By James Baase
Current digital technology has granted us the option of picking and choosing music for purchase, thereby eliminating the risk of paying for an entire album of which we only like a couple songs. That benefit came to mind upon listening to Madonna’s 12th studio record, MDNA. If you’re planning on ordering à la carte from this Madonna menu, it may end up being a light lunch.
Madonna’s recent release is a not only a collection of songs, but incredibly, a collaboration of 10 producers and 26 credited writers! With all that help, what resulted is really just a dance record with a few solid Madonna pop songs thrown in for good measure.
The first two singles, “Give Me All Your Luvin” and “Girl Gone Wild” are the CD’s best songs. Both are fun, but “Give Me All Your Luvin” seems like it is more suited for the Madonna of 1983. Throwing in the novelty of Nicki Minaj is what makes it relevant today.
I’m not sure what happened with what follows. The psychotic “Gang Bang” left me perplexed with its unsettling lyrics. The dance tracks “I’m Addicted”, “Some Girls” and “I Don’t Give A” are quite empty, musically. However, there was more promise found in “Turn Up The Radio” and “Love Spent”.
The awards for dangerously catchy songs go to “Superstar” with its silly lyrics like, “You’re Abe Lincoln ‘cause you fight for what’s right” and the horribly repetitive “I’m A Sinner”. I dare you to try and count how many times she mentions the word “sinner”. Yes, Madonna, we know you are! Beware, these songs will stick in your head.
To finish up, “Masterpiece” is just boring. Unfortunately, I think Madonna dropped the ball with “Falling Free”. This could have been a really good rock song! Imagine it a little faster with some electric guitar added in just the right places. It just ended up too drawn out and slow. On second thought, this isn’t a rock album, is it?
The deluxe version includes an additional CD with 5 songs that are actually pretty good, “Beautiful Killer” being the best in the entire collection. A song like this reminds me why I like Madonna. “B-day Song” is a fun little romp in complete Madonna style, where she proclaims “give me a spanking…start the day off right”. On the surface, “I F—ked Up” seems like her late answer to Pink and C-Lo Green’s songs which also include that famous F-word in their title, but it’s really a song of remorse for a lost love. Additionally, “Best Friend” is a not so remorseful song about another failed relationship. Finally, “Give Me All Your Luvin” is just a re-mix featuring LMFAO and Nicki Minaj, just like they performed at the Super Bowl.
If you’re a die-hard Madonna fan, or if you’re looking for some dance music for your next rave, this CD is definitely for you. I just feel that, although introspective at times, the lyrics were somewhat cliché and lacked the maturity of such a seasoned singer-songwriter. Musically it falls flat on most tracks and the fans would have been better served if the bonus CD was combined on the original, while the lackluster dance tracks were dropped. I may sound like I’m being hard on the Material Girl; but after all, she is the Queen of Pop. Unless she is planning on abdicating her throne, she better watch out. Artists like Katy Perry and Rihanna burning up the pop charts with their numerous top ten hits will surely step up like Madonna failed to do here.