Hung Up was at #5 on TRL today. Click here and keep voting for Madonna.
Hung Up was at #5 on TRL today. Click here and keep voting for Madonna.
Hung Up debuted at #1 in Italy. Click here to see the full list.
The defining moment of the new Madonna album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, arrives during the song I Love New York. Over a pulsing synthesizer, a ticking clock, a rumbling timpani and countless other perfectly calibrated whirs and beeps, Madonna declares, “I don’t like cities, but I like New York/Other places make me feel like a dork.” This is not the most ridiculous lyric ever uttered in a pop song–that remains “Yummy yummy yummy/I got love in my tummy.” Still, it is awfully silly, and before you press on with the album, you will need to ask yourself, Am I a serious person who listens to music for intellectual enlightenment and makes it a point of pride not to dance under any circumstances? Or am I merely a semi-serious person who makes it a point not to be seen dancing under any circumstances?
If you’re the former, Confessions on a Dance Floor is not for you. If you’re the latter, close the blinds. Because the words get goofier, and the song gets faster, and pretty soon all you hear are echoes of Madonna’s voice behind a glossy thump and a grinding guitar hook. It is possible to remain still while that happens, but only if you are made of wood.
For all her shape shifting, Madonna has always been most comfortable when she’s dancing–or singing about dancing (“You can dance, for inspiration,” she proclaimed with adorable plasticity on Into the Groove back in 1985). After her dour 2003 album, American Life, she has migrated back to her safe place, and it’s nice to hear her strutting again. Almost all of Confessions feels like I Love New York–exuberant, campy, shameless and cool. The songs flow into one another with no regard for things like track numbers (the album is premixed, as opposed to remixed), and nuggets of dance history–from the sample of Abba’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! that anchors the massively catchy first single, Hung Up, to the buried bars of Like a Prayer that pop up for a few seconds–float by like glittery party favors. But what you notice most is the pure ecstasy of sound. It’s not a Phil Spector–type wall but a galaxy, filled with collisions and comets zooming from speaker to speaker.
Madonna detractors will point out that most of this wizardry is the work of other people, notably Stuart Price, the British producer who has accumulated a dozen or so musical aliases (Les Rhythms Digitales, Paper Faces) in his 28 years on the planet. She didn’t break too many pencils working on the lyrics either, but as Mrs. Ritchie might say on the manor, horses for courses. In dance music, words exist to be repeated, twisted, obscured and resurrected. How they sound in the moment is far more important than what they mean, and Madonna knows that better than anyone. Confessions on a Dance Floor is 56 minutes of energetic moments. It will leave you feeling silly for all the right reasons.
Madonna’s next CD — her 10th studio album — is arriving in stores this week, and we know that some of you won’t be able to think about anything else until you’ve got “Confessions on a Dance Floor” pumping through your headphones. While we waited, we asked the biggest Madonna fan we know to give us his track-by-track review of her latest release.
Let me start off by saying that I love this album! (Was there any question?) She sounds fresh, and the entire thing is driven by beats, with each song flowing into the next. It’s much easier to digest than “American Life,” which was, of course, good — but with that record, she was a bit too “hung up” on making a political statement.
This is my jam! It pulls you in with the ABBA sample, and then totally hooks you. Do not try to resist the groove. You simply can’t. You must dance! I like how the song moves in waves, building and crescendoing several times. It’s definitely her best dance song since “Music.”
This is a very fluid song. I love the shout-out to the SOS Band’s “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” This should be the next single.
No, wait! This should be the next single. I’m feeling a Basement Jaxx vibe with this one. The beat is crazy good. When you need a “fuck-off” song to shake your ass to, this is the one!
It opens with an “I Feel Love” sample, but this song is from the future. I can already see the video: Madonna as an astronaut. Her spaceship crashes on some distant planet. She encounters the hottest club in outer space, complete with sexy aliens. To sing this song, she should definitely wear a silver catsuit with stilettos.
“I Love New York”
Did she just rhyme “New York” with “dork”? OK, the lyrics to this song are silly, but the beats make up for it. For this video, she’ll be walking down the street in a torn-up “I (heart) New York” T-shirt. People will start to follow her, a few at a time. Pretty soon, the streets of New York will become a huge nightclub. Disco balls will fall from the sky.
