2019 is the year of global pop, so it was only a matter of time until the universe gave us the next label-engineered collab between a Latino superstar and an Anglo legacy act. Enter Madonna and Maluma’s “Medellín,” a cha-cha-inspired, dembow-dipped pop odyssey about taking a trip to la Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera.
The two superstars were spotted together back in August 2018 after they met at the MTV VMAs. Today, Madonna announced her first album in four years, which features “Medellín” and another unfortunately titled Maluma collaboration called “Bitch I’m Loca.” OK then.
While the link-up is certainly a big move for the Colombian reggaetonero and pop superstar, the song ends up falling flat. Maluma and Madonna trade bilingual verses over a pop-reggaeton beat and stereotypical ad-libs (“ay ay ays” and “cha cha chas” abound). There’s even a cringeworthy, hackneyed reference to Medellín’s history of narcotrafficking (“We built a cartel just for love”). Plus, Maluma does his best phone sex operator impression in breathy, echoed ad-libs. Madonna has built a career out of pop experimentation and trying on different musical styles, so it’s no surprise she’d try to make her mark on the world of reggaeton or chase a trend. But unfortunately, the collaboration feels like a missed opportunity to create something free of pandering, especially in this increasingly globalized landscape of pop music.
Reactions to the song have been mixed, but you can decide for yourself.
Stream the track and check out tweets below: