Whatever you thought of her in the 1980s, by the turn of the 21st century it was hard not to have some respect for Madonna. Her ability to bring together some of the finest producers in the world of electronic – even if only by virtue of the size of the paycheck – was impressive to say the least.
After collaborating with William Orbit and Mirwaïs on previous releases, on Confessions on a Dance Floor, it was the turn of Stuart Price, once styled Jacques Lu Cont of Les Rhythmes Digitales.
Confessions on a Dance Floor starts with Hung Up, modelled around Gimme Gimme Gimme. The nice thing about taking other people’s songs as a starting point is that you can pretty much guarantee yourself a hit, and so it was with Hung Up, which peaked at number 1 all over the place. Rightly so – it’s a great song.
Other songs miss the mark slightly – third single Get Together is a bit chaotic, apparently based on Music Sounds Better with You (possibly played backwards?) Despite having confusing lyrics and no particular hooks, it still grabbed a top ten spot in the UK, and was a decent hit elsewhere too.
Second single Sorry follows, the track that Pet Shop Boys really brought to life with their remixes. Leaving aside the appalling foreign pronunciations, it’s a pretty good song, but does lack a bit of substance in its original form. If only Madonna could write lyrics like Neil Tennant – this could have been the blueprint for their Electric album.
As it is, there’s an early lull with the dull Future Lovers and the abominable I Love New York, neither of which has anything particular to offer the world. Neither is particularly long, but both seem as though they go on forever. Madonna isn’t a good lyric writer, and rhyming “New York” with “dork” is neither funny nor clever unfortunately. Other singers have got across a similar message much more eloquently.
Having worked through that, however, Let it Will Be and Forbidden Love are actually both pretty good – both are catchy pop songs, again with slightly daft lyrics, but that’s forgivable sometimes. Actually, in many ways both are better than the other single, Jump, which follows, and is decent, but ultimately has relatively little to offer except the word “jump” in the chorus.
You could probably skip the rest of the album and not miss too much. How High is catchy but lacking in any particular substance. Isaac has some nice vocal samples, but not a huge amount else. Push is kind of catchy but ultimately forgettable, and Like it or Not has a nice cheeky rhythm and burbly bassline, but it’s just an average pop song in the end.
So that’s Confessions on a Dance Floor – a mature and competent album from a global superstar who would sell a lot of records even if she released a CD of herself snoring. But when she works together with the right team, Madonna is still capable of creating interesting music, and for that she has to be applauded.
You can still find Confessions on a Dance Floor through your regular retailers at a bargain price.