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MDNA – Telegraph Track by Track Review

1. Girl Gone Wild
A lean, sleek, electro stomper kicks proceedings off the way Madonna means to continue – with the machine tooled precision of 21st century techno-pop, balancing the twin requirements of radio friendly hooks and dance floor drive. “Girls they just wanna have some fun,” suggests our fearless leader.
Now where have we heard that idea before? This not particularly original notion is the album’s central manifesto: innocent amusement over introspection.

2. Gang Bang
Despite an unfortunate title that younger fans would be advised not to google, this is not (thankfully) some brutal sex romp. Rather, the title is a misguided attempt to distinguish itself from Sixties pop classic Bang Bang, from which Madonna borrows the central image of murdering an errant paramour: “Bang bang, shot you dead / Shot my lover in the head”. Sparse and atmospheric, with a stripped back electrobeat and low, drawling vocal, buoyed by bursts of sub-bass and developing into a solid techno groove, its one of the album’s odder and most interesting tracks, only sullied by Madonna’s dedication to leaving no lyrical cliché unturned. She is a fish out of water, a bat out of hell, apparently.

3. I’m Addicted
Arpeggiated synth sequences build into fizzing swells and stabs, bleeping and swooshing all the way. Very effective digital pop that will sound fantastic loud and hard on the dance floor but, like so many songs on Madonna’s 12th studio album, lyrics appear to have been added as an afterthought. Does anyone really need another song about being addicted to love, comparing the rush of hormones with narcotics? The vocal cuts and stutters, so that Madonna repeatedly declares herself to be a dick, dick.

4. Turn Up The Radio
Even in the age of the internet, it is still the radio that holds romance for our 50-year-old pop queen. Lush, shimmery keyboards frame a slow start, with Madonna seeking space from the crowd (or rather, in an effort to use every cliché available, “the maddening crowd”), before a nice, wonky synth launches a solid pop belter. Madonna finds herself “sucked like a moth to the flame” but the slamming dance floor outro should distract from lyrical banality.

5. Give Me All Your Luvin’
Is the spelling meant to distinguish it in search engines from ZZ Tops’ Gimme All Your Lovin’? Madonna’s serial appropriation of perennially overused ideas might almost be passed off as some kind of pop parlour game.
The first single is the lightest, frothiest track on the album, deliberately dinky and cute, built on a burbling eighties synth and glam slam drum pattern. Its prime purpose appears to involve Niki Minaj and MIA represent all next generation female pop stars by swearing allegiance to the Queen with the chant of “L-U-V Madonna!”

6. Some Girls
Let’s give Madonna the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn’t know the Rolling Stones already have a song called Some Girls. Anyway, you’d never find Mick and Keith shaking their stuff to a mid-tempo groove with a deep electro bass line and stabbing synths. Producer William Orbit plays tricks with Madonna’s vocals, from intimate to echoed, tinny to seductive, but the intention is apparently not to portray Madonna as some kind of every woman: “Some girls are not like me / I’d never wanna be like some girls” she rather tartly declares.

7. Superstar
Sweet and summery, with a shimmering ambience built up from a ringing guitar loop and echoing tom tom pattern that might have been constructed from Beatle drum fills. The poppy melody and “ooh la la, you’re a superstar” singalong chorus houses a lyric so clumsy its obtuseness almost sounds deliberate: “You can have the password to my phone / I’ll give you a massage when you get home”. For someone determined to keep up with the kids, Madonna’s retro references for ideal men may leave the youngsters baffled: Brando, Travolta, James Dean, Bruce Lee and Abe Lincoln (cause you fight for what’s right”).

8. I Don’t Give A
There is real energy to this Martin Solveig production. Madonna delivers a raised middle finger to the world in general, and ex-husband Guy Ritchie in particular: “I tried to be a good girl / I tried to be your wife / I diminished myself / And I swallowed my light / I tried to become all / That you expect of me / And if I was a failure / I don’t give a …” (I’ve been trying to think of an obscenity that rhymes with “me”, but maybe I am missing the point). The ending twists into a big, autotune choral coda with the drama of a techno Carmina Burana. An album highlight, though Niki Minaj’s explosive rap rather shows up Madonna’s more static delivery.

9. I’m A Sinner
With Orbit back at the controls, this is reminiscent of the uplifting thrill of Ray of Light. Constructed on a drum loop, it pulses along with a fluid almost Sixties keyboard, building to a big, declarative chugging gospel techno ride, with Madonna exultantly declaring that, like St Augustine, she wants to be saved, but not quite yet. A breakdown into a recitation of Saints (Christopher, Sebastian and Anthony all get a name check) is effective, and it ends with “ooh ooh”s cheekily reminiscent of Sympathy For The Devil. Fun.