“Let It Will Be”
What is “it”? This song makes no sense. She shifts gears a bit here with a strings intro, and goes on to sing about the price of fame. Oh, it’s so difficult to be famous! Who cares? Let’s dance!
Computer-generated vocals, a la Kraftwerk … this would be a great song for commercials if she releases another fragrance: “Forbidden Love — by Madonna.” At any rate, it’s a hundred times better than that duet with Babyface from “Bedtime Stories.”
A spoken-word intro! I love it when Madonna talks to me! Hmmm. “Rescue Me,” anyone? The best part of this one is the bridge: hand-claps into strings into the digitized speaking. The fadeout sounds just like the one in “Runaway Lover.”
This song builds slowly. She sings “nobody’s perfect … I guess I deserve it.” When you can’t think of lyrics, just insert your own song titles! More about how it’s hard being famous. We get it, Madge.
She got a lot of crap for this song, but it rocks! This track can be described in three words: Kab. Bal. Ah. No one ever said Madonna was subtle. It’s got this hook that I can’t get out of my head. I have no idea what she’s singing, but I’ll bet that if you play it backwards, it says, “Buy the red-string bracelet.”
“Push” it real good! She sings, “You push me.” Is this song about her trainer? Her spiritual guru? Guy Ritchie? Someone who jostled her at an awards show? Whatever. It goes down easy.
“Like It or Not”
She’s got a “Fever” in this one, but it’s a nice way to ease out of the CD. It’s got this great acoustic guitar “outro” that signals the dance floor is emptying, the house lights are coming on, and now the nightclub is closed. It’s time to go home.
You’d think that after the likes of “Swept Away” and her last album, the bland “American Life”, people would have actually got tired of writing off Madonna, and instead decided to expend some rare positive energy in the direction of her heirs apparent, the likes of Gwen Stefani and, erwell, the point is that in today’s cluttered synthetic pop landscape there’s still no-one quite like Madonna, where every new album is an experiment, a branching into new audio and visual territories.
The impact of “Confessions On A Dancefloor” then is akin to what would happen if Radiohead’s next album was a 45-minute “Bends”-esque guitar assault. It’s both a glorious nod to the past, yet firmly of the 21st century; streamlined and clinical to within an inch of its life, “Confessions” is state-of-the-art house. It sounds expensive, tasteful and thrilling (a description you suspect many Madonna fans would apply to themselves). Much of the credit should be placed at the feet of Stuart Price, who produces the majority of this collection. Better known to indie kids as Jacques Lu Cont, it’s like he’s been given free reign here to make the Les Rhythmes Digitales album of his dreams.
The decision to run the album as one seamless whole is also an inspired one. From the squelchy bass of “Sorry” to the “Blue Monday” referencing “Future Lovers”, every track becomes one filtered gem within a monster of a mix, of which the biggest compliment is that it’s rarely noticeable.
Whether it’ll stand up as a truly great record this time next year is almost besides the point. As concise a slice of disco euphoria as the recent Kate Bush comeback was bloated and messy, “Confessions” is a magnificent kick to the nether regions of modern dance music. Like Madonna sings on the closing “Like It Or Not”: “Celebrate me for who I am”?
Rated : 4.5/5
The protest-singer reinvention didn’t work out the way she planned. So is it any wonder that Madonna goes back to what she does best on her latest studio album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (Warner Bros.)?
It’s a welcome move after her 2003 release, “American Life.” Even Madonna’s fans didn’t like the idea of their heroine expressing Deep Thoughts over folk guitars and dull beats, or no beats at all. It stands as the sole musical flop in the singer’s career, barely topping 500,000 sales — a career for many artists, but a bust for a celebrity accustomed to only big splashes.
“Confessions on a Dance Floor” trades in the acoustic guitar for Big Beats tailored by Madonna and her dance-savvy collaborators, primarily co-producer Stuart Price (the musical director on her last two tours).
Since emerging in the early ’80s, Madonna has forged a well-deserved reputation as a moving target who is difficult to pin down and impossible to predict. She has made a career out of always coming up with a new sound, a new look, a new gimmick. “Confessions” breaks with that tradition: It’s unapologetic Retro Madonna.
The album threads 12 tracks into 56 continuous minutes of old-school disco, kicking off with a vintage ABBA sample on “Hung Up.” With bass lines galloping, kick drums thumping and ping-ponging synthesizers echoing down halls illuminated by spinning mirror balls, the music throws down and throws back to early Madonna, circa “Holiday” and “Get Into the Groove.”
