Madonna – she's back…oh yes!
What can you say to start a review about Madonna's new album? Rolling Stone has started by harking back to her emergence on the scene in 1985:
'Over the most Eighties-sounding synthesizers imaginable, she proclaimed, "And you can dance — for inspiration." ' (from 'Into the Groove')
Quite the manifesto for (at that time) a chart debutant. Since then, however, Madonna has done much to move away from this wherever possible. Recent albums have shown that, whilst Madonna is as adept at reinvention as Kylie (another in the 'dropping the surname' stakes), this has often come at the expense of the ability to 'make people dance'. There was 'Ray of Light', dark and engaging. Then there was 'American Life', indistinct and poorly produced. It is refreshing to see, then, that dancing comes firmly at the top of the agenda this time around.
In fact, it's so high up the list that at times this album comes across as a dance compilation rather than the latest from the Queen of pop. Bringing in Stuart Price (Jacques lu Cont, Les Rhythmes Digitales) on production credits was definitely a savvy move. The 12 tracks on the album are a whirl of synth and sparkle, bass and bombast (if you will!) Whilst at times this threatens to merge one song into another, Price generally does enough to allow each track to stand on its merit, something which Mirwais was alltogether unable to do on 'American Life'. Samples abound – taking in Abba, Popcorn, and even the odd Madge favourite (Price must have had a whale of a time putting this album together!) to great effect.
Most importantly of all, this album genuinely makes the listener want to dance. The vast majority of these tracks would work in a club and, in building an album in this way, Madonna really has found a recipe for success.
In short? When Madonna is on form, she pisses all over the competition and thankfully this is the case here. Buy this to listen to early on a Friday night. Buy this to remind you of a lost weekend. Buy this for your car. Just buy it – it's awesome, and the perfect way to celebrate 20 years in the business…