Bucket List 2013: Music! MDNA by Madonna

This post is part of a continuing series to fulfill my 2013 Bucket List item to immerse myself in music.

First, the background: I used to be a huge fan of Madonna.

That all started to change back in 2003 when she was promoting American Life. I went to an in-store performance and what was supposed to be an autograph session at Tower Records in New York City. Well, the performance was great. But the autograph session went south after her hand must have tired after the first 100 people or so. By the way, there were only 500 wristbands issued— a typical number for a celebrity signing.

Her rep made it right by having me mail in some material to be signed. I did— and, lo and behold, a few weeks later, a package arrived containing my three items, all signed by Madonna “to Nick.” The framed magazine looks pretty cool in the house and it’s a great story.

Since then, I’ve been unimpressed with her public attitude and antics. Too political. Too uppity. And too bitchy, really. She’s actually become a caricature of the character that she perfected earlier in her career.

Earlier this year, she released MDNA to much fanfare following a highly-publicized performance at the Super Bowl and other media appearances to launch the album. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a part of it. I was done with supporting this woman that likes to pick fights with other celebrities and tote around her black babies like they are some sort of fashion accessory.

However, when I challenged myself to listen to one album each week, I considered going back and hearing MDNA. Why? Because I’ve found some hidden gems on Madonna albums that weren’t necessarily commercial successes, including one of my absolute favorite songs, Nothing Fails. Have a listen:

So, going on past experiences, I’ve decided to give MDNA (Deluxe Edition) a listen. As Ryan Seacrest would say, “dim the lights. Here we go.”

220px-Madonna_-_MDNA

 

 

Last week, I literally reviewed the entire album, with a written review going song-by-song. I’m switching it up for this post. I’m going to give my thoughts on certain songs that stand out and that’s it.

Superstar was one of my favorites… but I had the opportunity to preview this song countless times over the summer, as this song was used in Bravo’s summer television promotions. Maybe I’m also partial to the song because my vanity plate used to read SUPASTA. Not kidding. The word has always called to me, for some reason. Is it what I want to be? Maybe. Is it something to be admired? Something to think about. But this song is catchy— and it makes the listener think of Madonna as I want to think of her: fun.

Turn Up The Radio was the album’s second single. And I can clearly see why. From the opening lyric,

“When the world starts to get you down
And nothing seems to go your way
And the noise of the maddening crowd
Makes you feel like you’re going to go insane”

We just know that Madonna has a cure in the form of music and she wickedly presents it here. I can picture myself listening to this song this summer, top down, loud. Yes, folks that know me, I still have my 1999 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. The baby has about 230,000 miles on it now and I refuse to give it up until it dies.

I’m a Sinner seems like Madonna copying Lady Gaga copying Madonna. What do I mean by that? Madonna used religion best 25 years ago with Like a Prayer and the controversy surrounding the video. Gaga did it very well on her Born This Way album, with several songs referring religion. And now this brings Madonna full-circle, trying to revive that old-school controversial image but just sounding like Gaga.

I Fucked Up was just OK. Honestly, I just wanted to mention the song so I could swear on the blog. And I think maybe that’s the only reason this song made the cut on the album, too. And why does part of the song just sound like candy? Do you know what I mean? Candy? Sweet and syrupy.

Give Me All Your Luvin was the first single and the song used to push the album at the Super Bowl. It’s alright, after all. Catchy as hell. A bit too self-promotional for my taste. What saves the song and makes me actually like it is the too-short cameo by Nicki Minaj. I absolutely adore her and this reminded me of the magic that Madonna made with Missy Elliot in the mid-2000’s. Although, I still haven’t figured out who or what the hell M.I.A. is.

By the way, speaking of Ms. Minaj, I can’t wait for American Idol to start this week— and after the past couple seasons, I never thought I’d say that.

Gang Bang was disturbing. I wonder where Madge stands on gun control? Most likely a typical hypocritical celeb that wants to take everyone’s guns but still would like the freedom of expression to sing about guns and violence and people dying like a bitch.

B-Day Song fits in with that syrupy and sweet theme that recurred on several tracks. This was one of the weaker of those tracks, but those songs, as a group, rise above any serious ones.

I Don’t Give A is cool. Again, though, Nicki Minaj rescued this, in my opinion. Maybe these two need to get together and do an entire album?

You want my take on the album, as a whole? When Madonna is light and sunny, she is at her best. I’ll Give this Superstar All My Luvin if she Turns Up the Radio. Because those three songs are the standouts and the ones deserving of making any historical Madonna playlist.

Will I catch the next Madonna album? Depends on my mood… much like Madonna’s music depends on hers.

 

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