It's a pop emergency - Madonna is in the studio with Max Martin working on new music.
That's right, the Queen of Pop is officially collaborating with the man who has helped usher in career-defining hits for the likes of Taylor Swift (Shake It Off), Ariana Grande (Problem), Katy Perry (Teenage Dream) and so many, many more.
Taking to Twitter last night, Madonna posted a picture of her seemingly writing lyrics in the studio with Martin - a very rare feat in itself, since the svengali is notoriously publicity shy.
"When in doubt, go to work," Madonna wrote accompanying the image. "Nothing shuts down the noise or the naysayers more than being in the creative process."
When in Doubt go to Work ……….. Nothing shuts Down the Noise or the Naysayers More then being in the Creative Process !! ✍️🎼 🎧🎤🤍 #maxmartin pic.twitter.com/CoFDDDzd0w— Madonna (@Madonna) March 20, 2023
MORE: Madonna's enviable Official Charts history in full
If that news hasn't sent your stomach doing backflips, then let us explain why this is so important. Because it is really important.
Max Martin is a Swedish super-producer whose work now stretches across more than three decades of pop hits. He's proved extremely versatile and cunning in terms of reacting to pop trends; making his name in the late 90s with super-charged hits for the likes of Britney (...Baby One More Time) and the Backstreet Boys (I Want It That Way), he famously stopped working for a few years when the fad of teen pop idols and boybands was less en vogue, re-emerging in the mid-00s, gifting raucous pop rock hits that re-ignited Kelly Clarkson's career (Since U Been Gone) and then changed tack again, creating opulent electronic pop with his two most important muses of the 2010s, Katy Perry (Teenage Dream) and Taylor Swift (1989, reputation).
Since his 2010s heyday, Max has kept quite a low profile for the last few years, excusing his work with The Weeknd (Blinding Lights, probably the most successful and influential single of the last five years) and Coldplay (he executive produced their latest album, Music of the Spheres), he's mostly focused on launching a jukebox musical based on his many hits, & Juliet, which has just transferred to Broadway.
Madonna is just the latest in a line of pop girls who have never quote-unquote 'needed' Max, but have chosen to work with him later in their careers - Lady Gaga is another example, famously shying away from big producer collaborations to instead curate her own intimate team. Gaga joined forces with Max for the first time on Stupid Love, the lead single from Chromatica, which peaked at Number 5 on the Official Singles Chart.
Much like Gaga, Madonna always seems to work best when her creative talent is filtered through one main producer partner (think RedOne or BloodPop for Gaga, and Madonna's highly influential work with Patrick Leonard in the 80s or with William Orbit on Ray of Light).
Where some of her most recent albums have been muddied sonically by too many cooks in the pot, this could signify that joining forces with Max and his WolfCousins cohort - which includes the likes of Shellback, Savan Kotecha and Mattman & Robin - represents a more streamlined interpretation of her pop vision. 1989 and reputation, for example, are both pop records bursting with ideas and big themes, but run with the efficiency of a Swiss (or in the case, Swedish) watch.
Whether Madge is working with Max on material to drop just in time for her forthcoming Celebration Tour later this year (it would make sense, wouldn't it?) or whether Madonna will hold back any bangers for her next album, it's thrilling and actually very exciting to see the woman who is, let's face it, probably the best pop star of all time, finally working with modern pop's defining hitmaker.
Keep in mind - Madonna may be the female solo artist with the most Number 1s in the history of the Official Chart (13 in total), but she hasn't had a Top 10 single in this country since Celebration in 2009. She doesn't, and has never, needed to prove anything to anyone, but if she's in the right head space to make proper pop music again...she could do a lot worse than taking Max Martin along for the ride.
Let's see what magic they can make together. This could be her Blinding Lights. Or her Style. Or her Into You. Or...