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Let the "Music" Go On,
This review is from: Music (Audio CD)
On her last outing Madonna wowed both critics and the public alike. By brilliantly combining electronic beats with strong melodies on Ray of Light, Madonna took pop music in a bold, new direction. Madonna's new album Music picks up where Ray of Light left off, but ultimately this album will not be remembered as adventurous as its predecessor. Madonna sticks with the same formula that made Ray of Light a critic's darling, and that's certainly not a bad thing.
It would be easy to be misled by Music's first single and title track. The single Music, currently in heavy airplay on radio stations around the country, is a quirky, fun little number with simple, easy-to-digest lyrics. It brings to mind some of the happy-go-lucky music of Madonna's past. Music the album, however, sometimes gets deeply personal and strangely moving at times. It is older, wiser Madonna that we find here, one we can relate to and empathize with. "Many miles, many roads I have traveled, fallen down on the way," sings the one-time Material Girl on "I Deserve It." Suddenly Madonna doesn't seem so much like a glamour icon here as much as a world-weary soul-searcher.
Style-wise the album is still punctuated heavily with electronic loops and beats. "Impressive Instant" is an incredible sonic whirlwind, and "Runaway Lover" is headed straight to the dance floor. There is however more use of acoustical guitar here though than on Ray of Light. For the first few seconds of "Don't Tell Me," you would think you were listening to a John Denver song until staccato beats punctuate the song to a magnificent effect. There is heavy use of vocal manipulation (ala Cher's "Believe") throughout the album. Sometimes this is distracting, as in "Nobody's Perfect," a beautiful ballad that suffers from over-production.
On Music, Madonna continues here collaboration with electronic-mastermind William Orbit, as well as bringing in French artist Mirwais to produce some songs. On this album though, we the audience are more familiar with electronica thanks to Ray of Light, so nothing seems as new and shocking as than on that album. Most of the songs are heavily produced with beats and synthesizers, but they rarely mask the underlying melodies and emotion.
All in all, Music is another highly accomplished effort from Madonna, and one of her best albums. High-tech wizardry aside, this is still very much a Madonna album- sometimes light, sometimes challenging, but always entertaining. "Selling out is not my thing," she sings on "Gone," and she hasn't. More a continuation of her foray into electronica than a new effort, this album makes a nice bookend to Ray of Light, and it certainly deserves a spot in your CD collection.