Review Summary: And no one is surprised.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
To survive in the music world, an artist must have the persistent attitude and dedication to strive for relevance and creativity to set them apart from the rest. A classic definition of this would be the fame of Madonna. Producing hits since her first album released in the early 80’s, Madonna has continually shaped her image and music style with constant reinvention on each album she has released. Without introduction her reputation proceeds her, but there comes a time when an artist has been around for so long that they have to decide when the right time is to close up shop and let the classics they have created rest in peace and no longer fight the battle for relevance.
With her new album titled MDNA, it becomes clear to everyone but perhaps Madonna herself that maybe the time for her to throw in the towel is a bit overdue. Frankly MDNA is not a bad album, there has definitely been some worse pop music released in the past year, I’m talking to you Britney, but the fact is Madonna is 53 years old. It becomes a little difficult to listen to a woman of that age sing sex-fueled dance floor-ready singles like “Girl Gone Wild” or “Give Me All Your Luvin’” without tilting your head and saying, “really Madonna?”
Another issue the album has is that it quite unfortunately shows that Madonna no longer can push the envelope. Her classic albums of the past like “True Blue” or “Like a Prayer” were revolutionary for their time and set new standards for pop music. With MDNA though, there is nothing presented that you would not expect. The entire first half of the album is dance heavy beats about fame and partying. While some of these songs are done well, like the slow building “I’m Addicted” or the pounding “I Don’t Give A” which features Nicki Minaj, others are just painfully rough like “Superstar” which has some of the most poorly written lyrics of Madonna’s entire discography.
The second half of the album still uses these recycled dance beats but much more slowed down and show Madonna at her most “sentimental,” using that word lightly though because the emotion that Madonna tries to convey just seems so painfully forced. The only truly good slower song is the album closer, “Fallin Free” which avoids the bass heavy beats that had cursed the rest of MDNA and instead opts for a more simplistic string section which provides a great backup for Madonna’s voice which is still unfortunately obviously auto tuned, but not bad enough to make the song unlistenable.
As cruel as it sounds, MDNA has very nearly set in stone that Madonna has become a nostalgic has-been. While she can continue to push out as many albums as she wants, it will be hard for her to return to the top of the mountain where she once reigned. Though that is not to suggest that this typical, and extremely marketable album is not a fun listen, it will never be, nor was expected to be, anything more.