Madonna’s new ‘MDNA’ album sends pop lesson to young guard

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Madonna’s new ‘MDNA’ album sends pop lesson to young guard



PARIS - Jostling for space with younger rivals like Lady Gaga, Madonna brings a grown woman’s voice to her new album “MDNA,” out today, on which the 53-year-old Queen of Pop evokes the pain of her divorce.

Since her last album, the dance-flavoured “Hard Candy” in 2008, new faces have crowded into the space long ruled by the Material Girl: Rihanna for sexiness, Lana Del Rey for smoky glamour, and the ever-theatrical Lady Gaga.

So when Madonna announced she was working on a new album, the music world raised a skeptical eyebrow: put frankly, can a woman in her 50s still set the pace in a youth-driven pop world?

The first track from the album, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” which Madonna performed at the Super Bowl last month, failed to win over the music press.

But critics have since given a thumbs up to Madonna’s 12th studio album, which leaked on the Internet last week ahead of its release.

“Madonna is still very much the Queen of Pop,” wrote the U.S. magazine Billboard. “Nearly 30 years after first hitting the Billboard charts with her debut single ‘Everybody,’ Madonna is still showing the world how it’s done.” Likewise, Britain’s Daily Mirror wrote that “Madonna’s new album shows the young pretenders she is still a force to be reckoned with.”

Madonna teamed up with a host of carefully chosen collaborators for “MDNA”, most notably M.I.A, the British hip-hop star who set tongues wagging at the Super Bowl with a brief flip of the middle finger.

The album - whose title is a play on the nightclub drug MDMA - is peppered with hedonistic dance tracks, but they share space with highly personal pieces in which Madonna alludes to her 2008 divorce from British director Guy Ritchie.

Several tracks are odes to her failed marriage, like “I Don’t Give A” where she sings that “I tried to be your wife/ I diminished myself.” And “Gang Bang,” a hard-electroclash song that could be the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie, rings like a revenge fantasy, as she sings ominously of shooting a lover in the head. AFP
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