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Album Review by Tom Beninate
Madonna -
MDNA
Summary


Produced by (exec) Madonna, (co-exec) Klas Åhlund, Alle Benassi, Benny Benassi, The Demolition Crew, Free School, Jimmy Harry, Michael Malih, Hardy "Indiigo" Muanza, William Orbit, and
Martin Solveig.

MDNA is Madonna’s twelfth studio album. There are more than 120 credits listed on this album including several songwriters and producers. Essentially, the first eight songs on this record are dance club oriented tracks and the final four tunes are mainstream pop.

Earlier in her career, Madonna wrote fresh and somewhat controversial dance club music where she created a huge, unique niche for herself.  Unfortunately for her, the EDM movement moved forward and the first eight tracks of MDNA show a desperate Madonna trying to catch up with unoriginal “me-too” type stuff. The three singles released from this CD are “Give Me All Your Luvin’”, “Girl Gone Wild”, and “Turn Up The Radio”. All three fall into the dance club variety.

The last four tracks are an entirely different story. Here, we have that classic Madonna who actually spent time to some write good music. Although none of these tunes are spectacular, “Masterpiece” is clearly the best song on this record. This is not to say that Madonna can no longer write great dance music. But when doing so, she should write from within her very talented capabilities and not copy what other artists are doing simply for the sake of being current.

Obviously, Madonna lovers will buy this CD. The rest of us should simply pass on the album, or at most, just order the download of one or two of her better tracks at the end of this record. Again, my pick would be “Masterpiece”.


Songs


01 Girl Gone Wild The familiar Madonna style is updated for today’s EDM. The usual controversial lyrics are also included. It is obvious that Lady Gaga copied Madonna’s style. With this one, Madonna returned the favor by coping Lady Gaga.

02 Gang Bang This ridiculous tune is loaded with silly sound effects and sillier lyrics. What else is there to say?

03 I’m Addicted is a run-of-the-mill, uninspiring track that is full of sound effects. That’s it.

04 Turn Up The Radio Here we have a reasonable good dance track. Unfortunately, it is essentially a compilation of previously released tunes. I would rather listen to the originals.

05 Give Me All Your Luvin’ Like the previous track, this song has those familiar chord progressions and melody. But be patient, there are only three more tunes like this to go until we get to the better stuff.

06 Some Girls This David Guerta influenced track is a good example of Madonna copying what is currently being playing on the radio. There is simply no authenticity here.

07 Superstar Here is a really silly track with grade school lyrics. You would think someone without experience would release this one.

08 I Don’t Give A The title of this tune is appropriate. Apparently, Madonna must have been thinking “I Don’t Give A” when she recorded this one.

09 I’m A Sinner This is first of four pop songs. Although it is a good song, much of it is borrowed from her past.

10 Love Spent is the second in a row of reasonable well-written songs. It is not a great Madonna tune but it is at least listenable.

11 Masterpiece This is the best song on the record. It goes to show that Madonna is still capable of writing good music. If more tracks sounded as good as this one MDNA would have been a much better CD.

12 Falling Free Here is another good tune. It is the second best song on the record. The arrangement here is appropriate yet could have included a good hook to bring this track over the top.


Components


Songwriting For a songwriter as good as Madonna, MDNA is clearly below average. The two exceptions are “Masterpiece” and “Falling Free”. One wonders why you would get this level of songwriting from the team of several brand-name writers who were involved with this project.

Arranging Some arrangements are okay but most are below par. Again, this is an unexpected result from more than a dozen songwriters and producers.

Album Presentation Everything looks professional and works nicely with MDNA. Between the album title and cover, sufficient media buzz was attained when this album was released. One would expect that result when you have a large budget and team of professionals to work with.

Artwork The record’s artwork was shot by Mert and Marcus and was directed by Giovanni Bianco. It is important for an artist like Madonna to get good buzz from an album’s artwork. In the end, the buzz came through.

Originality Quite simply, this is not Madonna’s finest record. Most of this record seemed to be copied from her past work or copied from other artist’s songs. Once again, “Masterpiece” and “Falling Free” had the most originality.

Performance There’s nothing outstanding here. But generally speaking, Madonna is a professional and with MDNA we get a professional record.  
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Review date: February 25, 2014
Artist: Madonna
Album Title: MDNA
Artist's website:
www.madonna.com
©2012 Interscope Records

Rating:
out of 5

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