Still into the groove
THERE is a unique pressure that comes with being Pop Queen Madonna.
Not only does she have to beat modern stars like Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna at their game, she also competes with her own ironclad legacy.
What are the chances that the 53- year- old’s 12th studio album is better than all the others, or even some of them? Surely, even Madonna can only reinvent herself up to a point.
On I Don’t Give A she sings: ‘‘ Make a film, write a song . . . Meet the press, buy the dress, all of this to impress’’. Who is she trying to impress, us or herself?
Madge’s collaborators here are, primarily, a trio of talented electronic dance music producers: William Orbit, Martin Solveig and Benny Benassi.
Together they’ve created a slick template of hard pumping tunes that sound ‘‘ of the moment’’.
Gang Bang is the obvious example with its tub- thumping kicks and bass, its dirty atmosphere and the obligatory dubstep middle- eight.
This electro- rocker is one of many heavy tunes where she appears to be dissing ex- hubby Guy Ritchie, ‘‘ I wanna see him die, over and over . . .’’
I Don’t Give A also has some words apparently aimed at the film director, from ‘‘ didn’t have a pre- nup’’ to ‘‘ tried to be your wife . . . diminished myself’’.
She’s got some issues and MDNA is her forum to work them out.
Lyrically, Madonna often sounds defiant on MDNA, the attitude and music are a great fit.
Of the clubby numbers, Some Girls is solid, brash and fun while I’m Addicted makes a detour into Italian disco. The razor- sharp beats and distorted synths work hard to get a sweat going.
But then there is lead single Give Me All Your Luvin’, which was something of a red herring and by far the worst of the 12.
It’s just silly and bubblegum with cheerleader chanting; it’s tired.
And the perplexing dual cameo by MIA and Nicki Minaj, what’s that about?
There was a point to Madge inviting these two semi- controversial artists into the studio, she never does anything ‘‘ just ‘ cuz’’. A mystery of terribleness.
While the majority of the album is focused on the dance floor, there are two memorable moments when she lets the pace dip, slowburner Falling Free with its light electronics and strings, and ballad Masterpiece that’s equipped with Spanish guitars and finger snaps.
What’s great about the album is Madge’s knowing wink to her past while jumping headfirst into current trends.
The joyous I’m a Sinner has got personality, humour, pop smarts and religious undertones, something she’s always been good at. And Superstar, which must be a distant cousin of Vogue, could be a hit single.