Can Max Martin save Madonna’s title as the queen of pop?

It's been 23 years since the music royalty topped the US singles charts. Can the Swedish producer, aka the melody doctor, fix it?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01:  Singer Madonna speaks on stage at the "Chime For Change: The Sound Of Change Live" Concert at Twickenham Stadium on June 1, 2013 in London, England. Chime For Change is a global campaign for girls' and women's empowerment founded by Gucci with a founding committee comprised of Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, Salma Hayek Pinault and Beyonce Knowles-Carter.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Gucci)
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Madonna is rewinding the years in the studio and on stage.

In addition to announcing a rare greatest hits world tour beginning in October, the pop star tweeted she was working with hitmaker Max Martin — one of the greatest producers of all time.

News of the collaboration has been welcomed by fans missing Madonna’s signature pop sound.

It also marks an important step in safeguarding her enduring status as the queen of pop.

Here is why the Madonna and Martin collaboration is exciting news.

1. Max Martin is a hit machine

The Swede is undoubtedly one of pop music’s most important producers and is behind some of the biggest hits from the last three decades.

He has written or co-written 25 Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers, from Britney Spears’s 1999 hit … Baby One More Time and 2010’s California Gurls with Katy Perry to Maroon 5's One More Night (2012) and 2021’s My Universe by Coldplay and BTS.

A former member of the '80s hard rock band It's Alive, Martin is the melody doctor stars seek when searching for chart success.

Taylor Swift enlisted Martin to executive produce the blockbuster album 1989, signalling her transition from country pop music stardom.

The Weeknd showed he was a superstar in the making with his first major hit, 2015's Can't Feel My Face, also co-written and produced by Martin.

With such a pedigree, it seems surprising Madonna is only now calling on his services. Then again, her choice of producers is often dictated by the artistic direction of the project.

With Madonna's next tour a greatest hits affair, Martin’s involvement is a further sign she wants to rediscover that magic of old. Cherish the thought.

2. Madonna seriously needs a major hit

The image of Madonna and Martin working in the studio is like a prayer answered for fans pining for a back-to-basics pop approach from the singer.

Ever since 1998's Ray of Light and 2000's Music, a pair of seminal albums ushering house and electronic music to the mainstream, Madonna's work took a more erratic turn.

Particular misfires included 2003's maudlin electro-folk stylings of American Life, in which the Material Girl mediated on American consumerism and 2019's Madame X, whose dabbling in Latin pop and world music was more admired than enjoyed.

Madonna’s last chart-topping single on the Billboard Hot 100 was in 2000 — a time before streaming services and TikTok arrived to redefine the music industry today. Ever since, a new legion of artists, from Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, have emerged vying for her pop throne.

With Martin by her side in the studio, Madonna can fend off these challengers for a while yet.

3. The new music will remind us of her impact

Madonna is looking back to go forward.

After four decades of pushing the envelope in all aspects of her artistry, from production to marketing, Madonna is content to look back at how far she has come.

With a multi-year campaign already underway marking 40 years in the industry — including the releases of "deluxe editions" of all 14 solo albums, in addition to live albums and compilations — we will be celebrating Madonna’s cultural impact for some time to come.

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Updated: April 05, 2023, 10:15 AM