Madonna’s MDNA: The Reviews Are In!

by (@unclegrambo)

Madonna‘s 12th studio album, MDNA, just came out today and it’s already the #1 selling album in the iTunes Store. The critical consensus on the record, however, is decidedly mixed. We’re excited to give it a few spins after work tonight and decide for ourselves, but in the interim, here’s a taste of what some of our favorite music publications and critics have to say about Madge’s new jawn. (We already know what Deadmau5 thinks!)

THE GOOD
MDNA is a collection of thoroughly pumping pop tunes, some of which are slices of sheer brilliance. Not only does Madonna take us to the club with MDNA, she exhausts us, drains us, and confides in us.”—Keith Caulfield’s review for Billboard

“Madonna’s in a rapturous state of mind in 2012, and in more ways than one: A bulk of her latest album, an incredible, varied collection of pounding club cuts, bloody revenge odes and swinging, psychedelic ’60?s-tinged anthems, seems to be tripping out on acid–or, more accurately, ecstasy … MDNA is an incredible, explosively defiant record, but also [one that contains] unexpectedly raw, introspective balladry, all of which showcasing far more vulnerability than one might have concluded from the album’s two lead singles.”—Bradley Stern’s review for MuuMuse

“In fact, much of MDNA has more the flip zip of a disc by Katy Perry or Ke$ha than something by a woman who may be older than both their mothers … So many good tracks crowd the disc, in fact, that even the four extras on the deluxe version rate as must-owns.”—Jim Farber’s 5-star review for the New York Daily News

THE MIXED
“Madge spends nearly half the album insisting that this is the Best Party Ever … So it’s surprising that Madonna is at her best on the love songs. The W.E. ballad ”Masterpiece” (which won her a Golden Globe in January) begins with Spanish guitar and a finger-snap rhythm — a refreshing break from the relentless bass throbbing.”—Melissa Maerz’s B- review for Entertainment Weekly

MDNA is our lady’s divorce album … Revealing herself has always been part of her art, and this is hardly her first album that’s dark, messy and conflicted. But MDNA stands as Madonna’s most explicit work. Only who would have expected her to be this explicit with her… feelings?”—Joe Levy’s 3.5 star review for Rolling Stone

MDNA, out today, is a strange, asymmetrical, halfway successful album. Its strength is in how it shows Madonna—she of cartoonishly meticulous self-presentation: toned arms, put-on accent, and vanity film projects—as shitty, worn out, and human as anyone. In pop now, this is almost radical.”—Gareth Grundy’s 3 star review for The Guardian

THE NOT-SO GOOD
“Madonna’s 12th studio album is the product of both a merger and a divorce, but as much as the singer attempts to milk the latter event for pathos over the course of its 16 tracks, the tone is mostly set by corporate dealmaking … These sort of records don’t need to be cynical or uninspired on an artistic level, but this one feels particularly hollow, the dead-eyed result of obligations, deadlines, and hedged bets.”—Matthew Perpetua’s 4.5 review for Pitchfork

“She’s found countless sounds that welcome her, but the dance-pop of 2012 is not one of them. It’s hard-edged, dense, shiny, and mechanistic, a harsh and unforgiving environment for an instrument that’s always fared better in sonic hothouses. Put MDNA‘s production and her vocals together and everything’s flat, colorless, and blocky — as if made out of Legos and photographed in black and white — and no number of chirpy hooks can combat that.”—Nitsuh Abebe’s review for Vulture

“The music here is certainly not disarming, and while it’s dangerous to speculate on the listening habits of artists, MDNA more than anything sounds like an album made by someone who’s lost touch with the desires of today’s popular music while pursuing other endeavors, including child-rearing and moviemaking.”—Randall Roberts’ review for the Los Angeles Times

So, what say you? We’d love to hear your thoughts about Madonna’s new album in the comments below!

[Photo: Interscope]