Madonna promises several things by naming her album MDNA:
1. It will be hip, like the internet age's obsession with abbreviations
2. It will be a reinvention of sorts, removing pieces of herself to accentuate others
3. It will make you want to take popular rave drugs
Unfortunately, she only really delivers on part of this covenant, and not the part I was looking for. Obviously Madonna wouldn't go into the studio without the world's most ridiculous knob-twisters making her beats, or people fully and passably capable of writing catchy music. This album would be fine, even enjoyable, if it was just throwaway pop garbage meant for midnight spins at Karma as Snooki and The Situation beat on each other for the umpteenth time. But Madonna is one of the most significant pop icons of multiple generations, held in high regard as a benchmark for many aspiring vocalists in terms of significance and quality of work. She deserves better than this. So when she releases a bunch of obvious club-bait as her comeback, to try and run with the likes of disposable to 40 princesses, it's a bit disheartening. Thus we get stuff like a song called "Gang Bang" which is somehow the least exciting song on the album, "I'm A Sinner" whose religious imagery sounds silly because of all the songs around it, and "Give Me All Your Luvin'" which is ironic and almost comical with its lyrics-- "every record sounds the same," "Maybe youll do fine / As long as you dont lie to me / And pretend to be what youre not." Well, duh.
Some of the songs are fun, like the upbeat "Girl Gone Wild," the glitchy "I Don't Give A," and "Turn Up The Radio" (where we can clearly hear her voice), but most feel the drag of lofty expectations unable to emulsify with Madonna's purposeful lowest-common-denominator appeal. Her iconic voice is often stuffed into the background, which is just the worst place possible for it-- it's the only thing that has established her identity through all the reinventions of image. Is anyone excited about any of this? Because Madonna sounds like the most bored of all. Madonna may wish for relevancy, but by making an album of art on the level of the playing field she's trying to dominate, she's becoming just another average player. The result is forgettable in a way that's not only disappointing, but actually detrimental to whatever splash she was trying to make by releasing new recordings in the first place.