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Poptastic but not Fantastic
Music - Madonna
Member Name: Joanna Hudson
Music - Madonna
Date: 15/11/01, updated on 15/11/01 (337 review reads)
Advantages: Good dance tunes, Quality pop music
Disadvantages: Over produced, Too many voice filters, American Pie
I am a huge Madonna fan. She has been in the charts for as long as I can remember. I was only two when she released ‘Holiday’ and so can not remember a time without Madonna.
Madonna’s great popularity is probably due to her ability to change, to move with the trends and be on the pulse of what is fashionable at the time. No two Madonna albums sound the same, from the bubblegum pop of 'Like a Prayer' to the dance beats of ‘Erotica’ to the spiritual songs of ‘Ray of Light’.
When Ray of Light was released I fell in love with the album straight away. It was a total change from her previous albums, it was emotional, had meaning and depth and I felt it gave all us mere mortals an insight into the Queen of Pop’s world.
So, I was waiting with anticipation for her new album to arrive in 2000, I thought if Ray of light was good then ‘Music’ would be even more emotive and spiritual. How wrong I was!
For ‘Music’, although full of great dance/pop tunes is for me only throwaway pop. It is not bad by any means, and in comparison to most chart albums is a really good, quality CD full of great music. However, it lacks any heart and depth.
As well as Madonna co writing and co producing, she bought on board two other music writers/ producers to help out with the project: William Orbit (the genius behind Ray of Light) and Mirwais Ahmadzai (top dance DJ and record producer). These producers are top quality and on the cutting edge of music today. However, somehow this makes the album sound forced (as if it’s trying to be trendy) and because of the different producers the songs don’t merge well together.
OK, so let’s get onto the songs.
I don’t think anyone reading hasn’t heard the title track to this album, ‘Music’ or the other single taken from this album, ‘Don’t Tell Me’. ‘Musi
c’ is a great pop anthem, with a retro feel, complete with cheesy drum programming and strings. The lyrics are pretty meaningless but it is a real feel-good tune. ‘Don’t Tell Me’ is a wonderful pure pop tune, with a great guitar riff and danceable beat.
‘Impressive instant’, ‘What it feels like for a girl’ (Ahmadzai) and ‘Runaway Lover’ (Orbit) are good dance tunes. Again the lyrics are complete drivel but what the lyrics lack the music makes up for. Whenever I listen to these tracks I end up thinking ‘this album must have cost a FORTUNE to make’ as the amount of special equipment that must have been used to create all the strange sounds on the album is incredible. I think that ‘Music’ is going to sound dated quite quickly though as although the music sounds cool and retro now I have a feeling that in a few years it will just sound naff.
‘Amazing’ and ‘American Pie’ (William Orbit) are real disappointments. ‘Amazing’ is a total remake of ‘Beautiful Stranger’, the same mentality in the lyrics and the music sounds are used, and it lacks any originality. ‘American Pie’ is just utter pants. I’m sorry, but Madonna is just AWFUL at cover versions (take ‘Fever’ from her Erotica album if any proof is needed). The sounds used sound comical and utterly naff (rather like something John Shuttleworth would create on his Yamaha keyboard).
For me, the best songs on ‘Music’ are ballads. They are the only songs where we get any real heart and soul from Madonna. Even these songs though are nowhere near as personal as those on ‘Ray of Light’.
‘I deserve it’ (Ahmadzai) is a song dedicated to Guy Ritchie and is a song full of tenderness, a simple beat and acoustic guitar accompany Madders, with a few little weird noises coming in towards the end. ‘
Nobody’s Perfect’ (Ahmadzai) is the most personal song on the album, but is totally ruined by over use of voice filters and too many techno sounds. ‘Gone’, another ballad, is the simplest song on the album, with acoustic guitar and drums. A nice change from all the techno sounds that drown the rest of the album. This song is also notable as it is the only song not written by Ahmadzai or Orbit, instead it is written by Madonna/Damian Le Gassick/Nik Young. This probably accounts a lot for the change in style to the rest of the album.
My favourite song on the album is ‘Paradise (not for me)’ and this is the only song on the album with a ‘Ray of Light’ sound. For once on this album I feel as though Madonna really has something to say. Sung half in English, half in French, it has a real melancholy sound and would be really quite heart rending if it weren’t (yet again) totally ruined by the voice filtering. A full string section brings something a bit different to this song, as well as a nice vibraphone sound.
So, this is an OK album, but is certainly not great. I feel it would be a lot better without so many fancy techno sounds and could certainly do with a lot less of the voice filtering. Do you really want to hear a robotic voice singing ‘I like to singy singy singy like a bird on a wingy wingy wingy’?!
For me this album sounds too forced, as if Madonna is desperate to sound hip and trendy but in doing so the music has lost it’s heart. Maybe I am being a bit too harsh on Madonna, but I really was disappointed with this album. I guess after reaching perfection and so much success with ‘Ray of light’ there must be a lot of pressure on her to keep up with the trends and gain that success again.
As a pop album ‘Music’ is high quality but for people looking for a bit more depth than throwaway tunes that will sound dated in a few years this al
bum really is a let down. I do listen to it on a regular basis, but it doesn’t make me FEEL anything. Songs such as ‘Mir Girl’ and ‘Nothing Really Matters’ from ‘Ray of Light’ really do touch me and I can relate to them, but I find it very hard to relate to any of the songs on this album. The songs are quite simply too fancy, they are over produced and it loses it’s personal touch which was in Ray of Light (and in many other Madonna albums too).
This is an album to put on before a night on the town, to get you into the mood for clubbing and drinking. It has some great pop tunes such as ‘Don’t Tell Me’ and ‘Music’. It is full of retro, synth sounds and beats with heavy bass, great for getting you in the mood for a party.