MDNA, by Madonna



MDNA, by Madonna – Cool cover, wacky pictures of Madonna throughout the booklet, where each turn of the page reveals a letter of her name on one side with a picture facing it (self-centered much? Oh yeah… it’s Madonna). I bought some sort of extended version that comes with a second disc of five bonus songs, but the whole thing still adds up to under 72 minutes anyway, so it really could have fit onto one disc. Oops! The CD is okay, but it’s very electro – not a shred of guitar on this, so no Iggy Pop-isms when Madonna plays any of the tracks from this live, and no Monty. Well, no wonder – it’s produced by William Orbit, who she worked with on Ray Of Light. There is also no song on this that is as cool as “Ray Of Light” or “Frozen”, although “Girls Gone Wild” and “I Fucked Up” come close.

Opening track, “Girl Gone Wild” is a great disco song that starts off with some sort of prayer to God, reminiscent of something she’s done earlier. “Gang Bang” is disco/gangsta rap, with gunshots, sort of a revisit of the Nancy Sinatra song, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”, where Madonna is shooting her evil lover and his new ho. It’s not pretty:

And I’m going straight to Hell,
And I got a lot of friends there,
And if I see that bitch in Hell,
I’m gonna shoot him in the head again,
‘Cause I wanna see him die over,
And over, and over, and over,
And over, and over, and over, and over,
Now drive bitch!
I said drive bitch!
And while you’re at it die bitch!
That’s right drive bitch,
Now drive bitch!
I said drive bitch!
And while you’re at it drive bitch!
That’s right drive bitch,
Now if you’re gonna act like a bitch,
Then you’re gonna die like a bitch.

“Now if you’re going to act like a bitch… then you’re going to die like a bitch.” Hmmmm… won’t let the kids hear this one. I sure don’t like this Madonna. The next song, “I’m Addicted” is a bit of Ray Of Light-era electro-pop, sweet and goofy, angular even. This one also has the cool, funky chant of “M-D-N-A, M-D-N-A…” etc. “Turn Up The Radio”, even more poppy, but with a bit of a message. “Give Me All Your Luvin’” is Madonna’s collaboration in a pop song with MIA and Nicki Minaj (oh, a wee bit of scratch guitar here… I’m wrong). “L-U-V Madonna, Y-O-U you wanna?” Luv it! “Some Girls” is pure dance floor, with big fat beats, nothing special here. “Superstar” sounds like something Madonna would have put out in the 1980s, for better or worse. “I Don’t Give A” is edgier, funkier, harder techno, rappier, poppier – this song has it all, including some sass from Nicky Minaj (who?). And it’s full of Orbit-isms, such as snatches of zonky electronic noise. It also has wanky “dramatic opera” music like what you’d hear in a movie about King Arthur or something. “Sinner” is a great, fun song, with a catchy chorus – “I’m a sinner, I’m a sinner, I’m a sinner, I like it that way.” “Love Spent” is a dramatic song with dramatic lyrics, “hold me like your money, tell me that you want me, spend your love on me, spend your love on me,” that is very Euro-disco. It also has pretty bad lyrics. “We opened up a joint account/ Would it put an end to all your doubts/ Frankly, if my name was Benjamin/ We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.” Huh?!? Probably another song lashing out at her ex-husband Guy Ritchie, who knows. Nice guitar sample, though. “Masterpiece” is a pretty song with another guitar sample, “it seems to me that’s what you are/ a rare and priceless work of art.” Great song, second real standout on the album. “Falling Free” is one of those dramatic “Live To Tell” types of songs that focuses a lot on Madonna’s voice, she harmonizes with herself all over the place, it also has those danc-y European production values without being a dance song – strings and electronics, dramatic like Sandy Denny or Kirsty McColl. Very same, a bit dull, dramatic, but a good album closer. “Beautiful Killer” is good electronic fun that is cut out of a classic Madonna mould (apparently it’s about Alain Delon’s film “Le Samourai”), while “I Fucked Up” is a great song to listen to again and again, with fun, beautiful vibes and lyrics. It also has an awesome sense of regret:

We coulda bought a house with a swimming pool
Fill it up with Warhols, it would be so cool
Coulda gone buyin’ estates in the countryside
With a pack of great things kissing eye to eye
We coulda do the world in a private jet
Run naked on the beach all soaking wet
We coulda found a mountain seen a perfect sunrise
Written our names across the sky
We coulda got a building built on the echo run
We coulda got ourselves arrested and sold our mum
We coulda live like crazy til’ the day we die
Instead I made you cry

“B-Day Song” is a boppy old beach song that doesn’t really sound like a Madonna song at all, very 1960s. “Best Friend” seems to be another “I miss Guy Ritchie” song, it is full of personal lyrics, some of them quite good “every man who walks through that door/ will be compared to you for ever more” and some of them quite bad “maybe I challenged you a little bit too much/ we could have had two drivers on the clutch”. The CD tops it all off with a “party rock remix” of “Give Me ALl Your Luvin’” that is about 40 seconds longer than the original. It’s got a funky party opener, it sounds like you’re in some sleazy European disco well after midnight, not sure who you are, who you’re dancing with, what’s going on. It’s good fun.

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