Madonna - Music
(Maverick / Warner Bros.)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 7, 2001
By Tony BonyataHopefully, for Madonna's sake, her newlywed husband hasn't heard her latest album, because if he has, then he surely must suspect that the material girl has been sleeping with Kraftwerk's Ralf and Florian. With more Euro dance beats than a Berlin gay bar, Madonna's latest release, simply titled Music, owes more to the German electronica pioneers Kraftwerk than to the light pop fluff of her early career. But the real credit for her updated dance grooves belongs to producer William Orbit and his French protege Mirwais Ahmadzai, who process and spit out Madonna's music through their hi-tech electro-gadgets. This isn't the first time that she's dipped her toes into the electronica pool, though. She first took the plunge on her 1998 Grammy-winning Ray of Light album. The difference with Music is that the songs are better constructed, deconstructed and more tightly produced. Not only has she successfully repackaged her music but she's also, once again, changed her visual appearance, making for a wonderfully strange juxtaposition - trashy cowgirl meets techno diva. A low gravely voice opens up the album, "Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on...I wanna dance with my baby," and Orbit and Ahmadzai accommodate with their infectious, techno euro-beats, electronic loops, hallucinogenic swirls and palpitating bleeps that dominate this hypnotic album.
Madonna's voice is heavily treated and synthesized with the use of vox machines and other techno tricks on the numbers "Impressive Instant," "Nobody's Perfect, " featuring a lazy hip-hop beat, and the atmospheric "Paradise (Not For Me)," which actually sounds more like the hip Japanese duo Cibo Matto. (Her sultry French on the latter song is worth the price of admission alone.)
But pull the plug on all of these electronic machines and, surprisingly enough, the album holds up quite well on its own. The songs are all strong, with 'hit single' branded on at least half of them. Her voice on the acoustic guitar-driven "Gone," sounds like Tori Amos at her most vulnerable, while the introspectiveness of "I Deserve It" and gentle pop of "What It Feels Like For A Girl" adds a warm, human touch to the cold, yet sweaty, terrain.
Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on. In fact put this record on. I wanna dance with my baby - Madonna.
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