10. Love Spent
Gypsy string loop and brief, treated Spaghetti Western banjo flourishes introduce an almost organic feel to a very synthetic, stylised album. A pop song about love and money (topics the Material Girl frequently conflates) it weaves elegant electro patterns and builds to a big, throbbing chorus.

11. Masterpiece
Sweet, gentle love song with a Spanish guitar loop, a light beat and flowing melody, filled out by synthetic strings. The theme song for her critically panned film W.E., she may have been thinking of Prince Edward when she wrote “honestly, it can’t be fun / To always be the chosen one”, but the message applies just as much to Madonna herself. For most of this album she seems determined to demonstrate that a 50-year-old mother of four can still cut it with the kids at the club. Yet, perversely, she sounds most at ease when she calms down a bit and acts her age.

12. Falling Free
The first five tracks of MDNA are all produced by hit techno teams and the results are digitally sparkling, catchy and contemporary. The second half of the album is presided over by William Orbit, and while not as immediately hook laden, there is more sonic depth and invention. But only on the album closer is there a suggestion of a musical life beyond the hit parade. With a cascading, beatless melody and poetic, free form lyrics, Madonna’s pure, dreamy vocal has her declaring herself “free to fail.” It is a song about letting go, by a woman who, most the time, seems to be holding on very tightly indeed. Although out of character with the rest of this youth-focused electro dance pop confection, it suggests that Madonna may actually have musical and emotional places to explore when she eventually tires of setting the pop pace.

Telegraph

  • phx

    I think people are forgetting that Madonna is older and the people that buy lots of albums are in there teens and 20’s. She is older then most of their parents, an that makes a difference to a young person, even if it shouldn’t. They are young and have money from their allowance and part time jobs to blow on downloads.

    Madonna fans are in there late 20’s, 30 and 40’s and are selective about what they spend money on. I think Madonna should thanks her stars that she still is relevant in some way.

    Madonna also has not chosen to do the sell out stuff like Celine Dion, moving to vegas, doing a show everynight, which I think cheapens your image. I just wonder why she wont do the twitter, facebook thing if she wants to reach fans? It has been the pinnacle of Lady Phoney’s success.

    • ErikCardman

      Because it’s reductive! Madonna never needed twitter or FB! She still does her things without that! That’s what makes her special (to me)! Madonna doesn’t need to be more popular than she already is!

      • LUCA

        I totally agree

    • Roadwork

      you only wish you could sell out a show in Las Vegas every night, who says that, “it cheapens your image” really? you only wish…

  • madgefudger

    It sounds like she is doing a bit of vogueing with the name dropping. Love the references to actors and saints!!! I extremely excited about the william orbit tracks. And also about the others, especially turn up the radio and I don’t give a shit. By the way, I am absolutely in love with the sounds of I am addicted.

    I have to admit that I do like the prospect of a more introspective album in the future. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Madonna, Joe Henry, and William Orbit produced an album all on their own?

    • PriHeyMadonna

      Madonna + Joe Henry = ♥
      I’ve never been way too fond of Orbit, but M and her brother-in-law are always a good combo.

      • madgefudger

        I agree. Joe Henry has only been good; he shows great lyrical depth. I love everything they have done together, and I have become a great of his own work. Joe’s last album, reverie, is simply amazing.

  • kevin

    There are also album reviews from: Madonnarama, Pop-Justice , and Boy-Culture as well! I’m sure will get ones from Rolling Stone, Vh1, MTV,etc. No promo is being done,as they are focusing on the tour! So I guess how the album will be sucessful will be based on; digital/physical sales of both the album and single(s). Live-Nation, why wouln’t they promote her more! So guess she won’t be on any magazine covers promoting MDNA?

    • Roadwork

      I think everyone knows at this point she has a new album coming out, its all about the web now, anyways it comes out of her pocket to pay for promtion, thats how record companies work, any promo they do gets backed out of her paycheck, notice the tour has alot of promo, thats where you make the money.

    • masdonna

      Nobody want’s old Madonna 54 anymore !!!!!

      • beloved

        nobody?? sorry, I want her..and also many more people

      • ErikCardman

        beloved don’t reply to these people, they’re here to get attention mommy and daddy never gave them!

      • LUCA

        MA VAFFANCULO!!!!!

  • Roadwork

    This sounds like its going to be one of her best albums to date…

    It sounds so fresh, contemporary, and its paving the way for her future musical career.

