Record Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: March 23rd, 2012
The aging process sure is a cruel mistress. But this 53 year old is defying all the odds by not only remaining culturally relevant but also extremely active at a time when most of her peers are beginning to worry about the inevitable hip problems that come with a career of spine shattering dance music. Laughing in the face of back problems, Madonna returns by shoving this 2012 version of an apparently dangerous drug into our faces; MDNA. However, the actual music presented here is quite often a straight up rip-off from almost every dance fad that has flooded the dance floors since the mid 2000’s. Track “I’m Addicted” sounds like it was ripped straight from a Daft Punk song. “Gang Bang” flirts with a rave-lite sound and of course dubstep. “Girl Gone Wild” is the slow building rave spasm that explodes in your gut.
She even brings in the current generation of somewhat angry female singers with M.I.A and Nicki Minaj featuring on first single “Gimme All Your Luvin”; a move to perhaps unite the golden oldies with the younger generations who are just discovering their version of the hip-hop Vs dance scene. Ironically on “Gimme All Your Luvin” she actually states the line “every record sounds the same, you gotta’ step into my world”; at least the iconic goddess has a bit of humour in her, eh? Although despite the rehash of an already culturally established dance sound, Madonna still attempts to command this record as only her distinct voice really can. The problems though arise through the production standards which just mostly gloss over her voice until it is barely passionate in places; her melodies are quite dull on a lot of tracks and the album falls flat because of it. No amount of dance pulsing can hide a bored and jaded singer who no longer believes in the lyrics.
Pleasantly “I’m A Sinner” initially returns to an earlier sound, in the vein of albums Ray of Light or True Blue, but with a more upbeat take on her voice, but it just reverts to the dance nonsense by the end of the track. This happens again on track “Love Spent” and it is not until “Masterpiece” that Madonna is allowed to finally succeed in reminiscing on past calmer and perhaps more enjoyable sounds. The track even struts out some Spanish guitar which doesn’t really fit with the vibe of the album but is a welcome return from the processed dance madness. In fact, the second half of the album is relatively calm and delicate. But of course, the vast amount of producers had to go and ruin it by the albums end with the return of dance beats and even a trance based track entitled “Best Friend”. The album overall is a pleasant take on some of the terrible music that is pumped out by radio stations nowadays, but man is it boring. Madonna is still queen, but she is starting to fade.