Rolling Stone has provided a glimpse into the future with an exclusive preview of Madonna’s new album. No, not sample tracks. Just a write-up of the track-by-track experience. Click here to see it in full. It’s worrisome on several counts. First of all, it must be noted that the reviewer is Rolling Stone after all, which famously romps in overindulgent praise of musical icons such as Madonna. They’re also fairly uninformed in matters of the dance floor (connoisseurs of Pop they are not.) Basically, this should be taken with a big ol’ serving o’ salt.
That being said, the review gets troublesome as soon as it launches into the song descriptions. Timbaland, mentioned at least five to six times in this short album sampler, seems to be in solid control of the album, as feared by most. The article mentions the usage of his signature beats within many of the tracks. Note: These signature beats being riffs “borrowed” from Indian tracks released in the mid-90’s. You don’t believe me? Oh, don’t tempt me with a good time, because I’ll be forced to post the countless YouTube videos with titles such as “TIMBALAND STEALZ TRAX AGAIN1!!” And yes, they’re all accurate.
Timbaland’s direct influence aside, each track is at least once associated with a recording already made. “Candy Shop” is Pharell‘s lone exception, though the song has already leaked. It contains some shards of glittery brilliance betwixt the verses, but remains understated and underwhelming as a packaged production.
So what can we gather from the new tracks? “Miles Away” sounds like Justin‘s FutureSex/LoveSounds, “Heartbeat” recalls Nelly Furtado‘s “Promiscuous,” and “Give It To Me,” sounds like a track borrowed from Britney‘s Blackout recording sessions. Put it all together and the result is not a Madonna album by my understanding, but rather a greatest hits of sorts for an overly visible producer, guised beneath an artist who should and can be setting the standards for pop music into the new century. She’s already proven she’s still “got it” only three years ago. Confessions on a Dancefloor utilized Stuart Price, a dance aficionado and DJ supreme whose talents were never fully tapped until Madonna’s 2005 album. It was one of Madonna’s most marketable, fulfilling releases yet.
Am I reading too much into a 500 word write-up of a 15 minute listening session? Oh, yes. Am I jumping the gun in assuming the worst? Probably. However, if “Candy Shop” and “4 Minutes To Save The World” are anything to represent the album, then I remain utterly unimpressed.