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Review: Madonna marvelous on ‘MDNA’

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The Queen of Pop is back to give us a reminder of her at her peak. Madonna’s 12th studio album, “MDNA,” went No. 1 on iTunes in 40 countries Monday. It even broke the record for pre-orders on iTunes.

Madonna’s latest effort reminds her listeners of her inability to admit she’s getting older. She creates amazing dance club music but doesn’t seek to go any further beneath the surface, unlike her album, “American Life,” which went too far. She has worked so hard and come so far. Her latest effort is good, but not the best she can do.

“MDNA” doesn’t flow as well as it should with songs like “Gang Bang” and “I’m Addicted” back-to-back. The former is a violent, “Kill Bill”-esque song that’s mostly built up to a flawless dubstep breakdown. “Gang Bang” is the only truly satisfying pop song that features dubstep and it was done beautifully, while the latter could’ve been ripped from a ’70s disco DJ’s playlist, but produced by one of the most exciting names in music, Benny Benassi.

At some points, the record seems like an unfinished mess that was thrown together at the last minute, but when it comes together it sizzles. “I Don’t Give A” soars and is actually elevated, rather than being killed, by Nicki Minaj, who adamantly proclaims Madonna is still the queen. Her lyrics about trying to be a good wife and prenups have already been viewed as a jab at her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie.

Despite the white noise of dance beats, Madonna shines best on “Masterpiece,” where she strips all the trappings and just sings. Vocal ability isn’t something she excels at – she’s a performer and a dancer – but this song shows something she hides too often. It’s very haunting and reminiscent of another masterpiece, “Frozen.” You can see a little bit of Madge’s frustration and worry in between the cracks.

While this album is much better than the dreaded “Hard Candy,” it still fails to come alive after a few times of listening. It’s good for now, but it’ll be forgotten in a few years’ time. Madonna can and has done much better. However, you might as well dance and wait for the next one.

Grade: B+

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