Madonna has built up an almost infinite level of goodwill with me over her career, so that even when she does something less-than-stellar, I can easily forgive her for it. Bad Madonna is still just mediocre when you consider all the rest of the trash out there.
Her last album, Hard Candy, was a major misfire. It was one of the first times that, instead of being ahead of the curve, Madonna seemed like she was trying to catch up to it. And what a bad curve it was, anyway! There were a few decent tracks on the album, but overall, it had this whiff of desperation, this phony, sour urban pop collection that was so damn lazy. (Just like most of the similar music you’d hear on the radio.) It’s actually entirely The Neptunes-produced songs I despise on Hard Candy — the rest are all fine. I don’t know what happened, but that is some bad, bad music. And unfortunately it comprised more than half the album.
So now we have a new Madonna coming out, MDNA, her first since 2009. It’s cleverly titled; that’s good. Her first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin,” has its charms. It took awhile to grow on me, and then it grew back off rather quickly. I was hoping Single #2 might prove to be more of a hands-down hit.
And here it is.
Sorry, Madge, I’m not quite feeling this one. It pains me to say it.
I don’t dislike it. I want to listen to it more — that’s good! But it’s hard to imagine that it will be a song that I unequivocally love and listen to repeatedly, along the lines of “Hung Up.” Furthermore, if neither of the first two singles heard are bona fide smashes, it worries me about the quality of MDNA overall.
But Madonna has so much goodwill built up that she could make at least another three bad albums before I start getting angry with her.
Unless MDNA is as bad as Hard Candy, in which case, we’ll have words.