MDNA (Deluxe Edition)
Release date: March 23, 2012
Iconic menopausal Cloverfield monster, Madonna, who once tantalized the world with her music videos and tormented it with her trite scandalous behavior, returns to music after a few years off laying eggs and shedding her skin.
Having signed a three-record deal with a new label, Madonna is evidently going into her 50s to prove she can reclaim her status as The Queen of Pop. Like some Alien Xenomorph slithering around, she keeps coming back. Probably she was sick of watching Fergie get all the attention for lowering people’s IQs; or maybe she just got tired of chasing Sigourney Weaver. Whatever. The damnable death of culture is back with her 12th demon-spawn and that’s pretty newsworthy for Kathie Lee and Hoda.
It certainly doesn’t matter that she’s 53 – plenty of musicians continue to make new and exciting music well into their 50s and 60s – what matters is whether or not she can deliver. The problem is, for all of her experience, Madonna has nothing new to say. In her prime, Madonna was an exciting singer and performer who changed the musical landscape by manipulating DJ culture and varying styles with a canny sense of fashion, sex, religion and self-awareness. From “Holiday” and “Vogue” to “Beautiful Stranger” and “Ray Of Light” she was a performer who continued to raise the bar and push the boundaries while staying relevant with new, different and exciting music. Lately it seems she’s abandoned being adventurous for making disposable dance music.
The album is 17 tracks of meaningless pop confections. As usual, she has tons of people producing (William Orbit, Martin Solveig among them); and young, contemporary stars who join her (Nicki Minaj, M.I.A.). “Girl Gone Wild” will be the annoying Facehugger of the summer, blasting out of every Express and Limited with subzero air conditioning and two-for-ones on leggings. The same goes for the club-thumping “Gang Bang” that features the chorus, “Bang, bang shot you dead” and has nothing to do with a “gang bang,” but since it’s more salacious to title it this way, well, who cares? It has a dubstep break (so hot right now).
A few songs in, the album drags with repetition. “I’m Addicted” and “Turn Up The Radio” (not the Autograph song and a cheap shot at getting airplay – she could have just called the song “This Radio Station Is The Best Ever!”) are slimy and boring, but have the coarse acidity of being able to burn through speakers and will likely keep Madonna in the public eye well after the Apocalypse. “Give Me All Your Luvin’” is so bankrupt of originality Gwen Stefani should be getting royalties since she basically wrote it seven years ago. “Some Girls;” “Superstar;” “I Don’t Give A” are instantly forgettable. “I’m A Sinner” is a rewrite of “Beautiful Stranger” just in time for the next installment of Austin Powers. “Love Spent;” “Masterpiece” and “Falling Free” wouldn’t qualify as b-sides for Rebecca Black singles.
Of the bonus tracks, “Beautiful Killer” is not unlistenable French electronica; but the rest is garbage. “B-Day Song” is so cheesy it should only be listened to by children under ten with pictures of ponies and rainbows on their bedroom walls. This is the fault of the Black Eyed Peas who wrote that Bar Mitzvah song (now played at every single Bar Mitzvah), so clearly Madame Xenomorph had to slime all over with something to guarantee another 50 years of cash flow. Another bonus track is a remix of “Give Me All Your Luvin’” featuring LMFAO, which says everything.
She’s not branching out, she’s not breaking barriers, she’s not trying new genres. She could be moving into Deborah Harry territory, but she’s still trying to retain her crown as the Queen of Pop. So MDNA will do very well and undoubtedly enjoy promotion from the singer’s upcoming tour, but these songs are as forgettable as the songs on her last album. She needs to go back to the Nostromo, chase Sigourney Weaver around some more, and really think about her next move.