Over the top of these robust rhythms, Madonna spreads the secret ingredient of classic disco. She understands that it wasn’t just the joy of dancing to the likes of Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” or Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” that made them timeless fragments of pop music, but the yearning vocal melodies.
Madonna taps into that impulse on “Hung Up,” “Get Together” and “Sorry”; these are songs that wrestle with emotional turmoil while they work up a sweat. On “Future Love,” she pays homage to Summer and the Euro-disco pulse of producer Giorgio Moroder. The song builds to a breathtaking swirl of wordless vocals before swooping back for one more ride through the neon night.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, “I Love New York” brims with cringe-worthy lines, especially when Madonna rhymes “New York” with “dork.”
Introspection begins to intrude on the fun during the album’s second half. Earnest life lessons have been creeping into Madonna’s work since “Ray of Light” (1998), and her sanctimony sunk “American Life.” On “Confessions,” trouble usually starts when Madonna turns down the music so she can talk the lyrics. The song “Like It Or Not” informs us that “life is a paradox and it doesn’t make much sense.” Madonna also defends her purity against her critics: “I’ll be the garden, you’ll be the snake/All my fruit is yours to take.”
But most of these missteps are lost in the seductive whirl of melody and groove.
“Was it all worth it? . . . Will any of this matter?” Madonna asks during “How High,” but the answers won’t matter to her fans when they hear most of these tunes. They’ll be out on the dance floor, begging the deejay to pump up the volume.
“I’ve heard it all before,” Madonna sings over and over again on “Sorry,” one of a dozen offerings on her allegedly new but remarkably deja vu 11th studio album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor,” which arrives in record stores Tuesday.
The 47-year-old mother of two is singing to an errant lover — “I don’t wanna hear, I don’t wanna know / Please don’t say you’re sorry” — but she might as well be expressing the thoughts of the average listener, those of us who don’t worship at the foot of Our Lady of Ciccone but who’ve admittedly (and perhaps against our best instincts) found some pleasure from time to time during her absurdly hyped 22-year career.
We have indeed heard it all before: the helium warble disco; the dark, twisted-fantasy bedroom grooves; the laughably bad stabs at musical theater; the failed attempts to go techno; the electronically tweaked folk schmaltz. At this point, what could Maddy, the distaff David Bowie and pop’s second most infamous musical chameleon and plunderer/popularizer of underground sounds, possibly do to surprise us?
Nothing, really, and she knows it. So like the U2 of the last two albums or the Rolling Stones of the last two decades, she has made an unsurprising, thoroughly predictable and decent but no big “wow” Madonna-by-numbers self-tribute.
This is better than her last disc, 2003′s “American Life,” with its failed attempts to rap and its increasingly annoying New Age navel-gazing. But it certainly doesn’t have the edgy thrill of Madonna at her finest, circa 1992′s “Erotica.”
The musical engine this time around, producer Stuart Price, a k a Les Rhythmes Digitales, goes old-school, powering the opening “Hung Up” with an ABBA sample, quoting the Tom Tom Club, vaguely Middle Eastern folk music and bits of Maddy’s own career, and running the tunes together like an energetic, ready-made DJ set, albeit one designed for a family wedding rather than a rave or a hip after-hours dance club.
There are those who will argue that discussing Madonna’s lyrics is a pointless exercise, since she has never had anything to say, but I disagree: Her expertly calculated button-pushing may have always been extremely superficial, but it was at least amusing. Alas, the statements here (such as they are) are as familiar and as safe as the sounds.
We learn, for example, that Madonna still loves New York, and that other places make her “feel like a dork” (“I Love New York”); that she still confuses sex and religion (“Connect to the sky / Future lovers ride there in mission style / Would you like to try?” she croons in “Future Love”); and that her Kabbalah-inspired philosophizing is still inscrutable mumbo jumbo (“Isaac” comes complete with a spoken-word interlude of Hebrew chanting; oy vey!).
Oh, Madonna is also still entirely too fond of herself and hubristic in seizing what she views as her rightful place in the pop pantheon, her brand of mysticism seemingly unopposed to false pride. “It’s funny, I spent my whole life wanting to be talked about / I did it, just about everything to see my name in lights / Was it all worth it? And how did I earn it? / Nobody’s perfect, I guess I deserve it,” she sings in “How High.”
