / To be someone I’ve never been / I took a sip and had a dream / And I woke up in Medellín / The sun was caressing my skin / Another me could now begin.”
To add to the theme, “Medellín” opens with Madonna giving a very ASMR-esque vibe, whispering, “1, 2, cha-cha-cha,” which she does again midway through the song, culminating with “slow down papi.” Though different in several ways, “Medellín” is similar to her 1986 hit “La Isla Bonita.”
The 60-year-old star and 25-year-old artist met at the 2018 MTV VMAs last summer and soon after connected to collaborate.
“Madonna and I are cooking there together, making some beautiful songs. I’m very excited,” Maluma told Forbes . “That’s a huge step for my culture, for Latin culture, it’s very, very big.”
He took to Instagram, sharing a video of himself crying inside a car after the song’s release. “Impossible to contain my tears and emotions after hearing this,” he shared. “You don’t know the happiness and what this represents in my life. It’s good to dream… I told you!”
The song definitely has the catchiness to reach new listeners and introduce Maluma to an entirely new audience. With Latin music becoming a more visible category, there’s also great concern in maintaining its authenticity and steering clear of stereotypical depictions when placed in new hands. While some have already added “Medellín” to their playlist, others are calling out the controversial line, “We built a cartel just for love.” Whether Madonna intended to romanticize the violent drug trade or did it for shock value, she’s raised a few eyebrows.
On Twitter, Remezcla’s Music Editor Isabelia Herrera asked a valid question, “who OK’d this?”
note that the song is called MEDELLIN and has a line about cartels.
— Isabelia Herrera (@jabladoraaa) April 17, 2019
Madame X will drop on June 14.