Joseph Eid’s new single “Listening to Madonna”
2019, by all accounts, has been a year of rampant overindulgence in western pop music, but there have been a handful of artists, Joseph Eid among them, who have been intent on taking a different route with their own music. Eid’s new single, “Listening to Madonna,” is a great example of what I’m talking about – where his pop and folk brethren are seeking to recycle the excessive melodies of a bygone era in music, Eid’s “Listening to Madonna” applies a minimalistic song structure to a textured beat that rocks a little harder than most tracks of its kind ever could. It’s a concept piece if I’ve ever heard one, but more significantly, it’s a step in the right direction for an ever-evolving performer that has become one of the underground’s most reliable sources of eroticized rhythm.
Eid’s vocal is the most tender element in this song, and it’s efficiently mixed between the strings and the lush bassline that provides some stability for the drums. There’s not a lot of luster in the percussion until we get deeper into the track, but once the chorus’ heart-stopping hook gets into motion, it falls in line with the grandiosity of the other parts in “Listening to Madonna” seamlessly. The bass has a physicality to it that doesn’t press to hard against the sleek serenade acting as the sonic linchpin here, but it’s got the drive that a rhythm of this variety requires in making the chill-factor last for as long as the song does.
The piano’s divinely melodic surge at the 3:45 mark is utterly haunting and perfectly timed out with the preeminent climax of the music video for “Listening to Madonna.” When I first sat down to give my full attention to this song, and its video, I couldn’t help but go back to this particular portion again and again, if for no other reason than to enjoy the underlying tension that the ascent affords listeners in this stage of the track. It takes a special sort of single to get that kind of a reaction out of me, but considering the caliber of content that Joseph Eid has built his good name on in the last nine years, I frankly should have expected to encounter as much. His moniker carries some real weight in today’s international pop music scene, and I can’t really see that changing in the wake of this most recent hit.
“Listening to Madonna” is a fierce, fluidly constructed and brilliantly brooding single from Joseph Eid that his most loyal of fans will be more than happy to hear this season. You really can’t go wrong with Eid’s work if you live for modern folk-rock with a pop sensibility, but it’s worth pointing out that the style he’s showing off in this new song is a bit different than what you would find in his debut album, Human. He’s experimenting with the depth of his emotionality as a composer here, and though it’s a little early to tell for sure, I think that he’s taking more to the pop side of his sound in this current chapter of his career. Eid’s journey is nowhere near done, but in this moment, he’s on top of the world and making a quality acoustic pop that no one else is.