Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Dua Lipa ft. Madonna and Missy Elliott – Levitating (The Blessed Madonna Remix)

A blessing, or a bless-this-mess? We can’t decide…


Will Adams: Club Future Nostalgia‘s endearing messiness is a nice counterpart to its parent album’s immaculate sheen, and while this rework of “Levitating” isn’t its most exciting offering, it’s the best summary of the project. The Blessed Madonna strips back the original’s lush disco for a skeletal electro groove, and the high profile guest stars — The Actual Madonna, sounding much better than par, and Missy Elliott sounding… par — add that collaborative mixtape flair. For all of pop music’s nostalgia for the sounds of the past — ’80s synthpop; early ’00s R&B — it’s refreshing to hear something that really commits to the homage.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The original “Levitating” is an [8]: funky, carefree, flirtatious fun. This remix is the opposite. The beat feels sinister, the pacing of the hook is claustrophobic, Dua Lipa sounds like she’s taking herself too seriously, and Madonna sounds like she’s trying way top hard to sound cool, as opposed to, I don’t know, actually enjoying herself? Missy Elliott’s verse is great, but the overall track is still vastly inferior to the original.

Katherine St Asaph: What a difference a remake makes! The original is a bore: plodding, sanitized disco with a soupy mix and a sense of bit-rot, like the instrumental spent too long on DNCE’s hard drive. The Blessed Madonna’s version ups the tempo, charges the vocal with impatience, and supercharges the mix with menace; it’s like a 6 p.m. corporate reception with a one-drink cash bar versus the kind of unlit pit of sleaze and bad decisions one might stumble into at 1 a.m. (It’s also like Rihanna’s “Jump,” which is never bad.) The original has an obnoxious faux-rap; this has Missy, whispering, salivating, basically operating at full horny-on-main. The original doesn’t have Madonna, and this does — not to much improvement, but certainly no harm. The remix does ultimately squander that intro, levitating away from any tension or build, but it’s still so obviously an improvement I have no idea how anyone finds it worse, let alone sends death threats over it. Is it just that it features The Olds?

Thomas Inskeep: The Blessed Madonna gives “Levitating” a Moroder-esque throb, tossing in a few Daft Punk touches, while making Dua Lipa’s vocal sound a bit more urgent. Madonna adds nothing, and for the most part neither does Missy; I can only assume they’re here for name value, but how much do they really offer in 2020? This is Lipa and the Blessed Madonna’s show, and they make a pretty good one.

Alfred Soto: For the sake of a remix I’m okeedokee with scratching off the brash colors of Dua Lipa’s best single to date, but not for the sake of a remake/remodel that plays like the equivalent of a Zoom happy hour: three people too delighted by the novelty terrified of stepping on one another’s lines and hoping the WiFi goes out, like, now. 

Tobi Tella: Like introducing your friends from different social circles: a great idea on paper, but awkward in practice. I’m not opposed to a seedy ’80s dark pop retooling, but it’s impossible to erase the original’s joy and spirit from your mind when listening to this plod with surprisingly few production ideas. Madonna’s vocal doesn’t really add anything. Missy slots in fine and has some smirk-worthy punchlines, but it’s hard to feel passionate about this when it clearly lacks so much punch.

Leah Isobel: This is a less-vivid cousin to the dance music I heard while playing SSX 3 as a tot. As such, I would definitely shake my hair around if this played at the club, but that has more to do with the strength of Dua’s original melody than the new elements the remix brings — Madonna (the un-blessed one) in particular is just here as a presence, not an equal partner. I do love her hard “R”s, though.

Juana Giaimo: It’s funny because music streaming is all about singles, but I can’t think of many that were truly meaningful to society in 2020. It seems to me that these days, music is also social distancing. This remix of “Levitating” is a great example — I mean, Dua Lipa, Madonna and Missy Elliott on one track! This is supposed to be huge and unique!! And still, I play the song, I think it’s alright, and that’s it. We’re getting too used to features, and “Levitating” is a great combination of names, but while Madonna and Missy Elliott both capture the fun and sensual excitement of the song, there seems to be no conversation with Dua Lipa. In the chorus, her voice is mixed too low; all I can hear is Madonna with some backing vocals that could be by anyone. I then listen to the original album track, slower with more disco vibes, where Dua Lipa’s voice can develop with comfort, and all I can think is: Why is the remix so fast? Who wants to frantically dance these days? Who is rushing to a party? The original track has the right amount of energy to make cleaning more fun, but the remix sounds completely disconnected from society. 

Reader average: [0.75] (12 votes)

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3 Responses to “Dua Lipa ft. Madonna and Missy Elliott – Levitating (The Blessed Madonna Remix)”

  1. I don’t know, it’s not bad, but the original absolutely deserved to be a single. It was the best track on FN other than Physical (which, by extension, deserved to do way better stateside than it did)

  2. maybe I gave it an 8 because I only had Cool Boarders 2001

  3. After I wrote this, I thought I should change my rating to a 6 but I forgot :(

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