    Its just unbelieveably perfect! This women is brillant!

    and people wanted it to sound like some tired fashion show/cat walk remix, face the facts your not two steps ahead of Madonna…

  • Dominic

    Another great review, this album is going to be amazing, and it sounds like she does make magic with Orbit, they are a match made in heaven!

  • Rabbitbunny

    The Brit press are alway going to criticize Madonna no matter what. If you don’t have anything good or respectful to say anything about Brilliant Madge, don’t say it all. As a writer, sometimes I admit she’s over-obvious but she means everything she bsings, writes and cries, so please don’t judge Madonna okay, please!? And compared to what that other blogger said, Madonna knows that life ain’t perfect but she does not believe in failure either! After all she wrote Nothing Fails and Nobody’s Perfect! MDNA is no different! Madge is moving blithely on with her life whether we as fans Like It or Not! Her Critics can love her or leave her and she’s never gonna stop! She will Live to Tell! Let her sing and cry about her life. Madonna would never have it any other way. If Madonna wants to dance and be happy she’ll do it but if she wants to cry sad tears and be introspective, she’ll gladly do that too! And Inside, Madonna’a All Still Wet!-because the lady is humanity in song. Please do not make judgment on Lady Madonna! Her Music and Life are one and the same. Like the certain ballad cried, Madonna’s Life and MDNA-are a Masterpiece. Madge has still got it!

    • LUCA

      bravo!!!!

  • 12345mdna

    It sounds great, cant wait for MDNA!!!

  • Xpress2

    MDNA is going to be fucking amazing! loved Madonnaramas track by track review!
    She gone serve up some MDNA and leave us greedy little addicts wanting more!

  • schwanz

    At the end of the day – our like or dislike of music is primal and instinctive. Reviewer have to justify their jobs by doing just that – reviewing – but hopefully most of us will enjoy without trying to overly intellectualize every word or beat. But, as with everything madonna, people have the highest expectation of everything she does. 30 years of constant success must really be a bitch – how do you exceed yourself how do your exceed the fans and the critcs expectations. More and more, I really understand the part of the brain that must jump in and remind her to kinda have a fuck you attitude. Looking forward to the album!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Pookie

      Couldn’t agree more Schwanz! Madonna gets SUCH a rough time for everything from her look to her lyrics and is constantly being measured on past success which is really obvious, easy and boring in my view. Why can’t people measure the album on musical stature alone like this review does. I don’t care if this isn’t another Ray of Light or True Blue. It’ll be it’s own Masterpiece, just as Erotica is, just as Confessions is, just as they all are. I am so grateful for her vastly styled musical catologue. You go Madonna! MUSICAL genius!!!

      • Wil.

        Well said Pookie.

  • day4night

    has it leaked yet? any minute now..

  • Mirco

    IT’S A GOOD REVIEW. 7,5/10

    • ErikCardman

      A bit dry, doncha think?

      • Mirco

        YEHA, BUT THE UK PRESS LOVE MDNA, AND LOVE MADONNA!!!!

  • Peter

    I´m really bored of this fucking reviews that are cold AND try to be “smart and logic” that compares with other artists by the only fact that use the same song name, I know that the album its sooo much better that this silly review, I´M ADICTED give me the faith to trust in the Queen one more time man!!!

    MUSIC ITS ABOUT BALLS NOT BRAIN!

  • Adrianotachi

    9. I’m a Sinner
    A catchy happy sexy psychedelic 60′s-inspired song in the continuity of William Orbit’s previous creations for Madonna. Think “Beautiful Stranger” meets “Ray of Light”, and believe it or not, the sound remains very fresh and new! The lyrics are fun and serious at the same time, with Madonna taking responsability for being a sinner. She cites saints (Jesus, Mary, St Christopher, St Anthony…) and talks bible. A perfect fit.

    Read more: http://www.madonnarama.

  • mihi

    Madonna was lucky to be who she is today, a hard-working simpleton. No genious, just some work on it. And i work hard too, without that much money, unfair the life is on earth. She has to pay the price of success, and that price is failure.

    • Moov

      blablabla

    • Xpress2

      Are you absolutely retarded? She’s still on top of her game spanning 3 decades with #1 records and sellout concerts worldwide. If that’s your definition of failure then you must still be slime in the primordial soup. Brainless!

      • mihi

        gmaly sucks, she is nowhere on radio and charts, that is failure, and i am sure she is really upset now and shouting like an ugly vulture….hehe

      • Dominic

        Sometimes simple lyrics get your point across, let me give you an example…

        Mihi, your an idiot.

