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MDNA – The Independent Review

Madonna shows the new generation of divas she’s still top of the pops
4 out of 5 stars

With digital technology making it possible to create hits quite acceptably in your spare room, the older studios are feeling the pinch, and keen to find new ways of monetising their profile. Which may be why Abbey Road’s Studio 2, is tonight playing host to a playback of the new Madonna album, MDNA.

She’s opted to work primarily with three co-producers, the Italian Marco “Benny” Benassi, Frenchman Martin Solveig, and Englishman William Orbit – all of them celebrated for their cutting-edge work in electronica. Orbit, of course, has worked with Madonna before, helming the hugely successful Ray Of Light album; but he’s not the only echo of former glories present on MDNA, which at times seems determined to remind one of her previous achievements.

There’s the faint melodic similarity to “Hung Up” in part of “Give Me All Your Luvin'”; the reference to Brando in the obvious hit single “Superstar”, which reminds us of “Vogue”; and the religious undertones of “I’m A Sinner”, with its lines about “Mother Mary, full of grace” and “Jesus Christ up on the cross”, which is like a less complex play with the same themes so brilliantly manipulated in “Like A Prayer”.

Is she, one wonders, bringing the full weight of her CV to bear in re-establishing her pop dominance in the face of inroads made by the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga? Because MDNA represents a determined, no-nonsense restatement of the Madonna brand following the lacklustre Hard Candy, on which her hip-hop collaborators failed to apply their talents as rigorously as they might.

Here, the likes of Solveig and Benassi, for all their parochial successes, are still hungry enough to ensure the zonking great beats and synthesiser riffs are sculpted for maximum propulsion. “Girl Gone Wild” opens the album with a variant on the “girls just wanna have fun” theme, Madonna’s introductory spoken “confession” quickly giving way to a fulsome electro stomper laced with blurry dubstep touches. “Gang Bang” is all too eager to court controversy, its martial beat and twitchy minimal strands of synth hosting the star’s arch commands to “Die, bitch!”. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj guest on “Give Me All Your Luvin'”, chanting “L! U! V! Madonna!” before contributing babble-raps swamped by the techno pulse.

Minaj reappears on “I Don’t Give A”, like a henchman adding muscle to Madonna’s assertive claims of being the best: “There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, bitch!”. Wherever Lady Gaga is, her ears are probably burning.


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  • mfan

    Well, Lady Haha and Madonna are BOTH producing shit music now, so I don’t see how one is better than the other these days.

    Madonna was brilliant from 1983 to 2000, and again in 2005. At least we can always admire her back catalogue.

    But musically, she’s over.

  • Kim

    It’s all club crap..Madonna’s creativity is dead, long gone. As a true Madonna fan for years, I’m extremely disappointed.

    • mfan

      I agree.

      All my worries about this album are turning out to be accurate.

      It’s a hodgepodge of gimmicks, instead of real songs of lasting quality.

      Boo, Madonna, boooo!

  • Prue

    I am soo pleased to see that MDNA is getting such positive feedback and positive reviews, from both sides of the pond of the listening parties! There is so much more to come from Madonna and MDNA. It will be a world party all over again with Madonna at the helm, telling us to get on the dance floor and celebrate!

    And one more thing,… LG’s ear are def burning, and she’s probably taking notes, from Professor Madonna. ;)

  • Scott Morgan


  • Rabbitbunny

    Agreed with this Review! Madonna is still Our Lady Evita Rock Queen. No doubt, Michigan’s favorite brilliant mother/motherless daughter of Revolution and Reinvention has another Masterpiece on her hands!

    • The Queen


  • The Queen

    “There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, bitch!”. Wherever Lady Gaga is, her ears are probably burning.