“I was doing fine in ’89,” sings Joseph Eid in the first few bars of his latest single, the folk/rock fire-starter “Listening to Madonna,” and despite the blushing beats framing this opening verse, it’s Eid’s voice that has the attention of everyone within earshot of the song. The critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter is wearing his heart on his sleeve with us in “Listening to Madonna,” opening up and digging deep with his lyrical lashings, and while I’ve come to expect a lot out of this man’s music, he truly raises the bar for himself with this brand new single.
Eid is pretty blunt with us in his words here, perhaps even a bit more so than he has been in the past. There are no enigmas, no postmodernist poetry, nor any sonic smokescreens to come between us and the narrative in “Listening to Madonna.” What caught my attention, even beyond this, was his confidence amidst this new shade of intimacy in his lyricism. He doesn’t sound even slightly hesitant in this track, and in the music video he comes across as downright swaggering in his starring performance. He visually sets himself up as the happy-go-lucky pop singer, while the instrumental elements are much folkier when we strip them down to bare nuts and bolts.
The rhythm is as infectious a component as Eid’s velvety vocal is in this track, and there’s a case to be made that the patterned drumbeat in the chorus steals the lion’s share of the spotlight away from our lead singer – if only for a moment. “Listening to Madonna” is a very danceable song, and much like the characters who make up the supporting cast of the music video, its swaying percussion is irresistible when it’s firing on all cylinders. I can definitely see this single getting a club remix and appealing to an even larger audience, but as it currently stands it’s nonetheless a supersized, groove-powered pop song.
“Listening to Madonna” has the right framework to be a really awesome live number, and possibly even a staple of Joseph Eid’s setlist moving forward. Its bones are flexible enough to sustain for a live jam, and it’s literally jam-packed with as many tempo-forced thrills as one would normally experience on an amusement park rollercoaster, which isn’t something that I’ve been able to say for the majority of material that his closest rivals have been producing as of late. Eid’s grown so much as a songwriter in the last half-decade, and his hard work is on full display for the world to hear in this song.
Don’t let the title of this track fool you – Joseph Eid’s latest single isn’t an homage to the queen of 80’s pop, nor does it borrow from the past in hopes or recreating a foregone trend today, in the present. This is Eid at his most unfiltered and real lyrically, and I think that “Listening to Madonna” is one of the few indie pop songs of the summer that music fans, both casual and serious alike, will be able to appreciate. I like where he’s going with his career right now, and after you get a taste of this inspiring dance track, I think you’ll be inclined to agree with me.