New Madonna album all bricolage-style but still brilliant

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Don’t be too surprised by the sudden release of a second single from the forthcoming Madonna LP. And upon first listen to Girl Gone Wild, it’ll feel like a buzzing mosquito is annoying you for a full three and half minutes.

Clichés abound throughout, from its Catholic prayer-like opening to the song’s bottom line message that “girls they just wanna have some fun” (as if we hadn’t heard it all before).

Of course Madonna is no stranger to plagiarism, let alone a little self-reductivist tactic. We’ve already heard the emulated chant of Toni Basil’s Mickey, the subtle stabs at Gaga (“L.A.D… d-d-d-don’t make me…”) and the referencing of her own songs Lucky Star and Beautiful Stranger in Give Me All Your Luvin.

Girl Gone Wild just takes the pastiche thing to a more distorted neon level. Thank goodness, then, that producers Benny and Ale Benassi have taken a leaf out of William Orbit’s book of esoteric trance to pave an hypnotic dance groove that draws the listener in and allows you to forgive all the bastardisation at play.

On the subject of Orbit, he’s returned to produce half of the new album (the second half) and - from tracks what we’ve heard so far - although it’s not exactly of the rawer sentiment that shone through Ray Of Light, some of the music is well worth highlighting, namely the stirring, sonic depth of Falling Free (where lyrically Madonna finally swallows some pride), the surprisingly touching confession I Fucked Up, and tinges of gospel and Sixties doo-wop in I’m A Sinner.

Elsewhere on the LP, the pop-pilfering is also blatant. Gang Bang, with its unfortunate title, is like Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang (I Shot You Down) sent through the Bamix; Superstar namechecks an army of icons in the same way Vogue did; and I’m A Sinner delivers some catchy “ooh oohs” that sound as though they’ve been chopped from the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil.

It’s all clever postmodernist pastiche fun that, sonically, should delight fans of her Confessions period in particular. And, heck, if poaching pop left, right and centre is good enough for Gaga…

 

‘MDNA’ is out now through Interscope / Universal.