Madonna’s ‘MDNA’: Review Revue

Robbie Daw | March 26, 2012 10:42 am

After Madonna’s grand Super Bowl performance, the music video premieres, the Golden Globe win and the Facebook live chat with Jimmy Fallon, her 12th studio album MDNA is finally here. (See how we ranked it, cover art-wise.) The LP seems to have critics divided — some think Madge is slipping on the dance floor after all this time, while others feel she’s more than ably wearing her pop crown compared to the other songstresses of today. Head below to read our roundup of MDNA reviews, then let us know your own thoughts on the album! :: The San Francisco Chronicle feels it’s a “good, but not great” album, overall: “Madonna says it best on the opening track of her twelfth album: ‘No one can put out my fire.’ At 53, she’s still got it going on… The dance sound dominates most of the 12-track set, but Madonna sometimes trips over on her own disco ball. ‘Gang Bang’ is a complete mess, ‘I’m Addicted’ sounds overproduced and ‘I’m a Sinner’ is mediocre. She shines brightest when she brings down the pace.”

:: The Los Angeles Times, however, feels the Material Girl is no longer pushing pop forward: “On Madonna’s best albums — Like a Virgin, Ray of Light and Music — she lived in that pocket between pop’s present and future, and with each hit single she offered a dose of the new that confirmed her ability to seduce us. But the enemy of seduction is familiarity. The power to jar a lover requires the element of surprise, one that’s sorely lacking on MDNA. We’re 30 years into this relationship, after all.”

:: The Seattle Post Intelligencer is certainly into the groove: “In short, the album is a dancefloor slave/party animal’s dream record fueled by a channel-surfing of moods and emotions running the gamut from rage and longing to danger and desire. At a tidy 50 minutes, the 12-track CD deserves repeated listens. It’s so tantalizingly good that there’s hardly a dull moment.”

:: Consequence Of Sound thinks Madge is struggling to keep up: “In today’s era of pop, she’s surrounded by a rogue’s gallery of juggernauts, who are all admittedly doing far more with their sound than she is. That’s okay, though, because that was always bound to happen. Rather than try to top them, however, she should put her energy into her strengths instead of parading around marquee names and treading through genres that, most of the time, she’s late to reach.”

:: The New York Daily News is on board, though: “So many good tracks crowd the disc, in fact, that even the four extras on the deluxe version rate as must-owns. The dance songs that dominate aren’t pushing mainstream club music ahead, as Madonna did on albums like Erotica or Ray of Light. But they’re in step with the most pleasurable tics and beats of now.”

:: Likewise, the Chicago Tribune-Review is dancing to Madonna’s beat this time around: “It’s her best album since Ray of Light in 1998, an album that balanced introspection and pop dazzle in collaboration with U.K. electronic artist William Orbit. Not coincidentally, Orbit returns for the first time in a decade to play a key role on the new album.”

:: Entertainment Weekly gives the album a B-: “…Nicki Minaj even shows some L-U-V for Lady M, proclaiming, ‘There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, bitch!’ Judging by MDNA, she may be overestimating her idol. But there’s just enough dance-floor bonhomie here to get that catchphrase bedazzled on a few dozen leotards.”

:: UK paper Metro thinks the singer shines on MDNA: “Madonna has never merely borrowed from other genres and subcultures, she acts like she owns them, and this album reasserts her claim on centre stage.”

:: As Hard In The City observes, “MDNA seems more content to just present an album’s worth of good music without really pushing any envelopes or buttons — something of a rarity for Madge, really.”

:: Finally, perhaps the Chicago Sun-Times sums it best with this: “MDNA is also significantly better than we’ve been led to believe. The bright but banal Super Bowl performance, the string of surprisingly weak singles preceding the full-length, her directorial film debut (W.E.) — you’d be forgiven a healthy fear that Madge has spread herself too thin for the sake of satisfying the latest line item in her pioneering, $120 million deal with Live Nation announced in 2007. MDNA, though, despite a rough start, is a revved-up emotional roller coaster full of pop both sunny and bleak, all of it squarely engineered for the dance floor.”

What are your own thoughts on Madonna’s new album MDNA? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!