By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer
Say what you want about Madonna, but when every pop star who follows you is compared to you, that says a lot. On her new album, “MDNA,” Madonna shows why the original is always the best.
The 12-track album (there is a deluxe edition also available) starts off with “Girl Gone Wild,” a fun, poppy dance song where she implores girls to go out and “get fired up like a smoking gun.” Dance records have always been what Madonna does best. It’s a strong opener and sets the tone for the rest of the record.
With the second track, “Gang Bang,” we have a thinly veiled reference to her bitter divorce from British director Guy Ritchie. “Compared to the others you were the best,” she sings. A pissed off Madonna is always the best Madonna. By the time she gets to the chorus (“Bang, Bang shot my lover in the head, shot him down but I have no regrets”), she’s holding nothing back. “I loved you the most,” she sheaths, “but I was keeping my enemies close.”
The third and fourth tracks, “I’m Addicted,” and “Turn Up the Radio,” are the low points of the album and highlight some of the more latent issues with the album. The woman is a living legend and has long ago proved that she has a darn good voice. She doesn’t need to fall into autotune-land and be lost. But that’s where these songs leave her. The eighth song, “I Don’t Give A,” is another one on the album that falls into this trap. They’re not bad, but they get old fast because she could do so much better.
But she easily corrects herself with “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” probably the funniest (and catchiest) song on the whole album. Featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., this was the song that got her a lot of attention at the Super Bowl. It features the obscenely catchy refrain “L. U. V. Madonna. Y. O. U. You wanna?”
By the time she gets to “Some Girls,” Madonna’s hit her stride. Another dance song that works as a kiss off to, “Some girls who go off the deep end” and “Make a scene and cry in the back of a limousine,” Madonna assures us that she never wants to be like some girls.
Track seven, “Superstar,” is a sweet old school love song that reminded me of her older hits like “True Blue,” where she compares her “super star” to “Brando on the silver screen.” “I’m a Sinner,” track nine on the album, feels like a cheeky number she would have done in her “Like a Prayer” days, letting us know that she’s still the good old Madonna who likes to get her “kicks when I’m walking the wire.”
Track 10, “Love Spent,” is back to the angry Madonna again questioning an ex-lover. But unlike “Gang Bang,” this seems more contemplative, a little sadder. “Would you have married me if I was poor?” she asks.
“Masterpiece,” track 11 on the album, is easily the best out of the bunch. Written for her film “W.E.,” the song earned her a Golden Globe earlier this year for it. It’s a love letter to Wallis Simpson, who captured her attention while making the film. It tells the story of a girl in love with a perfect person the world loves.
“I can’t tell you why it hurts to be in love with a masterpiece because after all nothing’s indestructible,” she sings.
The final song, “Falling Free,” carries the tone set by “Masterpiece” and is a softer, gentler song.
“MDNA” isn’t perfect (auto tune gets old after awhile), but aside from the three weak songs there are plenty of other ones that prove why Madonna is always going to the one to beat.