Madonna is currently at work on a new album, which is expected to be unleashed some time in 2010. She has stayed relevant in the music business by constantly reinventing herself, taking in new genres and musical experiments and making them her own. She is meticulous about how she selects collaborators, because they inform the sound of the albums as much at Madge herself.
One of the confirmed producers working on the still-unnamed work is Brendan O'Brien, who made a name for himself sitting behind the boards for Pearl Jam and has also helmed productions for Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, AC/DC and Aerosmith. Does that mean that the singer behind "Like a Prayer," "Ray of Light" and "Hung Up" is going to dive deep into the rock world and make a guitar-based album?
It's a possibility, though reports also have A-Trak (a Kanye West collaborator) and David Guetta (of "Sexy Chick" fame) working on the album as well, which suggests that it's a combination of roots rock, futuristic hip-hop and whatever Akon makes. With that in mind, here are six directions Madonna could go in.
Madonna has theater experience (she famously lobbied hard to play Eva Peron in the film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Evita") but has never really constructed an album based on a narrative (and the disastrous American Life shouldn't count). She could bring in Green Day producer Rob Cavallo to beef up her rock chops and flesh out her own version of American Idiot.
Electro-Rap Posse Album
If A-Trak is on board, she should expand her horizons and invite a cavalcade of MCs to throw down with her on a full-on rap album. We're certain that Lupe Fiasco, Dizzee Rascal, Mos Def, Rhymefest and Kanye would all probably be game to trade verses with Madonna, who is not necessarily a stranger to spitting. Remember her verse on "American Life"?
Though she's lorded over some tough dance beats in the past, truly hard music has never been her forte and remains an uncharted territory for the star. O'Brien has produced music for metallers like Mastodon and Incubus, so he's ready, willing and able to crank Madonna's sound up to 11 and really let her rip.
Madonna isn't above aping a current star, and with Taylor Swift cranking out huge hits in big numbers, why wouldn't she attempt to add country to her repertoire? O'Brien has produced twangy records for Springsteen and Pete Droge, and Madonna herself has toyed with country and dance sounds for "Don't Tell Me."
Maybe all these producers are just there to throw us off the scent, and her plan is to actually crank out an even deeper-diving disco record. After all, her recent single "Celebration" was well-received, and the throwback sounds on 2008's Hard Candy wowed both the dance and pop worlds. Perhaps she just wants to make ABBA tunes for the rest of her career (which wouldn't be such a bad thing, really).
No Limit Revival
She could fire everybody, recruit Master P's Beats by the Pound crew and shout along to some late-'90s New Orleans bounce. That probably won't happen, but Silkk the Shocker could use the work.