Madonna, queen of dance music, has returned with her 12th studio album “MDNA.” The LP is exemplary of the paradox that is Madonna. She strives to make pop music like a 25-year-old, yet wishes to utilize the experience of a 54-year-old. The result is a bipolar album — half immature, vapid pop songs and half compelling, violent revenge and love songs.
Songs like “Girl Gone Wild” and “Give Me All Your Luvin’” make the listener wonder why a mother of four talks about losing control on the dance floor. These songs are unoriginal — they sound exactly like the Top Forty bulls–t that everyone else makes. With lines like, “The room is spinning/ It must be the Tanqueray/ I'm about to go astray/ My inhibition's gone away/ I feel like sinning/ You got me in the zone/ DJ play my favorite song,” It’s a miracle anyone bothered to delve into the more compelling pieces on “MDNA.”
“MDNA” is partially Madonna’s divorce album. She split from Guy Ritchie in October 2008, and the anger and regret she felt over the relationship is evident throughout. These songs are fascinating because they show Madonna’s most genuine emotional sincerity since “Ray of Light.”
On one of the tamer angry songs, “I Don’t Give a,” she expresses a deep-set frustration with what others expect of her, “I tried to be a good girl/ I tried to be your wife/ Diminished myself/ And I swallowed my light.”
Madonna takes a nastier, barbarous route in “Gang Bang,” a song in which she contemplates shooting her ex-lover. “I thought it was you and I loved you most/ But I was just keeping my enemy close,” she sings. “Bang bang, shot you dead/ I have no regret.” She adds, “If I see that b—h in hell, I'm gonna shoot him in the head again.”
The album triumphs with its two final tracks. “Masterpiece” and “Falling Free” are a nice, peaceful end to an otherwise hectic album. They portray a softer, sadder Madonna who shows regret over her divorce. She closes the album with, “When I let loose the need to know/Then we’re both free, we’re free to go.”
Overall, “MDNA” is two different ideas fused together. On one hand, the album is focuses on dance and is aimed at people who want to move. On the other, the album is a confessional — it’s Madonna’s way of coming to terms with her divorce. The fusion of this yin and yang creates an interesting experience for anyone listening.