Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My review of Confessions on a Dance Floor

I've been reading the reviews of the latest Madonna album Confessions on a Dance Floor and they've been for the most part pretty positive, saying that it's a return to form. In some ways this album could be compared to Kylie Minogue's 2000 album Light Years. Here you have two dance music icons who both in the past released albums that aimed artisticly high and strayed from what was artisticly expected of them and ended up appearing as commercial disappointments (American Life and Impossible Princess retrospectively), so both do a calculated yet bouncy return to their dance roots with their follow-up albums. Confessions is poised to revive Madonna's career in America like Light Years has done to Kylie's career internationally.

Madonna's decision to make a total dance record in 2005 is one that bucks the trend in the US pop world. In the past four years the popularity of dance music in America has declined. Since 9/11 happened the country has fallen into a long night of dispair and dance music has been seen as insensitive of the national mood. You're more likely to hear a scowling 50 Cent on Top 40 radio than a smiling Kylie. The surest bet for Madge to succeed in this musical climate would be to do a Bedtime Stories 2005, that would be heavy on R&B and hip-hop, and using the biggest name producers in that genre. That fact that she chose to do a dance record instead speaks volumes of her artistic nature, that she's not one to take the path of least resistance.

Confessions On A Dance Floor kicks off with the opening track and first single "Hung Up." You've probably already heard it on the radio or on VH1, with its sample of the flute part of ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" (which BTW is my personal favorite ABBA song). It's defintely a bouncy, catchy number that sets the tone of this album. "Get Together" continues in the same league, sounding like a lost track from the Erotica album with its minimal-housey sound. "Sorry," which is poised to be the follow-up single, starts out with Madonna saying "sorry" in different languages and gets a very Cher "Believe"-type intro with its heavy vecoder effects. (We all know how Madonna loves to fool around with that vecoder box ever since Music.)

Someone mentioned that the verse to "Future Lovers" sounds similar to Kylie Minogue's "Cowboy Style." If this sounds like a Kylie song, it sounds more like "Light Years" with its euphoric throbbing Moroder pulse.

"I Love New York." I should mention that back when I was in high school back in the mid-80s, a big dream of mine would be to travel to New York and go out to art galleries and nightclubs and hang out with the likes of Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, and Madonna. So today I find it amusing that Madge would write a song titled that. This song is the most rock-sounding track on the album, like it's a missing track from her American Life album. Madonna has also been known to write an occasionally gauche lyric like "I'd like to singy singy singy/Like a bird on a wingy wingy wingy" on "Impressive Instant" or that entire soy-latte rap from "American Life," and this track here has a couple of those such as "I don't like cities but I like New York/Other places make me feel like a dork." Still it's an enjoyable piece of electronica/rock.

"Let It Will Be" has Madge pontificating on how fame's not cracked up to be...for like the 1000th time? Okay we got that the first couple of times. "Forbidden Love" has a nice spacey Euro feel with those characteristic girly-Madonna vocals. "Jump" is my second favorite track from this album ("Hung Up" being the top one), with her singing about tasking risks and taking chances. This track sounds like something from Erotica too. I should listen to this track more often to inspire to do things I want to do.

The next track "How High" Madonna again talk about...fame fame fame. I guess we're lucky lucky that she didn't title this album Fame, Ain't It A Bitch. Musically it reminds me of Kylie's "Come Into My World."

"Issac." Yes the same track that some Jewish rabbis gotten their panties up in a bunch about. It's a lovely Middle Eastern-sounding epic number with some "hmmm, hmmm" humming a la "Frozen" and some additional Yeminite vocals by Rabbi Yitzhak Sinwani. "Push" goes for a tad slower but no less hypnotic rhythm a la Tom Tom Club. The song refers to her husband Guy Ritchie. I like this track as well. This track is begging for a big R&B/hip-hop producer to remix it. "Like It Or Not" concludes the disc, going a bit more mellow musically and Madge states she'll still be around whether you want her to or not.

This is a wonderful joyous album. Well produced by Madonna and Stuart Price, who fufilled his promise with his Jacques LuCont remix of "Hollywood" back in 2003. (Okay, most of the album--"Future Lovers" was produced by Madge and Music/American Life producer Mirwais Ahmadzai, and "How High" and "Like It Or Not" was done with her and Bloodshy & Avant.) I hope this album will be a success in America, which could use a good musical uplift right now, with the popularity of gangsta rap starting to appear to have peaked (with the 50 Cent movie being a box office disappointment). As much as the cliche it sounds, Confessions on a Dance Floor is a definite return to form indeed.

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Blogger hot-lunch said...

the album has definitely grown on me the past week and i am not skipping any tracks, though i do peter out in the end with Issac and Like It Or Not...

I even like I Love New York more now. Yes, Future Lovers has that Light Years\Donna Summer vibe going on for sure - i just meant that the singing of some of the lines sound a bit like Cowboy Style.

funny how there are so many similarites to Kylie on this disc.

I really like Get Together - which reminds me of Kylies live version of Hand On Your Heart and even has the phrase Do You believe in Love At first Sight, which is of course a very common phrase but I cannot help but think of the Kylie track of the same name.... (Love at First Sight)

12:52 AM  
Blogger The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

I get bored with celebrities who complain about fame. If you mean it, shave your head, find a secluded moutain-top to hide on and then never come back. If it weren't for fame and your fans you would have to get a real job.

2:06 AM  

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