Friday, March 2, 2012

Attitude Magazine Reviews MDNA

Madonna: MDNA (Interscope)

Review by Matthew Todd, Attitude Magazine April 2012

There's a fun moment at the end of the video to the first single Give Me All Your Luvin’, when Madonna flings a baby doll off camera and away from her breast. It isn’t a subtle marker of starting anew with her loyal audience of gays and good-time girls, but it is comically satisfying nonetheless. Party Madonna is back and she wants us to know it.

Teaming up with producers Martin Solveig, Benny Benassi, The Demolition Crew and old hand William Orbit, MDNA is a dose of what she does best. While that may seem like just dance music, there is more to Madonna’s oeuvre than that.

Girls Gone Wild, the biggest pop stomper on the album, kicks off with a reference to Act of Contrition from Like a Prayer. The production might sound like she's been listening to a fair bit of Rihanna, but who’s counting. Madonna brings her own authority, creating the kind of anthemic party song that she does best, the kind where everyone from your three-year-old niece to your 60-year-old mother gets up on the dancefloor. Much of MDNA is about having fun, but despite that, this is a dark album. If Like a Prayer was her divorce record and Hard Candy suffered, one senses, from being put together as her relationship with Guy Ritchie was falling apart, then MDNA is a fuck you ­ to her marriage, the life that came with it, and partly to herself for losing her identity in a partnership. She’s out to recapture who she is, and she has demons to slay.

The strangely titled Gang Bang sees her singing in a weird theatrical drawl about taking revenge on a lover who ruined her life. ‘Shot you dead, shot my lover in the head…, I’m going straight to hell…, I’ve got a lot of friends there’, she deadpans before yelling, ‘Drive bitch, die bitch!’. It’s kind of stupid, kind of amazing, kind of funny and kind of fucked up ­ but gives the album one vital ingredient to Madonna's success that all contenders, apart from Lady Gaga, have never clued up on: drama.

The Solveig-produced I Don¹t Give A..., is one of the album's tour-de-force moments. Beginning by recounting a typical day, it becomes intensely honest, and is, as is her way, a telling-off of her critics. Love her or loathe her, Madonna has made her name by raising a middle finger to, well, just about everyone. ‘Wake up, this is your life, children on your own, gotta plan on the phone, meet the press, buy a dress, do all this to impress…, do ten things at once and if you don't like it I don't give a….’ It’s here that she makes specific reference to her ex-husband. ‘I tried to be the perfect wife, …I diminished myself…, it swallowed me, …if I was a failure then I don’t give a…’. The track builds to a genius, choral, almost Tim Burton-esque conclusion.

This strongest, most immediate section of MDNA continues with Turn Up the Radio, which begins like a delicate ballad as she pleads with the listener to stop for a moment, to get away from the world through music. It may sound trite but there's urgency in its simplicity. It transforms into the album’s most pounding moment, reaching a climax that threatens to blow the speakers. Some might find it unusually generic, but she makes it her own and fans will be happy to have a dancefloor filler that will shake the clubs and would happily find a slot on the next series of Glee.

One of the later highlights is Superstar, surely the sweetest song Madonna has released since Cherish. It twirls along, an open-top summer anthem, serenading a new lover with a hypnotic chorus. It¹s simple and pretty and a perfect song to sing on her summer concerts ­ and should definitely be a single.

MDNA ends, as recent Madonna albums do, with deep melancholia, from the Orbit-produced Falling Free, one of the saddest songs she’s ever written, through to the confessional I Fucked Up on the Deluxe Edition, accompanied by Beautiful Killer, a fun, 80s-sounding, strings-laced tribute to French actor Alain Delon.

Overall, this might not have the serious pop intensity of Confessions, it’s not as drastically new or experimental as music critics might like, but it’s fun, fucked up, dancey and full of drama. It’s what her fans have been waiting for: a wallop enough of an album to put her back up there, at checkmate against Lady Gaga, who, despite her brilliance, doesn’t quite give you songs that are as easy to disco dance to as some of these are. Is Madonna still ‘the Queen’ as Nicki Minaj gabs at one point? On the strength of MDNA, it’s hard to argue against.

[Note to Monsters: Lady Gaga is frikkin’ amazing, too. Don¹t kill us.]

4 STARS ****

MDNA is released on March 26 on Interscope


  1. finally, in a few days we'll be able to review it! and as much as i cannot wait for the to leak, i hope we'll have to wait till the 26th.onfused and anxious madonna fan here :)

  2. I can't wait for this album, it sounds incredible.

    And it's very telling that the reviewer felt the need to include that last line to ward off the notorious cyberbullying of the unstable Little Monsters.

  3. Great review. Really looking forward to "I Don't Give A..." - sounds incredible AND it features Ninki Minaj - who I'm beginning to LOVE. The Orbit section sounds wonderful too.

  4. Oh and the DRAMA of Gang Bang :) Tres titilating

  5. WTF Really, this critic is afraid of them tacky monsters? So over that big nose and her followers.

  6. Typo in the last line, it should've read:

    [Note to Monsters: Lady Gaga is boring and washed out. Accept it.]

    But this review sounds fantastic and I'm anticipating the album even MORE now.

    1. HA HA HA HA!!!I AGREE I love you John!
      why would attitude state [Note to Monsters: Lady Gaga is frikkin’ amazing, too. Don¹t kill us.]? are people starting to fear Little Monsters??? Why does that lady creature of nothing have to be in every Madonna article? I can not stand a the Lady FUG GAG fan base. God damn Bunch of fucking losers!

