Growing up as a fan of Michael Jackson meant that I was pretty heavily influenced by a variety of 80’s music. You could probably still see that in me today. This, of course, meant that I was exposed to artists like Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Madonna. While I never threw myself into Madonna, I always enjoyed her music and would have frequent dance parties to some of her biggest hits. I’m hoping for another dance party when I take a listen to MDNA right about now.
The album opens with Girl Gone Wild, a translucent track that reminds me of something that would be on the soundtrack to The Wedding Singer (yes, the one with Adam Sandler). This song is a toe-tapper in all its glory even though it may not be as loud as I’m used to hearing from a dance-y number.
I’ve heard so much about Gang Bang that I had pretty high expectations going into it. Instead of living up to those expectations, it completely obliterated them. It isn’t at all what I expected when I saw endless posts about it on Tumblr. It’s a sultry track with a vengeance – and I like it. Madonna sounds better than ever on this track, barely singing the lyrics but her voice oozing with venom. Bang bang, shot ya dead, shot my lover in the head. Bang, bang shot ya dead, and I have no regrets. I dare you to not go around singing that after giving this one a whirl.
The first single that Madge dropped from the album, Give Me All Your Luvin, is a wonderfully upbeat track that made for a perfect Superbowl performance. This track basically screams Dance to me! And appearances from Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. don’t hurt a thing, either.
I Don’t Give A is as fierce and empowering as you’ve probably read. Due to Madonna’s recent divorce, some of these songs are really on edge. This track may have its toes over that edge, but it’s fantastic. This is what I love to see come from the end of a relationship. Instead of something sad, it’s a big screw you to whoever left you (or you left) in the dust. I’m gonna be okay, I don’t care what the people say. I’m gonna be alright, gonna live fast and I’m gonna live right.
Masterpiece may be my personal favorite track on the album. It’s slower and shows off Madonna’s talents lyrically and vocally. It’s nice to settle down from the dance tracks and hear a beautiful voice that has spanned generations.
MDNA wraps up with Falling Free, a perfect end to an album that’s as much of a kick in the ass to her past as it is a tribute. This track has an epic presence to it – almost reminds me of Ray of Light or something that would’ve come from that era, both the sounds and the haunting vocals. It’s also a nice balance with these two tracks to end the album.
Overall, this record is as much for the dancers as the listeners. There are some tracks that would be amazing on a car ride at night with all the windows down, and there are some tracks that will just sound better sitting by yourself. I’m pretty impressed by this one. People always question artists who have been around for a while when they come out with new music, but all Madonna is doing with MDNA is proving she’s still as relevant and talented as ever.
Masterpiece (track 11)
Gang Bang (track 2)
I Don’t Give A (track 8)