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FIRST LISTEN: Madonna's MDNA
A track-by-track guide to the Material Girl's typically self-obsessed and oddly pious club smasher.
Celina Murphy, 21 Mar 2012
Girls Gone Wild
Kicking off with a solemn pseudoreligious intro (told you…) and a great whopping bass drop (again, told you!) 'Girl Gone Wild' boasts a pulsating techno beat that trumps anything else on MDNA. Sure, references to DJs, 808s and girls just wanting to have fun are far from groundbreaking, not to mention the earwormish 'Hey-ey-ey' refrain, but remember, Rihanna's changed chart history with much less.
If writhing around a sweat-coated dance floor to a chorus of 'Bang Bang, shot you dead/Shot My lover in the head' doesn't particularly appeal, fear not; the perplexingly-titled 'Gang Bang' (no ganging or banging, just a lot of shooting) will probably not make it to single. Nancy Sinatra meets Lady Gaga on the sinister stomper; amidst a flurry of police sirens and swerving vehicles, Madonna presents an unsettlingly cold vocal against an equally industrial beat. The overblown, distorted interlude is intense, almost farcically so, but I imagine it's actually quite effective in getting those tail feathers shaken. Far more unappetising than I thought a song where Madonna repeatedly screams 'Drive, bitch' could be, 'Gang Bang' is as dramatic as anything she's ever come up with, which is an achievement in itself.
Some harsh, ping pong-ing electronics give this one a playful, chiptune feel; as Madonna croons 'I'm addicted to your love', her sentence spirals off into the dance pop ether, propelled by a mesh of spiraling techno beats (see Donna Summer, circa 1977). As the title suggests, this one's massively addictive and it gives the album its drug-themed title. Minus points for rhyming 'glove' with 'love'.
Turn Up the Radio
Madge's saccharine delivery doesn't quite match the hardcore, Guetta-sized production on 'Turn Up The Radio', but a brief nod to old school euphoric dance on the bridge partly makes up the difference. This number features a finish so colossal, I have to wonder what she's saved for Track 12…
Give Me All Your Luvin'
Two fearlessly gangsta cameos distract from the juvenile lyrics on 'Give Me All Your Luvin' (rhyming 'Madonna' with 'You wanna?' was hardly grueling work), taking the track from mind-numbingly predictable to vaguely enjoyable.