As Pop stars age they either embrace the change and adapt to attract a more mature audience or they battle against time in a desperate bid to keep the attention of the youth. In the case of Madonna’s ‘M.D.N.A.’, we are presented with an unusual paradox as the icon does her best to balance the appeal of her own sound with the music of her younger counterparts.
Madonna’s attempt to curb the effects of aging is truly glaring flaw in ‘M.D.N.A.’. Indeed, as an artist who has always been as the cusp of new trends, Madonna struggles to keep up with her younger peers who currently dominate the fields of Dance/Pop.
Before we discuss the points where Madonna faults on ‘M.D.N.A.’, let’s highlight the winning moments on the album. Indeed, similar to her ‘Sex’ book, we’ll start from the top and work our way down.
When the Dance music beats are dialed to full volume and the bass is let loose, Madonna is at the very best in all her yoga choreography glory. The exciting single ‘Girl Gone Wild’ and the intoxicating ‘I’m Addicted’, which were both produced by Alle Benassi and Benny Benassi, are among the strongest tracks on ‘M.D.N.A’, thanks to roaring synths that clearly target the club crowd.
Yet, perhaps the strongest track on ‘M.D.N.A.’ is the vulgar, dark and bass-heavy ‘Gang Bang’. Despite being over five minutes long, the tune never falls flat as producers William Orbit and The Demolition Crew drive chest-thumping beats beneath Madonna’s grotesque lyrics; each facet of the track bolstering the others to create a hypnotising record.
Other standout songs on ‘M.D.N.A.’ include the should-have-been-a-single ‘Beautiful Killer’ and ‘Turn Up the Radio’. Interestingly, although Madonna clearly recycles the arrangement of her hit single ‘Beautiful Stranger’ on the song ‘I’m a Sinner’, the tune is still a solid effort with climbing key changes that construct a catchy melody.
Now, it’s time for use to address the bad side of ‘M.D.N.A.’. Get your boots ready because we are about to wade through some grade-A filth.
Madonna is not a talented singer and without blaring production to distract us from that fact, her vocal performances are even more appalling. For instance, the worst song on ‘M.D.N.A.’, ‘Best Friend’, is a blatant insult to anybody with ears. Madonna’s voice is paper thin, she basically speaks through the entire song and even a layer of auto-tune can’t make her sound better or help her to stay on-key.
‘Love Spent’ is yet another example of why Madonna should never leave home without her Star Wars Darth Vader voice-changer or at least a portable fan. Of course, we all know what goes wrong on the ‘M.D.N.A.’ lead single, ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’ (Ft. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.)’ – Madonna recorded it.
Still, it would be a lie to say that Madonna sounds horrendous on every song. Honestly, her award-winning ‘Masterpiece’ and ‘Falling Free’ are both beautiful records. The latter tune demonstrates Madonna singing in a comfortable part of her range and despite the fact that everybody except Cassie could easily handle the song, she still does the drifting melodies of the song justice with her subtle vocal performance.
“At the age of 53 years, Madonna still finds herself trying to fit in with today’s youth, probably by stealing her daughter’s iPod to discover what the young whippersnappers enjoy.”
Regarding Madonna’s battle against her age, tracks such as ‘Some Girls’, ‘B-Day Song (Ft. M.I.A.)’ and ‘I Don’t Give A (Ft. Nicki Minaj)’ exemplify how menopause affects the judgement of some women. At the age of 53 years, Madonna still finds herself trying to fit in with today’s youth, probably by stealing her daughter’s iPod to discover what the young whippersnappers enjoy. You know, with our Hippity Hops and all that Snoopy Dogg music.
Rounding out ‘M.D.N.A.’ album is ‘Superstar’. Why did I leave this song for last? Truthfully, I forgot about the song and that’s why I’m not going to waste the next few minutes of life…wait, what are we discussing again?
All in all, ‘M.D.N.A.’ presents Madonna trying her best to keep her younger audience interested in an aging superstar. By recycling her own hits and following the trends of others, Madonna finds herself caught in limbo, thus proving the scientific fact that all stars eventually destroy themselves and sink into black holes. In case you were wondering, that joke was not another reference to Madonna’s ‘Sex’ book.
Standout tracks: ‘Girl Gone Wild’, ‘Gang Bang’, ‘Falling Free’, ‘Beautiful Killer’ and ‘I’m Addicted’
Weakest track: ‘Best Friend’
Possible singles: ‘Turn Up the Radio’, ‘I Don’t Give A (Ft. Nicki Minaj)’ and ‘I’m Addicted’
The Lava Lizard Rating: 3/5 Stars