4 stars (Q Recommendeds)
Madonna’s last album was a dud. American Life, released in 2003, was phase three of her electronic renaissance, one that started with Ray of Light (1998) and continued with Music (2000). Belatedly getting down with the trendy dance producers of the day suited her: between them, those two albums sold around 30 million copies.
On American Life, the wheels fell off her disco bandwagon. A rotten Bond theme (containing the immortal line, “Sigmund Freud, analyse this!”), artwork apparently inspired by Frank Spencer and a wishy-washy anti-US stance conspired to produce 5 million sales, a career low. Amazon are currently trading copies for £1.75.
Yet American Life offered prescient words to anoyne calling time on her appeal to a pop audience. “I don’t want an easy ride,” went the final track. “What I want is to work for it/ Feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips.” Madonna, a ruthless careerist from day one, has always known when to come out fighting. Anyone who can sit through a Guy Ritchie premiere with broken bones and three cracked ribs is clearly made of sterner stuff than the rest of us.
Confessions… is her strongest album since Ray of Light. Its relentless drive is marked by an incessant bass drum that doesn’t let up for an hour – if your neighbours buy a copy, you’ll know about it – and the fact it’s mixed like a DJ set: no gaps, no ballads. Mirwais, the producer whose Daft Punk-with-Tourette’s sound marked previous albums, is sidelined to a two-track co-write. Stuart Price, “musical director” on recent tours, takes most of the credits. Best known as remixer Jacques Lu Cont, Price favours a pastiche of ’80s electro – his last work accompanied a car advert featuring a breakdancing hatchback. But here he takes Madonna somewhere else: the gay nightclub.
Opening “Hung Up” sets the pace, a six-minute mash-up of boogie bassline and ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. You can practically smell the amyl nitrate. “Sorry” is catchier; a tune that nudges hi-NRG and a lyric of bloke-done-wrong that’s equal parts “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair” and ’90s gay club favourite “Short Dick Man”. “I Love New York” couldn’t be more blatant in its claim to be that city’s 3am anthem if it came with an edict from Mayor Bloomberg. Elsewhere, there’s Giorgio Moroder basslines, dramatic strings and the sound of marching boots. Thrilling stuff.
It stumbles on “Isaac”, which may or may not concern Kabbalah teacher Isaac Friedin and marries chanting to a too-fast tune. “Jump,” likewise isn’t quite the copper-bottomed pop song it thinks it is. These are minor gripes. Madonna’s 12th album proper is up there with her best. Analyse that. Johnny David
source : madonnanation / suedehead
Q Magazine Confessions On A Dance Floor Review
4 stars (Q Recommendeds)