Still into the groove

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

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.

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