September 28, 2000


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Madonna. Her name is so prolific that she only needs one. She is not just a performer or a singer or an actress. Rather, she is a legend, an icon. Perhaps one of the Material Girl’s greatest assets is that she has been able to change with the times. Its not that her albums have always been successful or that she has always been revered as an artist, but her appeal has always been that she is willing to go out on a limb, to try something new. Madonna does not follow the trends: She sets them.

Which is why her latest album, Music, is such a disappointment. Madonna is following in the under-sized footsteps of popular artists ranging from Britney Spears to Cher and focusing on heavy Euro-style dance music rather than lyrics, her voice, or any form of substance that has worked for her in the past.

On this monotonous album, all of the ten songs seem to blend into one, resulting in the feeling of being drunk and passed out in a horrible nightclub without the ability to pick oneself up and leave. However, the feelings and emotions she sings of are far more superficial and and light-hearted than spiritual endeavor of her last album, Ray of Light.

“Music” and “Impressive Instant” are about her love for music. They are probably the only two songs on the album that aren’t devoted to a lost love. It seems as though this singer has lost her “Like a Virgin” edge.

Many of the incessantly repetitive lyrics don’t make sense. In the jerky techno of “Impressive Instant” she sings, “I like to singy singy singy like a bird on a wingy wingy wingy.”

Random insertions of twangy guitar and vocal intonations in “I Deserve It,” “Don’t Tell Me,” and “Gone.” And the country-western costume that she dons on the cover don’t seem to help her much.

Music, however, does have its positive aspects. The feeling of the songs on this album are much closer to the spontaneity of a garage band than the perfectly calculated studio albums that epitomize her past. It seems that Madonna is trying to celebrate the universality of music, hence the name of her title track, “Music.” It is as though she wants to capture a feeling more than convey a distinct thought or emotion. In “Music,” she says, “Music makes the people come together/ Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.” (I assume that it makes them come together, but she doesn’t clarify.)

This is definitely an interesting concept for her album, even if its content is less than satisfactory. It is just sad that this subject matter is dropped after the second track, while the album drags on for eight more.

That said, not only is this album not original, it’s not even good. Maybe thirteen is just an unlucky number. But as Madonna confesses in the title of her eighth track