It really doesn’t feel like 4 years does it? But that’s how long it’s been since Hard Candy hit the stores. I know it had a hard time (no pun intended) but I really enjoyed it. But then I’ve usually enjoyed her albums, it doesn’t always have to be a statement, I’m capable of just enjoying the music.
It shouldn’t be a crime to try to stay relevant by recruiting popular producers, I just want to enjoy what gets produced. With that feel of tentative optimism, I greet the lead single from the twelfth studio album by Madonna.
While I don’t approve of the spelling, it’s a pretty instant pop song. A little too close for comfort to some of her more questionable ‘lost tracks’ of recent years, but co-producer Martin Solveig saves the day. It’s not QUITE a dance song in the sense that the “Confessions” singles were, it’s more akin to the beat-driven but lighthearted moments of “Hard Candy”.
The first thing that hits you is that cheerleader chant. I’m not totally sold on this, and MIA’s English accent really throws this off, it’s the “O”s. Why is MIA even there? I mean, I’m happy to have featured artists, but she’s a distractingly misplaced addition to the video, looking a bit awkward dressed as a cheerleader, next to hyperactive faceache Nicki Minaj.
The bridge/chorus are pretty nonsensical, but it’s a fun and memorable song. It’s not like Madonna’s been famed for her lyrics for a LONG time. I like the whole all-American theme to this, I just hope it’s a recurring theme, and not just a tie-in with the Superbowl performance happening tonight, I gather.
So the video debuted yesterday too, I really like it! The cheerleader/football-player theme is fun and OTT, the set pieces are great, and she looks wonderful. It’s just having a bit of fun, it’s not satire, or trying to be clever, it’s just trying to be watchable. The Monroe segment finally sees the guest rappers doing what they should probably only have been there for, even though I really think MIA should have been substitute for someone American and more in the spirit of the video rather than sulking around in the background.
The bit where she’s breastfeeding the doll is a little strange, and the creepy manga cheerleaders give a strange edge to some scenes, but it’s all good.
What about the album then? I’m sure I’ll get to hear it soon, it’s odd to actually be looking forward to an album, it seems to happen less and less often these days. But there’s a preview of three tracks floating around. Sounds worryingly generic, but it’s impossible to make too serious a judgement on such short clips. It’s interesting that “Girls Gone Wild” seems to pick up the sound we heard in “Celebration” (which I seemed to be in the minority for loving), I would definitely be happy to hear a dancier Madonna, I don’t dare dream it will match the heights of “Confessions”, but we’ll see.