Sure, Maddy. And Bono was robbed when he didn’t get the Nobel Peace Prize, and Mick Jagger really oughta be president of the World Bank. We demand a recount!
Still, for all of these gripes, “Confessions on a Dance Floor” is a fun ride, zipping by with a guilty pleasure sugar rush of hummable hooks and husky-voiced cooing, the more mature voice of Madonna’s late career being infinitely preferable to the fingernails on the chalkboard chirp of her early days. And as I said, it’s ideal for family weddings.
Grandma deserves to boogie, too, and Madonna has provided a decent disco soundtrack, with the best songs ready to slip in easily right after “Believe” by Cher and just before that sure-fire crowd-pleaser, “YMCA” by the Village People.
Madonna has headed back to the disco for her new album, Confessions on a Dancefloor, which is released in the UK on Monday. It has earned her some of the best reviews of her 22-year career.
In stark contrast to 2003′s introspective American Life album, she has dusted off her glitterball, strapped on her pink stilettos and sampled Abba on latest hit single Hung Up.
Has Madonna reinvigorated her music career, or is she merely throwing one final dance party for her long-term fans before settling down to record more sedate material?
“Dance music fans may be unconvinced by Madonna’s new image as it no longer reflects her real life,” says DJ magazine’s features editor Carl Loben.
“Madonna embraced the early stages of New York club culture in the 1980s but I doubt she has been into a club for years.”
However, Mr Loben says Madonna was very astute to work on her new album with Stuart Price, the respected producer and remixer behind dance acts Les Rythmes Digitales and Zoot Woman.
The fact that Madonna is releasing a second continuous DJ mix version of Confessions on a Dancefloor will also appeal to dance music fans, Mr Loben says.
“Clubbers are generally open to any music as long as it sounds good on the dancefloor.”
While clubbers are relatively unconcerned by the age of an artist, Madonna has been permanently ousted from the cover of Smash Hits magazine by acts such as teen stars McFy and Son of Dork.
Staff writer Ian Eddy says teenage music fans judge Madonna on a song-by-song basis.
“Pop fans are a bit fickle,” he says. “If her next single is a bit of a dud they won’t bother with it.”
Smash Hits readers were divided in their opinion of Madonna’s promo video for her single Hung Up, in which the 47-year-old contorts herself in a pink leotard and flirts with young dancers.
“A lot of our readers are saying Madonna has still got it, that she is still youthful,” says Mr Eddy, “but some say she should grow old a bit more gracefully.”
Young pop stars may cite Madonna as a music or fashion influence, but teenage music fans “just don’t have the same affection for her as people in their 30s do”.
Madonna’s most loyal fan group has been gay men, which gay magazine Axm attributes to her eye for fashion and music trends, and her ever-changing image.
“Many gay people want to break away from their past, and every six months Madonna goes into a cocoon then emerges as a new butterfly,” says Axm editor Matt Miles.
She strengthened her gay and lesbian fanbase by challenging sexual and religious convention in promo videos such as Like A Prayer and Justify My Love, suggestive live performances and 1992′s explicit Sex photo book.
“Madonna’s gay audience has always been very forgiving, perhaps too forgiving,” says Mr Miles. “It would take an awful lot to put gay men off her.”
Mr Miles says it is understandable why Madonna would want to “throw herself back into the gay bosom” with a new hi-energy album, after the relative failure of American Life.
“Why not? It doesn’t seem too cynical, and it worked for Kylie Minogue. It is as if Madonna is sampling the 1980s but making it better.”
Gay fans believe Madonna’s career will match the longevity of that other iconic US singer, Cher. If her songs match her ambition, she may also retain her revived mainstream audience.
Mr Eddy says: “Madonna really thinks of herself as young. I can’t see her sticking to dance music but she could easily come back in a few years with something fresh.”
“Madonna may return to the slower beats of her Ray of Light album or move into torch songs,” adds Mr Miles. “She would probably like to turn herself into a cartoon, and is kicking herself that Gorillaz got there first.”
He concludes: “She is pushing 50 and still looks great. I wouldn’t put it past her to be swinging off a trapeze at the age of 60.”
source : bbc.co.uk