The queen is back.
Madonna announced Sunday her long-awaited return to pop music, unveiling a mysterious Instagram video in which she confirmed Madame X as the name of her new album.
The stylized clip sees Madonna using a typewriter while wearing elaborate costumes as she takes on Madame X‘s namesake persona, whom she describes as “a secret agent traveling around the world, changing identity, fighting for freedom, and bringing light to dark places.”
A piano-driven song plays over the video, featuring the lyrics: “The thing that hurt the most was that I wasn’t lost.”
Madonna goes on to lay out the character’s various identities, noting the persona embodies “a dancer, a professor, a head of state, a housekeeper, an equestrian, a prisoner, a student, a mother, a child, a teacher, a nun, a singer, a saint, a whore,” and “a spy in the house of love” before proclaiming herself to be Madame X.
In a 2018 interview with Vogue Italia, the 60-year-old revealed her new music was inspired by Portugal, where she lived throughout the process of its creation.
“I’ve just met lots of really amazing musicians, and I’ve ended up working with a lot of these musicians on my new record, so Lisbon has influenced my music and my work. How could it not? I don’t see how I could have gone through that year without being informed by all this input of culture,” she told the publication. “It’s also such a nice antidote to what’s going on in the music business now where everything’s so formulaic, and every song has 20 guest artists on it, and everyone sounds the same. Something’s gotta give.”
Madonna previously teased new music during her 2018 performance at the Met Gala, during which she sang haunting renditions of classics “Like a Prayer” and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 song “Hallelujah” before grooving through an unreleased tune allegedly titled “Beautiful Game.”
The pop icon’s forthcoming studio set will mark Madonna’s first full-length LP since the release of her 2015 album Rebel Heart, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 ahead of an accompanying world tour that grossed nearly $170 million globally.
Since her 1983 debut, Madonna has released 13 standalone albums on top of soundtrack compilations, remix sets, and single collections. Her last official single in the United States, “Bitch I’m Madonna,” reached No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its accompanying music video — featuring cameos by Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Rita Ora, and more — has since amassed nearly 300 million views on YouTube.
Watch Madonna’s Madame X teaser above.