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Monday, March 26, 2012

Track-by-Track: Madonna - MDNA

As far as Madonna listeners go, I'm in the "fan" category, but far from the "obsessive fan" that seems to make up the bulk of her base nowadays. Her 80's stuff is legendary pop, but to be honest none of her work has really struck me since the turn of the millennium (Hung Up excluded). So it's with curiosity and a little hope that I approach this album. After all, it's her "divorce record," so she should have some interesting things to say, right?

1. Girl Gone Wild - A straightforward club/dance track. Honestly, after the kitsch of first single Give Me All Your Luvin, this is kind of a relief. It's dialed back a bit, but still has enough of a hook to stay with you. Not her most memorable, but a good opener. 9/10

2. Gang Bang - Probably the most demented song she's ever recorded. This is Madonna fully embracing camp (which, let's be honest, is kind of appropriate at this point in her career). It's bound to split opinion with its Kill Bill inspired lyrics and theatrical, ridiculous vocal performance, but I find it incredibly entertaining... if only because she's finally not taking herself so seriously. 10/10

3. I'm Addicted - Hearkens back to her late 90's/early 00's days, even though this isn't one of the William Orbit produced tracks. Lots of electro squiggles and production flourishes. Still, it feels a bit like (good) filler. 8/10

4. Turn Up The Radio - The first Martin Solveig collaboration on the album, and the production sounds quite similar to his hit, Hello. But I like the pure-pop melody and the summery, sugary melody. I just wish the lyrics weren't so obvious. 9/10

5. Give Me All Your Luvin' - The first single, and it makes much more sense in context of the album. I still hate the "L-U-V-Madonna!" bits. They're cringeworthy. And the guest raps are unnecessary. But beneath all that, there's a good song in there. It's growing on me. 8/10

6. Some Girls - Now we're back on track. This song was bound to be good, given the collaborators involved. I put much of its success down to Klas Ã…hlund, who writes/produces much of Robyn's best work and had his hand in this song as well. It shows. Interesting production and a hook that sneaks up on you. 10/10

7. Superstar - The lyrics are horribly lame, but like Turn Up The Radio, this has enough of a shiny pop hook to almost overcome them. I just love the sound of it. 9/10

8. I Don't Give A - Similar to the last song, the lyrics are a little suspect (everything just seems to literal on this album), but the production is insane. It's got the best beat on the album--a relentless hip-hop/rock combo. The operatic outro just seals the deal. 10/10

9. I'm A Sinner - This is the track that's grown on me most since I first heard the album. It fits right between Ray Of Light and Music in her discography, sort of an older cousin to Beautiful Stranger. In that way, it's classic Madonna (rather than "chasing-trends Madonna"). 9/10

10. Love Spent - One of the many tracks with a focus on her recent divorce. I don't know... I just find it a little tedious. Maybe it's because it comes after I'm A Sinner. I like the folk influence, but it's not enough to make this a standout. 8/10

11. Masterpiece - Previously released on the W.E. soundtrack, this is the only classic Madonna ballad on the album. It's not one of her strongest. Pleasant, yes, but it doesn't leave enough of an impression to stick. 8/10

12. Falling Free - Another ballad, though this is far more interesting than the last one. The melody has a strong folk influence and the production is pretty subdued compared to all the tracks that have come before. 9/10


13. Beautiful Killer - Should have been on the album. Again, it's got that Madonna circa 2000 sound to it. I love the straightforwardness of it, and the fact that it references her divorce without being completely consumed by it. A breezy, thumping pop song. 10/10

14. I F****d Up - This starts as a swirling midtempo but quickly becomes something much more interesting. As the music builds and quickens, the song improves. If the first half wasn't quite so long, this would've been perfect. 9/10

15. B-Day Song - I just find this kind of stupid. Maybe it would have worked back in the 80's... or sung by someone else. I like the 60's girl-group influence, but the Beat Goes On sample annoys. 7/10

16. Best Friend - Yet another track chronicling her divorce, and easily the worst. It's like a page out of her diary, recorded over clinky production and a plodding melody. 6/10

Album Grade: 8.7/10

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Blogger brugo said...

8 songs on 16 are about 9/10 10/10.
what if you were an obsessive fan?

6:37 AM  
Blogger brugo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:37 AM  

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