So MDNA has been out for almost a month now and I still haven’t done a proper review post. I don’t think I’m going to either. A couple of reasons for this decision – 1. It’s been reviewed to death in the blogosphere and I think that most everything that I would have to say about it has already been said so I run the risk of simply plagiarizing the other reviews and 2. I know that there’s no way on God’s green Earth that I could possibly be objective. I mean, everybody knows that I love it already so why spend 1000 words talking about how much I love it. So rather than do a boring old review, let’s take a look at my listening habits. You might need to click on the picture to see it better.
Now, let me just say that this does not represent all of my listens to the songs. Not included in these play counts are the times I’ve listened to the physical CD in the car. Also not included are the not inconsequential listens to my vinyl copy or the play counts from the leak of the album which I had for about 4 days before the album officially dropped.
A few thoughts:
- I’m kind of surprised that “Give Me All Your Luvin'” is my most listened to track on the album. It’s not my favorite, but I think it benefits from having been listened to pretty extensively prior to the album’s release. The copy of the song in my iTunes library is the one that came with the pre-order of the album on iTunes so it’s been around a lot longer than the rest of the songs. That said, I find that the more I listen to the song, the more I really do love it. Yeah, it’s cheeseball and the weakest kick-off single from a Madonna album ever, but my 10 year-old loves it and knows all the words. Listening to her belt out “L-U-V! MADONNA!” warms my heart so perhaps it’s more of a sentimental attachment than anything else. Plus it was the first new Madonna song in ages and ages.
- I actually like “Girl Gone Wild” more than the play count would suggest. I bought the song as a single from iTunes as well prior to the album’s release and when you combine the play counts, it just tops “Give Me All Your Luvin'”
- The song that is standing the test of repeated plays the most for me is “I Don’t Give A.” Like an updated “American Life” it’s a quasi-rap song featuring two classic lines – “tweeting on the elevator” (CAN YOU IMAGINE Madonna tweeting on the elevator?” and the inexplicable “baby Jesus on the stairs!” The song is a laundry list of all the things that she does as a famous working divorced mom, barbs to her former husband Guy Ritchie aplenty. I’m usually not a huge fan of guest rappers because they shriek of desperation from artists like Madonna, but Nicki Minaj really works on this album. The ending is (as someone else said – I can’t remember who) very Carmina Burana in its drama. It is all the more powerful that Madonna never actually utters the F-bomb in the song.
- My least favorite song on the album proper, based on play count alone, is “Some Girls.” Yeah, that pretty much matches up with my opinion. I would have jettisoned that song and replaced it with “Beautiful Killer.” “Some Girls” seems like a demo, like they forgot to finish it whereas “Beautiful Killer” is the most Madonna Madonna song in a long time. It has her stamp all over it. Other songs with a play count of only 6 are the remix of “Give Me All Your Luvin'” which is pretty lame and the acoustic “Love Spent” which I like more than that play count would suggest.
- I’m glad that there are some ballads on the album. “Masterpiece” which played over the closing credits of Madonna’s movie W.E., is not out of place on MDNA like I feared it would be. And although my friend Jeff can’t stand it, I really do like “Falling Free” quite a bit. (he calls it “Falling Off A Cliff (I Wish This Song Would)” or something like that) Both are proper Madonna ballads, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time.
- “Gang Bang” is very Erotica/Dita Madge. Consequently, I really do love it. And I can’t wait to hear the arena all chanting “MDNA! MDNA! MDNA! MDNA!” when she performs “I’m Addicted.”
Since the album’s release coincided pretty closely with the purchase of my iMac, it’s not surprising that my Top 25 Most Played Songs playlist is skewed pretty heavily toward MDNA. I’m not sure if this will change over time or not. I anticipate listening to this pretty heavily through the summer, so those numbers will only get higher. There are a lot of music releases on the horizon that will compete for my attention – this is the subject of an upcoming post – so perhaps that once the dust settles with MDNA, it won’t dominate the top 10 as much as it does right now.
I’m most intrigued by the non-MDNA songs in the Top 25. A strange mix of old and new, that’s for certain! And then there’s the only non-MDNA Madonna song, “Words”, from Erotica, hanging in there at #24.
The album is both fresh and familiar, which I think at this point in her career is just what the fans want. It wasn’t too much of a rehash of where she’s been before but it also doesn’t really break any new ground. The album will be MASSIVE live. I’m so glad that I’m going to the tour. With rumored set lists like this, it’s hard to not get excited.
0. Act of Contrition (Video Introduction)
1. Girl Gone Wild (contains elements from “Material Girl”)
3. Gang Bang (contains elements from “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra)
4. Papa Don’t Preach (Edited Version with changed lyrics)
II. ELECTRIC ROCK-A-LOO
5. Nobody Knows Me (Video Interlude)
6. I Don’t Give A (Rock Version)
7. Hung Up
8. Best Friend (contains elements from “Heartbeat”)
9. Nothing Really Matters
10. Bedtime Story (contains elements from “Drowned World” and “Beautiful Stranger”)(Video Interlude)
11. Impressive Instant
12. I’m Addicted
13. Justify My Love (2012 William Orbit Remix, contains elements from “I Want You”)
14. Physical Attraction
16. Love Spent
17. Open Your Heart (contains elements of “Sagarra Jo“ by Kalakan)
18. Deeper and Deeper
19. Take a Bow
20. Falling Free
21. Some Girls (contains elements from “She’s Not Me”) (Video Interlude)
22. Express Yourself (contains elements from “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga)
23. Give Me All Your Luvin’ (Just Blaze Remix)
24. Turn Up the Radio
25. I’m a Sinner (contains elements from “Gambler”)
26. Everybody (contains elements from “Hello” by Martin Solveig)
27. Celebration (Benny Benassi Remix)
This could be the product of a very creative fan, but there are elements that jibe with what we know about the tour so far. Who knows.
Regardless, this phase of Madonna’s career is a welcome one indeed.