Review - Madonna - MDNA
A friend of mine told me that if this review was negative, he was going to stop reading immediately, so I am going to start positive. ‘MDNA’ definitely exceeds the expectations that I had. To be honest though, expectations were pretty low, so it wasn’t really all that tough.
After any and all criticisms are put out there, ‘MDNA’ is a fun, well-done pop album. ‘MDNA’ is a collection of interesting songs, rather than just a few singles and some filler. I even kind of like that the album is lacking any big radio songs – it levels all the songs together and gives the album more worth as a whole (to be fair, I don’t think it was the intention of Madonna to not have any hit singles, but that’s what has happened).
I also applaud Madonna’s producer choices – Martin Solveig is really pushing pop music to awesome new places, and William Orbit and Madge always make it work when they get together.
Madonna’s twelfth album is not without its flaws though. I fear that all of my thoughts on ‘MDNA’ are not so nice as these though. If you can only handle the good, you better leave now, cuz here comes the bad.
While she picked great producers to work with, sometimes their voices outshine hers. The trained pop ear can pick out which producer made what song, and the album bounces between Orbit, Solveig, and assorted others, throwing true cohesion out the window in favor of fun. There are quite a few instances where Solveig’s production is much more interesting than the tried-and-true and somewhat lackluster lyrics, so he steals the show.
I also was not a fan of her collaborations. Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. were brought in because they are young, hot, and edgy. Madonna needed someone to attract the younger crowd, but I don’t know that they were such a great idea. Putting Madonna next to someone like Nicki just reminds us all that Madge is easily old enough to be her mother, and it makes her look just a little bit desperate. Her collaborations have worked in the past – I was a big fan of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake being featured on “4 Minutes” – but to be truthful, her vocals and her style doesn’t sit well when paired with either of these ladies.
Going back to the cohesion of the album, I also want to say that I didn’t feel like it had a consistent tone to it. We start off with “Girls Gone Wild” and “Gang Bang” (which shows her dabbling in dubstep, which is another grab at being current and relevant, and something I knew would be on this album somewhere), both of which were darker. Later, she tries to sound all hearts, stars, and rainbows on “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and “B-Day Song”. It isn’t that you need to always be dark or always light, but she just didn’t maintain her balance very well here.
Madonna is the queen, and we all know this. No matter how successful Britney or Lady Gaga or anyone else is, Madonna will always be the queen of pop, and no one can take that away from her. I think it is time for her to realize this and accept that she can still make music, but that the time of massive singles and #1’s might have come to an end. This is not such a bad thing though – her ‘Confessions On a Dance Floor’ record was one of her best, even though most of its singles didn’t even chart in the US. There is nothing wrong with making music that doesn’t achieve the sales she used to, as long as it is true to who she is and good.
Listen to: “Girl Gone Wild”, “Gang Bang” (which I actually like quite a bit), “I’m Addicted”, “Turn Up The Radio”, “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (ft. Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.)”, and “I’m A Sinner”, but only to see how it is an EXACT redoing of her 1999 hit “Beautiful Stranger”.