Madonna has proven over and over that she can be irreverent, as seen by her rewording of "The Lord's Prayer" in the opening minutes of "Girls Gone Wild," however one has to wonder if she's lost her touch. The lyrics are beyond uninspired and the music is insipid.
The album doesn't get much better either. Madonna was always good with dance music, but she's going down the synth pop route on MDNA and it just sounds a bit to childish for a woman that's been in the industry for nigh on 30 years.
"Turn Up The Radio" is one of the album's high points, and it would be better served by the younger crowd. The beat is good, but the lyrics are just so grade school. It leaves you wondering who she's marketing the album for, the pre-teens or her fans?
The worst of it is the first single "Give Me All Your Luvin'." The lyrics are totally cringe-worthy. "L-U-V Madonna!" Uh, after a song like this, not so much. It was one of the low points of her otherwise great Superbowl performance, and the album version isn't any better, though it does sound like it was written for that half time show. It is a little to "Sis Boom Bah" to be taken seriously.
It is hard to find a song that doesn't sound like the previous. "I Don't Give A" with Nicki Minaj is dull. It is a confessional sounding song. Which husband is she singing to? Guy? Sean? As always, Madonna tells us that she doesn't care what the people say. It is becoming old hat after all these years.
Things start looking up with "I'm A Sinner." It has a good retro vibe that will make you want to dance. It is fun and funky.
Madonna seems to save the best songs for the end of the album. "Love Spent" is a unique dance track, unique in that the sampling and beats don't sound like every other song that you've heard so far on this album. That is probably because it was produced by Orbit. The opening bars have a strange Latin quality.
If you are looking for something of the Madonna we all know and love, look to "Masterpiece" the song from W.E. This is Madonna doing the whole ballad thing, in a way that she hasn't done since Something To Remember. On an album that sounds like Madonna trying to be someone other than Madonna, this song is a breath of fresh air. She not only sounds like herself, she sounds good.
She follows that with another stunning ballad, "Fallin' Free." This song is free of bad sampling and hip hop beats. The tone of the song makes it sound like it could have fit on Ray Of Light. The lyrics have that spiritual trippyness that made that album one of her best.
Compared to 2008's Hard Candy, this album is a breath of fresh air. This is Madonna's 12th album. Old fans will embrace it because it is Madonna, however it doesn't hold a candle to her older material. The first half of this album is totally forgettable, but the last half makes up for it. Madonna is like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when she's good she's very good, and when she's bad, she's horrid.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars