Crave (song)

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Madonna and Swae Lee - Crave.png
Single by Madonna and Swae Lee
from the album Madame X
ReleasedMay 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Madonna singles chronology
Swae Lee singles chronology
Music video
"Crave" on YouTube

"Crave" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna and American rapper Swae Lee. It was released on May 10, 2019, as the second single from Madonna's fourteenth studio album Madame X. It was written by Madonna, Lee, and Starrah, and was produced by Madonna, Billboard, and Mike Dean.[1]


Madonna stated in an interview backstage at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards that it was one of the first songs she wrote for the album and that the song is about "desire and longing" and she wanted to sing with a man on the track.[2] On working with Swae Lee, Madonna said: "He's really talented...I think he's a great writer, a great singer and he's so cute. Cute's important."[3]


"Crave" is a midtempo pop and trap ballad featuring acoustic guitar, hand-clap beat, and Madonna's plaintive vocals.[4][5][6][7] On a radio interview with Mario Lopez she described the song as "angst-driven" and "chasing after [someone who is] running away".[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone called the song a "sultry pop number about hungering for another person".[4] NME's El Hunt compared it to Lisbon’s traditional Fado music, calling it a "breezy, low-key moment which nods vaguely back towards the heartbreak of her 1989 album Like a Prayer, and yet sounds nothing like it".[9] Writing for Idolator, Mike Wass felt it was "the third and (easily) most commercial cut from Madame X [...] a sexy, mid-tempo groove, it evokes the Hard Candy era, but the tone here is mellower and more romantic", ultimately concluding that "if radio didn’t ignore Madonna’s entire existence, it would sound perfect on pop and rhythmic formats".[10]

According to Variety's Jeremy Helligar, "the white-girl hip-hop of 'Crave' wouldn’t sound out of place on Ariana Grande’s latest album".[11] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine opined that "when Madonna isn’t singing with what sounds like a mouthful of gumballs [on 'Crave'], the rawness of her voice amplifies the nakedness of her lyrics".[12] Chris DeVille from Stereogum deemed it "a misty ballad that makes Madonna emoting over trap drum programming sound like the most natural thing in the world".[13] From Gay Star News, Jamie Tabberer was more critical; "featuring twangy guitars and gentle rap from Swae Lee, this languid ode to obsessive love [...] is too indistinct, and the delivery is wishy-washy".[14] Similarly, Rich Juzwiak from Pitchfork described the song as "a naked attempt to score Madonna her own 'We Belong Together'”, denouncing her delivery as being "flat as denial".[15]

Chart performance[edit]

The song achieved her highest debut on the Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in the United States, launching at number 19 on the June 8-dated tally. It became her 37th entry on the chart and her second appearance for this decade after "Ghosttown" in 2015, from her thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart.[16] The next week, the song climbed to number 15, becoming the "most added" song of the week.[17] It then climbed to its current peak of 12, becoming Madonna's largest hit on the AC chart since "Frozen" in 1998.[18] The song also reached a peak of 34 on the Billboard's Adult Pop Songs chart in the US, becoming her 21st entry on the chart and her largest hit there since "Give Me All Your Luvin'" in 2012.[19]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Crave" is directed by Nuno Xico and premiered on May 22, 2019.[5]

It begins with haunting lines spoken by Madonna about her waiting for an unreciprocating lover, a feeling which she describes as "dangerous." It takes place in an empty New York City building. Throughout the video Madonna sends love notes to Swae Lee via carrier pigeons, ending with the pair releasing more pigeons on the rooftop, and finally reaching out to each other's hands surged with electricity, reminiscent of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam.

Track listing[edit]

1."Crave" (with Swae Lee)3:21


Chart (2019) Peak
China Airplay (Billboard China)[20] 22
France Downloads (SNEP)[21] 23
Hungary (Single Top 40)[22] 38
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[23] 64
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 19
UK Downloads (Official Charts Company)[25] 49
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[26] 12
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[27] 34

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Various[28] May 10, 2019 Interscope Records
United States[29] May 20, 2019 Hot/Modern/AC radio


  1. ^ a b "Crave (with Swae Lee) by Madonna". Spotify. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Schiller, Rebecca. "Madonna Talks Preparing For BBMAs Performance With Maluma & New Album 'Madame X'". Billboard.
  3. ^ Duffey, Connor (May 10, 2019). "Madonna – 'Crave' (Feat. Swae Lee)". Stereogum. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Zemler, Emily (May 10, 2019). "Hear Madonna And Swae Lee Team Up for 'Crave'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Camp, Alexa. "Madonna and Swae Lee's "Crave" Music Video Delivers a Message – Watch". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Madonna – "Crave" (ft. Swae Lee)". 10 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Madonna Pines for Swae Lee in 'Crave' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  8. ^ "ON With Mario Lopez Interviews". Megaphone.
  9. ^ Hunt, El (May 10, 2019). "Madonna channels the essence of Lisbon's Fado music in 'Crave'". NME. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  10. ^ Wass, Mike (May 10, 2019). "Madonna & Swae Lee's Sexy "Crave" Evokes The 'Hard Candy' Era". Idolator. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Helligar, Jamie (June 13, 2019). "Album Review: Madonna's 'Madame X'". Variety. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  12. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (June 12, 2019). "Review: Madonna's Madame X Is a Fearless, Eccentric Musical Memoir". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  13. ^ DeVille, Chris (June 13, 2019). "Madame X Is The Best Madonna Album In A Long Time". Stereogum. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  14. ^ Tabberer, Jamie (June 13, 2019). "Madonna, Madame X track-by-track review: 'Intriguing Gaga-esque weirdness'". Gay Star News. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Madonna: Madame X". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  16. ^ "Madonna Earns Best Career Adult Contemporary Chart Debut With Swae Lee Duet 'Crave'". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  17. ^ "BDSRadio Charts". Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. Archived from the original on June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  18. ^ "Madonna chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Madonna chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  20. ^ "China Airplay Chart - 24/06/2019". Billboard China (in Chinese). Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  21. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés" (in French). SNEP. May 17, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  22. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  24. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 20". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100 (17 May 2019 - 23 May 2019)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "Madonna Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  27. ^ "Madonna Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  28. ^ "Madonna Drops 'Crave' Featuring Swae Lee: Stream It Now". Billboard. May 10, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  29. ^ "Hot/Modern/AC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019.