As reported elsewhere, Madonna’s new album, “Confessions on a Dancefloor,” is floating around the Internet and I have been lucky enough to listen to it. I’m afraid I can’t share it with you, but I can provide you with a special remix of her new hit single “Hung Up”! You won’t even recognize it! Or maybe you will…
Anyway, the album: Popmuse calls it the “best Kylie Minogue CD in years,” and I must disagree. “Body Language” was more original, with better songwriting, and more interesting production. But I digress. I would call “Confessions…” a collage of references in which Madonna sends shout-outs mostly to herself, but also to some other artists. The result? An album that is often danceable, has a few melodies you might find yourself humming later, and a whole lot of deja vu. Definitely a step up from the last two albums of dreck Madonna has released, but it is not the great album for which I have been secretly waiting these past six years.
Some track highlights:
1. Hung Up – Sounds like: “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA. A barebones pop melody written on top of an ABBA sample with some fancy non-analog synths thrown in to make it current. It’s catchy, but the best part is definitely the borrowed instrumental lick, which I’m sure a lot of listeners sadly won’t even recognize. We will enjoy this song until a new one comes out and then forget all about it.
2. Get Together – Sounds like: “Holiday” by Madonna. A feel-good dance song with some good hooks, but it just doesn’t stick. It seems jaded and rehashed to me, though I like the overdubbed harmonies.
3. Sorry – Sounds like: “Thief of Hearts” by Madonna. This is my favorite song on the album. The melody has multiple catchy hooks that sound like they belong together (they even overlap at the end), the sound is original, and the pretense is at a minimum. I wish Madonna would realize that this is what we want from her. One note, does anyone else think the robot voice at the very end of the song sounds like Tommy Page?
4. Future Lovers – Sounds like: “Ray of Light” by Madonna. The melody is eerily similar to her earlier song except much less memorable, and there is this annoying repeated refrain that I think is saying “in the evidence of its brilliance” that I suspect is some cultish Kabbalah reference. This is the first track I skip, which is too bad since it’s so early in the album.
5. I Love New York – Sounds like: Third grade poetry. “I love New York. Other places make me feel like a dork.” “Other cities always make me mad. Other places always make me sad. No other city ever made me glad except New York. I love New York.” Madonna must have written the lyrics to this song, and in doing so managed to use almost the same rhymes as “Love Profusion” (you know, the one they used in the Estee Lauder commercial). Mad, sad, glad… Doesn’t New York provoke more complex emotions than that? What about horny or lonely or something? That’s how most of the New Yorkers I know feel.
7. Forbidden Love – Sounds Like: “Love Profusion” by Madonna. So that awful song about New York had the same words, and I swear this song uses the exact same synths. Can’t Madonna afford some new sound effects? This isn’t a bad song otherwise. It has a nice melancholy quality that used to be found in pop music in the 80s back when everyone was dying of AIDS.
9. How High – Sounds like: “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” by Kylie Minogue. Not only are the synths and backing tracks almost identical to Kylie’s single, Madonna is even singing like her on this track! Extra penalties apply since the single being copied isn’t old enough to be revival, but not new enough to be current.
11. Push – Sounds like: “Like a Prayer” by Madonna and “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. This song has a sort of mystical beat and neat finger cymbals, and I guess is about the Kabbalah god, but it could be about Guy Ritchie. Thoughts are welcome in comments. Anyway, the melody is simultaneously uninspiring and unoriginal, but inoffensive, like much of the album.
12. Like It or Not – Sounds like: “Fever” as covered by Madonna. It’s so new-millenium to shoddily rewrite a song that you covered ten years ago. Doesn’t “Fever” mention Cleopatra too? Why even bother?