Thursday, March 29, 2012

Girl Gone Wild for MDNA

Madonna has a new album out! It seems like forever since she did the Super Bowl. Here I will go track by track and report to you my findings about her new album, "MDNA" upon my first listen.

Track 1: "Girl Gone Wild" Whoa! More like MDMA! This is a highly danceable song that reminds me of her techno-ish songs from "Confessions." It sounds great, probably because it's produced by Benny Benassi. Lyrically, Madonna never really has had me thinking really deep thoughts, or up in arms about her "sacrilege" She opens the song with an Act of Contrition, I guess to either honor or piss off her Catholic roots. I really can't ever tell with her. This is a great single, but I feel like even though I don't expect her to grow up and become Celine Dion, it feels a little fakey to hear her say "I'm a bad girl" at this point in her career.

Track 2: "Gang Bang" is a pretty good song! Really I have nothing to say about it, other than it sounds like a modern day Nancy Sinatra Kill Bill opening. My only beef: The majority of the song, she's singing so low I can't hardly understand her. Nice "Skrillex-y" breakdown in the middle! That was a surprise! This is probably going to be one of my favorites, I can feel it. Her "drive, b**ch!" chanting at the end is pretty classic Madge.

Track 3: "I'm Addicted" sounds vaguely familiar. Almost like "Don't Think," by Chemical Brothers-but in a good way. Another Benassi produced song. This is the Madonna that makes me get up and dance. I can picture a bunch of half naked backup dancers on tour with her upon first listen. I like where this Madonna is going with her style on this album so far. It satisfies my need for electro and pop-relatable music all at once. Maybe this track is my favorite!

Track 4: "Turn Up the Radio" my first thought: "is this 'Without You' by Usher?" So that must mean it's a David Guetta song. Upon further listen, it really sounds more like "Hello" by Dragonette remixed by Martin Solveig. That's because Martin helped on this one. In fact it sounds so much like it that you could substitute the lyrics "I just came to say hello" every time she sings "turn up the radio." I like it, mainly because I like the Dragonette song, and they're the same song essentially.

Track 5: "Give Me All Your Luvin'" this is easily the weakest song so far. It's childish, goofy, out of place on this album and sounds more b-a-n-a-n-a-s with it's cheerleader chants than straight up dance floor Madonna which is what the rest of the album is. I predict I'll skip this track most of the time. I will defend M.I.A. to the death however. I have been in love with her wordplay, political lyrics and blending of English garage, Indian and hip hop music styles since her debut album that I played to death. I love that she's reaching an audience in Madonna's fans that she may never have reached, but she's only on this track for a split second, as is Nicki Minaj. Both are underutilized here, finger-gate aside.

Track 6: "Some Girls" now THIS is what I wanted. Very european dance style. This song sounds (especially the opening) like what I expect to see the guys dancing to at "Babylon" on Queer As Folk. A favorite.

Track 7: "Superstar" no offense, but this sounds sophomoric at best. "ooh la la, you're my superstar, I'll play you a song on my guitar." Really Madonna? Do you have a crush on a 15 year old? If Rebecca Black sang this we'd have no problem making fun of her for it.

Track 8: "I Don't Give A" Okay. So Madonna's going to rap over what sounds like a mix between a Sleigh Bells and a Matt & Kim track? Interesting. This song's obviously about her marriage and divorce from Guy Richie. Nicki Minaj comes in on her verses and steals Madonna's thunder just like she showed up Kanye West on "Monster." Her line "When I let a dude go, that's his loss, I was cuttin' them checks, I was his boss," is what had me at hello. "I ain't a businesswoman, I'm a BUSINESS, WOMAN!" Is what made me say, "Marry me, Nicki," and completely forget this was a MADONNA song. Never get someone better than you to show you up lyrically Madonna, rookie mistake, much like Nickelback playing Pantera while their roadies set their stage up. Once you play something that good, all you can do is sound like crap after it.

Track 9: "I'm  A Sinner" my first thought is "is this 'Strict Machine' by Goldfrapp?" I guess that's a good thing, but it's a little too much like it. I'm a little frustrated because it used to be everyone wanted to sound like Madonna. Now when I hear her, I immediately think of who she sounds like. Hmm..... moving on. She shouts out Jesus and some saints in an effort to be who she was 25 years ago. It feels contrived, get over it Madonna.

Track 10: "Love Spent" not a bad song, but it is getting a little old to hear her do what seems like the same songs over and over with William Orbit. Call me critical, but this sounds JUST LIKE "Die Another Day," that she did with Orbit for the Bond film. Same string intro, same drum beat and bridge. *yawn* Try something else Madonna, I've heard this (many) times before. Like, ever since that song you did for Austin Powers. Yeah, I said it. What now?

Deluxe two CD edition includes five additional tracks
Track 11: "Masterpiece" this is a beautiful pop ballad. It feels slightly out of place on this album, but it is a lyrically gorgeous song. "And I'm right by your side, Like a thief in the night, I stand in front of a masterpiece. And I can't tell you why It hurts so much, To be in love with a masterpiece." This is the song that won her a Golden Globe since it was used for the movie "W.E." It wasn't up for best song for the Oscars because it was used too late in the closing credits to count. Really Academy? It would've been nice to have more than TWO songs up for the award.

Track 12: "Falling Free" a nice way to wrap up an album. This is a minimalist song in the vein of "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" from Ray of Light. I love when Madonna does these songs. Sometimes less is more, and she knows that. You can't be a human disco ball all the time. "Deep and pure our hearts align, and then I'm free, I'm free of mind." Lyrically the last two songs on this album are my favorites, hands down.

Overall, I'm always glad when Madonna is back. I'm a fan, always will be.Truly, in my eyes, as long as they keep putting out records, certain women can do no wrong to me. Madonna, Bjork, Robyn, Kylie Minogue....I just love them. I liked Hard Candy, but I like this one better. I'd give it about a 3 1/2 out of 5 and a thumbs up.


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