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Mdna - Madonna
Member Name: bilbob20
Mdna - Madonna
Advantages: There are a couple of decent dance numbers
Disadvantages: It's repetitive, unconvincing, tacky, largely hookless and shows that Madonna should retire
Following a pretty dire response to the lead single "Give Me All Your Luvin" recently, where she teamed up with pop newcomer Nikki Minaj, Madonna arrives with her 12th studio album, an apparent return to form according to the blurb that arrived with it. Its a blurb that usually comes with EVERY Madonna album, rather suggesting that she's neither as confident in her own material as she likes to imply or really as much a trendsetter as she likes to have her audience believe. On the basis of that first single I was reluctant to even bother giving the whole album a listen. This is my first listen, so I'll write as I hear it.
1. Girl Gone Wild
Instantly provoking thoughts of Usher, this is actually a bit of a floorfiller on first listen. A very electrofied Madonna puts on her best pouting girlie voice as she delivers lyrics that are reminiscent of Cyndi Laupers "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Of course, she probably just stuck that song on and derived her own set of lyrics based on the premise. Its a fun opener, but hardly unlike everything else thats out just now. I'd imagine the kids it is aimed at would rather see the likes of Minaj or Usher deliver this than somebody old enough to be their granny.
2. Gang Bang
Lovely title. Putting that aside though, I really like this. It's quite clubby, with Madonna whispering the lyrics "Like a fish out of water, I'm scared...gang bang". As the beat gets more prominent, the vocals dont go anywhere. It's one of those songs that if you'd heard it a few times you'd dance to it in a club, but if you haven't heard it before, you'd be thinking "What the hell". The vocal tampering is very obvious once again though.
3. I'm Addicted
Slightly more 80s electro feel to this one. There is a slightly stronger hook on this one, but it isn't that impressive so far. Very heavily laden with backing vocals, I think this song could have been sung in any pitch and you wouldn't have known whether it was in the right key or not.
4. Turn Up The Radio
Another strong electro feel to this one, so far the album hasn't really changed course. The vocals and lyrics are slightly better than previous tracks. "There's a glow of a distant light, calling you to come outside" and more of a melody and hook make it a really good dance number. It's very of its time though, I cant imagine on hearing the album thusfar that people will still be listening to it in five years, unlike Ray Of Light or Like A Prayer.
5. Gimme Me All Your Luvin
I cringe everytime I hear the opening of this track. "L U V Madonna" from the cheerleader chorus vocal kicks in before the teenage pop sound takes over. "Dont play the stupid game, because I'm a different type of girl..." Why, Madonna, Why? This would be just rubbish if it was recorded by a 17 year old. Recorded by somebody who should know better... almost offensive.
6. Some Girls
Synth sounds, and another almost spoken vocal make this distinctly like every other song we've heard so far. Its dancey enough, and fun enough. This was has a belter of a chorus though that'll have you tapping your feet and no doubt singing along soon enough. By this point though, I've heard nothing new or that'll seperate one song from the other. If its cohesive she's aiming for, she's overdone it.
This reminds me of a song named "Superstar" from the late 90s that was very Euro-disco. This incorporates current beats, but is quite banal when Madonna sings "Ooh la la you're my superstar" over and over. Singing from the perspective of a fan idolising somebody just like herself, it would come off slightly arrogant if it had enough credibility. It doesn't - its just not very good.
8. I Don't Give A
Taking a slightly different broken-beat approach to the sound that strings this album together, this is a more interesting song. Vocally, it sounds like everything else though. She largely speaks the verses, almost rap-style, "I Dont Care What People Say" she muses, and no doubt its true. Otherwise, what excuse would there be for this album.
9. I'm A Sinner
This is more trippy than the rest of the album, and she sings it very well. This might be Madonna at her most experimental if she hadn't chucked in similar production values and banal lyrics across the rest of the album. "I'm A Sinner" she repeats over and over again, as if there are no other lyrics that might make more sense, or highlight what it is she is actually trying to say.
10. Love Spent
I like the more Eastern feel of this song, and it brought to mind the lovely "Frozen" that marked her comeback 15 years ago. This is the albums best track so far. "How come you can say that all you need is right here with me" she begs, and actually sounds like she means it. The problem here is that the album has been produced to within an inch of its life, zapping most of Madonna's bolshy personality out of it. Even on this pleasant track, there is little of Madonna really on it.
I was hoping that this would live up to its title, and in fairness, it is better than most of the tracks before it. Slowing things down for a more RnB flavoured guitar track, you can actually tell this is Madonna, and it sounds more like her earlier ballads in some ways. I actually really like this. Nice melody, good hook in the chorus, and a decent vocal from Madonna as well, she should have slotted this in earlier.
12. Falling Free
This track starts off with a very simple keyboard sounds, before some synthesizers join in. Madonna sings the song without much accompaniment, but it actually highlights her vocal frailties in places. It at least attempts to be different from the rest of the tracks on the album, but it might be a case of too little too late.
Madonna is the self appointed Queen Of Pop due to a massive gay audience, and hugely successful record sales, as well as her sell out tours. It was surprising to me that this is only her 12th studio album, she has been around for 30 years. If she is going to space her albums out in such a way, then she has the time to deliver something far more complex than this collection of teen-flavoured chart pop. Obviously, her career requires that she must keep up with current sounds in order to stay relevant. This isn't relevant though. This is just a pretty sub-standard collection of songs that rip off everything else that is currently out, making her rather irrelevant in the process.
If I were to be at all complimentary, I would say its a very average album at best. Disappointing that somebody of her longevity and experience couldn't come up with something more unique to herself. If you want to dance before you go out on a Saturday night, then the first half of the album will be servicable. I cant imagine Madonna fans citing this as her best work, or listening to it in 10 years time.
The album see's her re-united with William Orbit, who orchestrated her return to form with Ray Of Light in 1998. I'm not sure if he's a one trick pony, or if he genuinely had nowhere to go with the submitted songs. He might well have distanced himself from this, although I cant imagine many people upset Madonna without feeling her wrath. I just hope she doesn't ever accidently come across this review.
Summary: A worthless collection of below par songs that only borrow from current trends without adding to the