Friday, April 6, 2012

Madonna
MDNA [Deluxe Edition]
4/5

Madonna's last album, Hard Candy, was certainly well crafted, however, it lacked a lot of personality and had way too many production hands all over it. It was missing that certain signature Madonna stamp that usually comes with her music.
MDNA brings back that familiar Madonna feeling, with nods to her past work both musically and visually throughout the new album.
MDNA feels like a combination of a few of her past records, but it most notably shares the most similarities with her 'Music' album from 2000. MDNA has the same eclectic feel as Music with the album exploring a couple of different styles, rather than keeping with the same production on every track [aka. Confessions On A Dancefloor].

On one end we have songs that take a lot of inspiration from 60's retro pop tunes, and on the other end, we have a much more modern sounding and edgier inspired batch of dance songs.
I'm no stranger to old skool inspired modern music, artists like Outkast and Andre 3000 have incorporated those sorts of sounds into their work over the years and i've enjoyed it. MDNA however showcases these types of songs in a slightly cheesy way at times, which will either work for you or against you, depending on how sickly sweet you like your music to sound.
The lead single, Give Me All Your Luvin' is essentially a poor man's 'Hey Ya' [Outkast], and even though the song has grown on me slightly, i still think it's one of the weakest moments on the album, although it does feature 2 decent features with Nicki Minaj and MIA on the track. 'Superstar' also has the same sort of throw back feel, although it's catchier than the lead single.
Where the album really misses the mark though is with the bonus track, B'Day Song'. Although it's cute, it's just way too juvenile sounding to be listened to by anyone over the age of 4. After a whole albums worth of thunderous dance songs, it feels odd to reach a point on the record where you feel like you're listening to the latest Sesame Street song. Don't take my word for it though, fans seem to love the track, so i'm in the minority with that one.

Aside from a couple minor mis-steps though, the rest of MDNA is incredibly well produced and very fresh sounding. There are a few generic moments that feel like previous album lefts overs like, Girl Gone Wild and Masterpiece, but they're still both fantastic songs. Masterpiece doesn't fit the album very well, but it's such a great traditional Madonna ballad, i don't mind that it's on the standard track listing.
Other album highlights are the bonus tracks, Beautiful Killer and I Fucked Up, both of which should have been placed on the standard edition.
Love Spent is a wonderful 80's electro dance song, I Don't Give A is brilliantly produced and Nicki Minaj gets a second chance at a much cooler feature, Turn Up The Radio is a catchy and I'm A Sinner takes the retro sound from other weaker throwback tracks but actually makes it work thanks to William Orbits smart production.
The albums best moments for me however are the drugged out and chaotic, I'm Addicted, the fantastic electro track, Some Girls [which is the albums hidden gem] and Gang Bang, which features a cinematic, dark and sexy bass line amidst Madonnas breathy vocals . It's the best song Madonna has done in years and my favourite track off the album.

As a whole, Madonna has delivered a varied and solid album that is far more interesting than it's singles make it out to be. Although the album does have some a couple weak moments, there's more than enough on MDNA to make it worth your while. This is definitely Madonna's best album in a long time.


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