The Queen of Pop

For the last 30 years, pop music has been revolutionized. The image and presentation is just as important as the music in this age. If there is one artist who laid the foundation for this philosophy, look no further than the legendary Madonna. At the age of 53, the visionary is still pushing the envelope, setting new trends and daring to be questioned.

MDNA, out on March 27, is just as controversial as the singer’s previous efforts. Following suggestive comments on Lady Gaga and the announcement of the album title – play on words with Madonna’s name and the drug MDMA – Madonna stays true to her reputation as someone who has and will always get the people talking. The provocateur has done away with the commercial sound of 2008’s lackluster Hard Candy, which featured production from Timbaland & Pharrell Williams, in favor of previous collaborators, William Orbit & Martin Solevig. Orbit is known for his classic work with Madonna on 1998’s Ray Of Light, which re-invented the singer’s career, following a significant decline in her record sales.

Orbit provides the production for the slower tempo records including “Masterpiece,” the theme song to Madonna’s directorial film debut, W.E. and “Gang Bang,” a clear standout on the album due to its theatrical and explicit lyrics. Instead of focusing just on the synth-heavy production, Madonna manages to unveil her troubles from the previous years with her new record. Much of the source of the material for MDNA deals with her divorce from Guy Ritchie back in 2008. In songs like, “I Don’t Give A,” she attempts to explain the busy routine of balancing being a mother, business woman and wife in the 21st century.

“I tried to be the perfect wife/I diminished myself/it swallowed me/if I was a failure/then I don’t give a.”

While speaking on her personal troubles, she brings along current young trendsetters M.I.A. & Nicki Minaj for work on “I Don’t Give A,” “B-Day Song” and the first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’.” While the latter is mundane and fails to show any relation to the album with its rather cheesy cheerleader chants, M.I.A & Minaj fit just like a glove on the album without sounding like a desperate attempt to connect with the young mainstream audience.

With just twelve tracks, Madonna is able to effectively put together a cohesive project without it wading in excessiveness or lagging. Though such songs as “Turn Up The Radio” and “Superstar” seem to be tailored just for radio and nothing more, MDNA is still above and beyond expectations.  It not only reclaims Madonna’s spot as the original Queen of Pop but she also manages to reinvent herself as always, follow the trends while crafting a new sound and reveals more of herself. MDNA is a welcome addition to a near flawless discography.