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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Madonna's MDNA: A First Listen

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Page 2 of 2

"I'm a Sinner"

This album's really not as bad as people are saying, but is

it ever empty. From the spare sound (did half of these even have basslines?) to

the song-by-the-numbers lyrics and writing, it sounds like amateur tinkling rather

than world's premier living pop star conquering her Super Bowl year. It's hard

to imagine anyone loving these songs -- they feel like exercises. "I'm a sinner/

And I like it that way" is one of the most distinctive lyrics on this album. It's

even more amazing to think I was calling Gaga this factory-driven a few years

ago. And right, another song that should not be five minutes long.

"Love Spent"

BANJO. Finally, a surprise! This one sounds kind of like Haddaway's

"What Is Love" with rigor mortis. One of the true highlights: Even the metaphor

"spend your love on me" has some intensity to it, as if she wants to exhaust him

like those before have exhausted her. Some subtle woman-scorned stuff. And even

more complex: "love me like your money." And she nicely cannibalizes the synth

from her own "Hung Up" in a wink. This album needs more winks though.

"Masterpiece"

In which William Orbit apes a dated Timbaland boom-boom-clap

for a ballad with acoustic guitar and strings. Hard to say what she was going

for here, but nevertheless, don't let the title fool you. I do like the line "It

hurt so much to be in love with a masterpiece," but other than some painting

imagery, I wish I knew what was so great about this guy. If I was going to

discern themes on this album, I'd dig hard and say her last breakup involved

some issues of insecurity about fame and attention. But I mean, dude. When you

date Madonna you're going to take a backseat. Everyone knows that.

"Falling Free"

Pretty! Psychedelic detuned synths, and the billionth

variation on Tears for Fears' "Mad World" melody. Double-tracked vocals. No

drums. But she's too old for this "hearts are intertwined" tripe. Or a rhyme as

embarrassing as "that growing thing." MDNA

might not actually be that lazy, but between the annoying repetition, the

padded track lengths, the Microkorgs leading and buttressing every surprisingly

well-preserved note, depersonalized lyrical concepts and the half-hearted

rave-rock fusion, she could've tried harder or allowed her actual idea-filled guests

to dominate or something.

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