Before she released Ray of Light in 1998, Madonna revealed she had developed an interest in Kabbalah, a mystical sect of Judaism. The news was greeted with skepticism by some who had watched the business-savvy pop star embrace and discard materialism, eroticism and high culture. But Madonna's spiritual awakening seems to be for real.
She's taken to wearing a Jewish star and has encouraged her husband, Guy Ritchie, to explore the religion's teachings. And she recently told talk show host Larry King that she wanted to give her next album, due in April, a Hebrew name. At the time she was favoring Ein Sof, which means endlessness. Madonna's publicist said the album title is still undetermined and that there's a good chance it won't be in Hebrew.
The record is being co-produced by Madonna with Mirwais Ahmadzai, who manned the boards for 2000's Music and "Die Another Day," the lead track for the recent James Bond film of the same name. The first single will be "American Life," and the album may also contain a song co-written by Guy Sigsworth, Jem and Jacques Lu Cont (a.k.a. Les Rythmes Digitales), who was Madonna's musical director and keyboardist during the Drowned World Tour.
Songs on the record will feature electronic instrumentation, but the vibe is "very, very different" from anything Madonna has released, the publicist said.
Photographer Craig McDean has conducted a shoot for the album art, but Madonna hasn't decided whether to use the images. The publicist could not reveal additional track titles, but said a video for "American Life" will not be shot by Jonas Akerlund, contrary to a report on Madonna's Web site.