MUSIC REVIEW: Madonna’s MDNA Album

18 April 2012, Singapore – No words can quite describe Madonna, or her success in the ever-competitive music industry. It is good enough that she has outlived most of her peers in the 80’s pop-rock era. But she continues to thrill us with her band of music and provocative videos. MDNA may not be her best album, but for Madonna fans, it contains all the elements that will build continued loyalty to this pop royalty.

MDNA, Madonna’s 12th studio album, grows on you. The first listen may be a tad disappointing, but from the second time onwards, tunes or hooks of the various tracks will continue to ring in your mind. It is essentially a dance album with some cheerful pick-me-up songs plus a ballad or two. What is evident is the fantastic production with well-engineered beats, instruments, vocals and whatever else that makes great pop.

Here is a track by track review:

1. Girl Gone Wild

Extremely melodious and catchy with a strong bass. It has a perfect build-up from start to chorus, something essential for dance floor euphoria. It is very Madonna-ish with essence of her past songs, yet uniquely put together to create a masterpiece. My favourite track of the album. It is also the second single from the album and is accompanied by a provocatively sexy video.

2. Gang Bang

Trance-like monotony builds up to a somewhat catchy chorus. This track is a good gap filler or background music in a lounge. The ending part of the song is rather violent so skip to the next track if you are in a peaceful mood.

3. I’m Addicted

A mesmerizing dance track. It gets more and more addictive as the song progresses and by the time it ends, you should be heading for the disco. You will hear the album’s name “MDNA” in this track. We won’t go into the controversial interpretation of MDNA… it’s just “Madonna-DNA” for me. I look forward to hearing this song when I’m next in a club.

4. Turn Up The Radio

Happy cheerful radio-friendly track. You can almost predict radio stations using it as their theme song.

5. Give Me All Your Luvin’ (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.)

The first single of the album. It was performed at the Super Bowl 2012 leaving audiences and TV viewers wowed by her spectacular performance. Some say the cheerleader theme is a little too youthful for Madonna but I personally think she pulled it off quite well, balancing the age gap with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. The tune, the video and the Super Bowl performance were seamlessly integrated; probably a good example of the intense planning and promotional aspect of the industry. It’s a pick-me-up song and great for cloudy days.

6. Some Girls

One of the more forgettable songs. Pass.

7. Superstar

This track will leave you humming “OOO-LA-LA”. Another hyper radio-friendly tune, that instantly gets you swaying and clapping along. American Idol used it in one of their video segments… “Ooo-La-La… you’re my superstar”… very appropriate. Trust me… it’ll be a theme song for pageants and talent contests.

8. I Don’t Give A (featuring Nicki Minaj)

There is always one song in an album that you think won’t make it commercially, but you just love it. This is that track for me. There’s nothing really special or different about it. Maybe it is just the mix and match of everything familiar rolled into a very up-beat form. I love the dramatic ending.

9. I’m A Sinner

Reminiscence of Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger from the Austin Power soundtrack but its lyrics will burn your holy ears – “I’m a sinner.. I’m a sinner…. I’m a sinner, I like it that way.”

10. Love Spent

Though this track starts off somewhat country, it interestingly becomes quite Indian. I have visual images of a perfectly choreographed dance routine in a palace or big field.

11. Masterpiece

This song won Madonna a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. It is in the soundtrack for the movie W.E. that she co-wrote and directed. This ballad is simple, sweet, soothing and shows off Madonna’s vocals.

12. Falling Free

With little background instrumentation, Madonna delivers a superb vocal performance full of emotions and sincerity. Definitely a track for her next ballads compilation.

13. Beautiful Killer

This would be the next catchiest track in the album after Girls Gone Wild. Though I hardly comment on lyrics, Beautiful Killer lyrics is cheesy, probably best suited for a Bond movie soundtrack.

14. I F**ked Up

If you can look beyond the ‘F’ word, this is a very nice and melodious ballad with meaningful lyrics.

15. B-day Song (featuring M.I.A.)

I really dislike this Birthday song. It’s extremely generic and unoriginal. But it probably works for your 7 year-Old’s birthday party.

16. Best Friend

A mediocre track but still very listenable. I’m more impressed by the production of this track than the music itself. But it has the potential to be a great dance track with remixing.

17. Give Me All Your Luvin’ (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.) (Party Rock Remix)

The description of the remix says it all – Party Rock. The cutesy original track becomes a dance anthem without losing its catchy cheerful tune. Our cheerleader has swapped her pom poms for heels and a tight-fitting dress.

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