    • LUCA

      what are you doing here?..move away!!!…with lady Caca

  • Adrianotachi

    A very dark deep house track with a little dubstep interlude dealing with murdering your lover and going to hell for it. It has Quentin Tarentino’s amazing “Death Proof” movie written all over it. William Orbit and the Demolition Crew did a tremendous job on this song which is partly spoken. Oddly there’s something sexy in this track as if it was inspired by the Erotica era. Think “Goodbye to Innocence” meets “Thief of Hearts” but way more edgy. “Bang Bang shot you dead. Shot my lover in the head… Now my lover is dead and I have no regrets.” Madonna ends the song with “Now if you’re gonna act like bitch, you’re gonna die like a bitch.” Review from one good Madonna site , for reference only, no one force u to like, believe your own feeling and listen!

    • ErikCardman

      I loved Death Proof!

  • Humberto

    From what I’ve heard so far, it seems like MDNA is shaping up to be what I’ve been waiting: a really joyful record with those catchy hooks and huge synthesizers. Let the queen have some fun!

  • Moov

    I stopped paying attention to reviews after they bashed Hard Candy and i hated the album, but once i decided to buy it in 2010, i realized the album is absolutely not what madonna was releasing and most tracks have powerful lyrics.

    • Adrianotachi

      Moov, at this point of view, u got better taste than me, I used to hate hard candy also, but last year I realize it is not a bad album .but it suffered loss at sales also due to inadequate promotion。

    • Adrianotachi

      Do not mention lady reductive, this is a site for Madonna fan only,there are many monster spies disguise as Madonna fan in here, everywhere,hahaha

    • Leo

      U BOUGHT “HARD CANDY” IN 2010???????? AND YOUR ALL OVER THIS PAGE PRETENDING TO BE MADONNA’S NUMBER 1 FAN???? GET LOST LOSER AND DON’T BUY “M.D.N.A”,BUT IF U WILL IN 2015,GIVE US YOUR REVIEW.J E R K.

      • laraliee

        i’m laughing my ass off! thanks! i agree with you!

      • Moov

        ughh, shut the fuck up , i was talking about how much critics can fuck up a whole album , and it’s not like give it to me encouraged me that much to buy the album , i bought hard candy in 2010 SO WHAT!

    • ErikCardman

      The first Madonna album I bought was American Life in 2003 (I was 15 YO), and I hated it, because it didn’t sound like others I’ve heard before, but thn I’ve started paying attention to the lyrics of X-Static Process and Easy Ride, and loved it! Reviews formed a part of my judgements in those days, but then you come to realize that reviews only give you a glympse of what the material is really about, you get the full picture yourself and no one else can aply you to it!

  • Moov

    ughh, i hope perez hilton stops releasing those snippets, it kills the surprise.

    • Leo

      WHAT SURPRISE ASSHOLE? U BOUGHT HARD CANDY IN 2010!!!

  • Pepper grison

    This is pop music (good pop music) that we will truly enjoy during the tour, why does it have to be reviewed like a philosophic essay ?
    I love what i have heard so far and cannot wait to get the whole thing !

  • mfan

    Well, sounds like this album is exactly the cobbled-together affair I was dreading it would be.

    Two thirds uninspired music with the wrong producers, and 2-3 interesting tracks that get lost in the shuffle. US radio already refuses to play ‘Girl Gone Wild’ – for a reason.

    Well done, Madonna, for releasing a sub-par album to your fans.

    Next time, work three years on your ALBUM, not on a film.

    • t

      first of all it is a good review. second of all who cares. you have to form your opinion after listening to the album yourself. third of all, if you were a madonna fan, you would not be so easily persuaded into thinking it’s a bed album. give it 3 months and you will probably know for sure whether you like it or not. however, if you dont like it keep in mind, somebody else might like her music. so be careful with your harsh opinions,and judgments.

    • Adrianotachi

      This is not a new thing USA refuse to play her song, since American life.maybe they will be playing her song when she ‘s gone to heaven like mj, whitney, blah blah blah .go with your feeling, if u don like MDNA .I don’t make any comment before I listen to whole album.if u think that Kelly clarkson, Katy petty, Rihanna or justin bieber is king or queens of USA because USA radio are playing their songs, be it.whether MDNA is a flop or not, u don lose anything, u can refuse to buy, the choice is yours.too much negativity in this site, and it’s come from her own so called loyal fans!

      • Moov

        those are not fans. “I love Madonna but she sucks nowadays…” is just the little monsters’ last trend.

  • mike

    A lot reviews but nothing to hear!

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