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Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? Madonna – MDNA

In the spirit of Her Madgesty’s penchant for re-invention, I’ve decided to change the format of my regular Judgement Day: Heaven or Hell album reviews and try out a new approach with my rather late review of much abuzzed #1 album MDNA. Enjoy! – Dean

Despite their complete domination of the pop charts over the last few years, it’s really not easy being a pop starlet.

In today’s musical climate female pop artists are endlessly pitted against one-another in fanbase and media-created feuds. They are often criticized for acting “too old” when they’re younger and “too young” when they’re older. They are subjected to endless public scrutiny for their appearance and resort to extreme measures to stay young and beautiful. In recent years we’ve entered a derivative era in popular culture where we continue to reference and remake our own very recent past. Despite this being the trend, many artists are constantly accused of “ripping off” songs, costumes, and choreography from one another and basically damned if they do/damned if they don’t.

Leading up to the release of MDNA on March 23rd, there was a lot of speculation and concern from fans and music lovers at large. Madonna’s last release, 2008’s Hard Candy was widely panned as some of her weakest material to date. While the album contained a few shining gems, it was a far cry from the woman who brought us the bold and ballsy brilliance of 1992’s Erotica and the stunning introspection of 2008’s Ray of Light. Early buzz about MDNA suggested the album would be based in hip-hop and after confirmation of collaborators like Nicki Minaj many expected a sound that would feel like Hard Candy pt. 2.

Fortunately for all of us, we were completely wrong. In fact, MDNA manages to be some of Madonna’s freshest and most exciting material in years.

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