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MDNA: Madonna’s Back, but is her musical talent?

4 Apr

The album artwork for MDNA.

Many artists in the music industry are sometimes expected by the media and the public to continue producing material that re-defines their style of song and re-confirm his or her status as a top performer. Entertainers like Madonna have been doing this for years since she is widely revered for reinventing her music and image consistently with the release of each new album. With her latest effort titled MDNA, Madonna delivers a selection of great new tracks, but the overall album feels heavy with lackluster songs that scream to be re-produced with better lyrics and slightly more refined instrumentation.

The catalog opens up with a club frenzy song “Girls Gone Wild.” The energy in this track feels low and does not bear the same amount of effort the idolized artist is known to bring to each project. If you want to listen to something mindless and forgettable while sipping on an endless supply of margaritas, you can repeat the playback of this middle school song as much as you want.

The album immediately becomes darker with “Gang Bang,” a track that, from the title, appears to be about sex. However, she refrains from saying the charged word at all. What you get is a sound layered in mean beats and malevolent vocals of a Madonna who loves revenge. The repeating chorus, “Bang bang, shot you dead/ Shot my lover in the head,” signals her passion for fleshing out her tough cookie attitude and darker side. While it is a catchy song, the violent nature might make your skin crawl with discomfort.  Madonna likes to be fun, sexy, and in this case, daring. And if someone’s in her way, this song will remind you to get out of her way because she’ll shoot a bitch if she has to.

To bring us out of the dark hole we are dragged into, Madonna then lifts the dark curtain to reveal a more fun and light club banging song “Turn Up the Radio.” It will definitely brighten your mood and maybe even make you want to pump your fist in the air.

“Give Me All Your Luvin’” is definitely an homage to 80’s music, but sounds self-centered too quickly when the chorus of cheerleading girls chant “L-U-V Madonna/ Y-O-U you wanna.” Thankfully the remix of this song on the deluxe version featuring LMFAO’s “Party Rock” in the mix gives the music a clearer sound that feels crisp and more bearable.

A majority of the songs are poppy, begging to be transformed into gay anthems, but there is not much sincerity and heart in some of those tracks. They sadly do not compare to the high and fun energy past favorites such as “Vogue” provided.

Thankfully, there are some tracks that can stand on their own. “Masterpiece” is an R&B beat heavy song intertwined with the softer side of Madonna’s voice where she laments falling in love with something that is forbidden. The song was originally produced for W./E., a film produced by Madonna about the affair between Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The entire tone is beautifully introduced when she first sings “If you were the Mona Lisa/ You’d be hanging in the Louvre/ Everyone would come to see you/ You’d be impossible to move.” By the end, you will feel the chilling and sober reminder of how painful it is to pull yourself away from continuing to fall in love with an unattainable individual or idea.

Another song that restores part of my faith in Madonna’s ability to make music is “Falling Free.” The agony in her voice makes you feel as if you are on a downward spiral with no chances of climbing out of it.

Madonna fans will eat up this album like an ice cream chocolate cake, but some may find the composition of this music too jarring or screechy in comparison with her earlier material. Every artist’s sound changes over time, but it becomes concerning when a new collection of songs lack any real reinvention.

Head on over to iTunes to preview and download songs from MDNA today.

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