Madonna's MDNA draws mixed reactions

2012-03-27 15:41
Los Angeles - The music doesn't stop for pop icon Madonna, and neither does the controversy, as the 53-year-old 'Queen of Pop' returns to the spotlight with her latest album MDNA.

The up-tempo record MDNA sees Madonna continue her love affair with dance music in an album dedicated to club-friendly tracks.

And Madonna has lost none of her ability to push boundaries, just as she did 25 years ago with themes of sexuality and youth rebellion.

The title, MDNA - an allusion to the drug MDMA or ecstasy - has caused a stir, while the music video for the second single, Girl Gone Wild, has been slapped with an age restriction after YouTube deemed it too raunchy for under 18 year-olds.

The video, shot in black and white, sees the singer writhing and grinding with scantily dressed men, in a style similar to her Erotica days, when the video for her song Justify My Love, was banned by MTV in 1990.

Madonna has said that the title meaning of her 12th studio album is threefold - a reduction of her name, an abbreviation for "Madonna DNA", and a reference to ecstasy and the euphoria often experienced by its users.

'Fallen behind'

But some music critics haven't exactly been blown away despite Madonna recruiting a bevy of top dance music producers, including house music DJ Benny Benassi, electro-pop duo LMFAO and her Grammy-winning Ray of Light album producer William Orbit.

Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times gave the album two out of four stars, saying it doesn't "offer much in the way of innovation" and that the iconic singer had "fallen behind...she is no longer setting the conversation in a genre she essentially invented".

The songs are tied together with hard bass beats and electro-synth tunes in uptempo dance songs like Gang Bang and Girl Gone Wild, where the matriarch of modern pop music sings lyrics like "I know good girls don't misbehave, misbehave, but I'm a bad girl anyway."

Falling Free is one of the few tracks that change pace from the album's dance-core theme, described by Billboard's Keith Caulfield as a "gorgeous ballad".

The Golden Globe-winning song Masterpiece from the soundtrack of Madonna's film W.E. also stood out with its delicate acoustic guitar melody.

'Swallowed my life'

The singer doesn't shy away from her personal life, with lyrics such as "I tried to be your wife, diminish myself, and swallowed my life", in I Don't Give A, featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, seen as an allusion to her former marriage with British director Guy Ritchie.

Billboard's Keith Caulfield called the album "a collection of thoroughly pumping pop tunes, some of which are slices of sheer brilliance" and also praising tracks such as Gang Bang.

Alexis Petridis of British newspaper The Guardian, gave the album three out of five stars, calling it "business as usual" for the pop star.

Petridis added: "What's striking isn't that Madonna is still with much as where she still is: a commanding presence at the absolute centre of pop, as capricious and changeable a genre as music has to offer."

But Nitsuh Abebe of New York Magazine said "a lot of the music here feels hollow and strained...There is much expensive workmanship and machine-tooling around here, but not much...Madonna."


  • colin.langley - 2012-03-27 16:45

    Madonna is not relevant anymore....retire please

  • Piet - 2012-03-27 17:14

    Madonna....why isn't she dead already?

  • - 2012-03-27 17:55

    It's over grandma- let go. Hack

  • sarah.j.long1 - 2012-03-27 20:33

    I really thing she should hang up her leotard etc. She is mutton dressed up as lamb. I agree - Retire

  • Grant - 2012-03-28 09:03

    A 50something year old singing about girls going wild and LUV madonna YOU you wanna is a joke. There arent many cheerleaders out there who will buy into that crap unless they are gay ofcourse.

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