Metro Weekly

Madonna And Smith Praise Being ‘Vulgar’ On New Single

"Vulgar" doesn't live up to what the two artists have delivered before, but it's still fun to hear them together on a track.

The cover of Madonna and Sam Smith's new single "Vulgar." (
The cover of Madonna and Sam Smith’s new single “Vulgar.” (

Madonna and Sam Smith have joined forces to commemorate Pride Month with a captivating collaboration that is bound to electrify clubs and bars, becoming the momentary soundtrack for the LGBTQ community’s exuberant celebrations…even if it’s not all many hoped it would be.

The highly-anticipated single, titled “Vulgar,” showcases the audacity that these two icons are renowned for. The track is built upon a pulsating electronic dance sound, though it falls short of compelling listeners to hit the dance floor. While “Vulgar” is undeniably a solid offering, it fails to rank among the most remarkable compositions from either artist’s repertoire. Considering the megawatt talent involved, it’s a bit disappointing, but there’s still some fun to be had here.

Thematically, “Vulgar” explores the concept of embracing a provocative demeanor, as both Madonna and Sam Smith know something about. Sadly though, the song does not deliver a profound message nor possess the infectious catchiness that typically compels listeners to sing along. Of the two verses, Madonna’s stands out as more intriguing and playful, featuring lines such as “Boy, get down on your knees” and “So watch what you say or I’ll split your banana.” Additionally, Madonna cleverly references her musical history with the nostalgic line, “Let’s get into the groove.”

The chorus consists of the Grammy-winning duo repeatedly chanting the word “Vulgar,” seemingly eschewing the conventional structure found in mainstream pop songs. At one point, they even proclaim, “Vulgar will make you dance, don’t need a chorus.” Maybe the tune would have been better served by one.

Where “Vulgar” truly shines is in its production. This collaboration was in the capable hands of in-demand hitmakers such as Ilya, Cirkut, Omer Fedi, Ryan Tedder, and Smith themselves. The production team took bold risks with the sonic backdrop, subtly alluding to ballroom culture without being overtly explicit. They inject a dark and edgy energy into an otherwise satisfactory composition, breathing new life into the somewhat listless and toothless words. The music is more vulgar than the lyrics, and it’s ultimately what saves this cut.

Currently, “Vulgar” stands alone as a standalone single, unattached to any forthcoming album, and the future of this tune remains uncertain. It is possible that Smith may choose to re-release their most recent album, Gloria, as a deluxe edition featuring this new collaboration. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be surprising if Madonna has something up her sleeve. Given Madonna’s penchant for surprises, the latter possibility cannot be discounted, especially as she’s about to head out on tour.

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