‘MDNA’ | Madonna

| Music Editor

For fans of
Kylie Minogue, George Michael
Singles to download
‘Give Me All Your Luvin’,’ ‘Girl Gone Wild,’ ‘Beautiful Killer’

Madonna returns from a four-year break this year with her 12th studio album, but this return comes more with a fizzle than with a bang. From the legend who gave us classics like “Material Girl,” “Express Yourself” and “Like a Prayer,” the oh-so-wittily titled “MDNA” only manages to fall flat.

The problem with “MDNA” is not that it is completely atrocious. Certainly, it’s perfectly palatable, perhaps even more so for those die-hard Madonna fans, but it’s nothing special. Listening to the album isn’t exciting—it begins to fade into background noise. Too much is lost in overproduction, no song stands out and Madonna’s voice sounds almost strained and monotonous in most of the songs, failing to lend any excitement or energy to what should be heart-pumping club tracks. It’s surely nothing that will fill a dance floor nowadays. There are some songs worth a listen, like two singles “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and “Girl Gone Wild,” but these are more catchy pop tunes with echoes of Madonna’s ’80s cheesy heyday than anything substantive.

Most of the album sounds like Madonna is staying within the comfort zone of her past dance tracks. On some songs, however, Madonna tries to stride into the modern era of pop music, and it proves to be an awkward fit. From the halfhearted dubstep backbeat thrown in toward the end of “Gang Bang” to the multiple appearances of Nicki Minaj on “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and “I Don’t Give A,” as well as the two appearances by cool-girl icon M.I.A., these attempts just end up sounding like a try-too-hard cool mom struggling to fit in with the kids. In the end, it’s all just a little bit boring and uncomfortable.

Madonna earned her crown as queen of pop for always pushing boundaries, changing her image and striving to push herself forward musically throughout her career. “MDNA” shows no indication of this. This is no cutting edge album—merely a hybrid of Madonna’s past outputs and current trends in pop music that just comes up short.

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