    2. Agree whole heartly!!xoxo

  7. M.D.N.A. sounds like its going to be conundrum of PURE POP/DANCE/CLUB GENIUS!! LIKE A BOSS!

  8. MDNA WILL HAVE IT ALL! Madonna is angry, ticked-off, enraged and sad. On the other hand, she is happy, transcendent, revitalized and ready to move on-in short, MDNA is rock & roll, done
    Madonna-style. There is a reason Madonna's in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Ohio locale of Cleveland-the start of the Midwest: Madonna is Loved. To quote the local Virginia Cracker from Richmond, Madonna is Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart!



  11. this sounds very promising. i'm really looking forward to hearing the whole body of work. i just read on 'rama that klaus ahlund and joe henry also collaborated on the album, which really excites me. how amazing is joe, i mean really?

    1. I dunno, how amazing is he? The only thing you have heard from him was, 'Don't Tell Me'. lolz

    2. And 'uilty By Association', which I find weird, hypnotic and interesting. Mostly because of the Madonna effect, of course :)

    3. and devil wouldn't recognize you. and I've seen him perform live. he covered don't tell me. and don't assume you know what I've heard.

    4. He didn't cover, 'Dont Tell Me', you tawt. He recorded it first as a song called, 'Stop'.

      Madonna 'covered' it.

      And I love Guilty, but don't care for Jump or Don't Tell Me (love the video).

      So he is hit or miss in my book. Great songwriter, though.

    5. ohh okay tony... love guilty, don't love jump or don't tell me, but like the video... got it. I'll be sure to note that down in my book called 'fascinating shit tony loves and hates'.

  12. Every review I have heard for this abum thus far has been possitive so yes I too am realy looking forweard to hearing this as a whole and hearing how GGW and GMAYL sound as part of it.

    Bring M, I dare you to biatch!

  13. more, and more, and more anxious.

  14. More and more excited about this album! The press HAS to mention gaga because of all the comparison to Madonna and gags success so far. Like the review read...It's hard to argue against the true QUEEN of LIFE.

  15. Another review: Tweets from Sergio, listening party.

    more tweets from Sergio:

    First things first: #MDNA is exactly what you think it is, a massive-boombastic-in-your-face-electric-don't-give-a-fuck-full-of-energy album

    Madonna sounds amazing! Gang Bang has so much attitude, it feels like an explosion, an atomic bomb, a massive fight between good and evil...

    Lola makes a guest appearance on Superstar, it's adorable, fun, with an amazing hook and I wanted to play it over and over and over again

    Falling Free is an ode to 60's, reminded me of Mer Girl, ambient, pretty, hypnotic and trippy.

    Throughout the entire album I just couldn't help but think that this is the most commercial Madonna album, full of hooks, energy and love.

    Beautiful Killer is my fave song, it's bad-ass, kick-ass & so f**king cool. No wonder it's a tribute to Alain Delon AKA France's James Dean

    Only Madonna can make lyrics like I f**ked Up sound beautiful and melancholy and yet so full of energy and life.

    #MDNA is Madonna's fuck-you to everyone who says she's past her prime, an emotional rollercoaster that takes u 2 the club & back 2 reality.

    #MDNA is not revolutionary, it's not new but it's now, it's current w/classic Madonna hooks, great & cheesy lyrics & it made me want 2 dance.

    Madonna sounds like she's having a blast, it has something for everyone, I think that every Madonna fan is going to have a diff fave song

    Love Spent is a beautiful mid-tempo pop record... It's Miles Away meets Nothing Fails meets Love Profussion, it was pretty & warm..

    The album is pop music at it's best... It has something for everyone, it's classic Madonna, it's current and it's fun...

    I honestly did not mind vocals on GGW, but compared to the rest of the album they did sound a bit flat... She sounds so alive

    Honestly, Give Me All Your Luvin is the only song on the album that sticks out like a sore thumb and @mattrett completely agrees...

    For me the album was a 9 out of 10, I could totally lose 1 or 2 songs...

    Honestly, and this is just my opinion, Bday Song was just ok... It did not move me like most of the songs on the album...

    For me, #MDNA as a full album is better than HardCandy or COADF, apart from Hung Up of course which is in my top 5...

    (On Turn Up The Radio) Straight up dance/pop record, it's fun, cheesy and current... It's not my fave but I wouldn't turn it off...

    Gang Bang is a speeding train going 100 miles an hour, u know u r about 2 crash, u hold on 4 your life & u love every sec


    Seems like an album full of life, fun and a little bit of everything we have come to love about Madonna. I am okay with it havinf a current sound as long as the music is of quality. Which it appears to be. I just hope it doesn't sound too dated in a few years time. But colour me excited! :D

  16. this is one of the better reviews yet! i love that they specifically give us some of the lyrics. thanks!!!

  17. little monsters' bullying attitude has become a threat lol

    what an amazing review! i can't wait to hear the whole thing!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. observation: almost a decade ago she was imploring us to 'trip the station, change the channel' and today were being instructed to 'turn up the radio'. I know it's just a lyric but i think it's indicative of a shift in her attitude, clearly.

  20. ... and music stations 'always played the same songs' and she was 'bored with the concept of right and wrong' and now, she wants 'so badly to be good'. you can't ever say I don't read into things, lol.