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  Madonna: Music
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Cover Image
Music
2000

CD $13.28
Tape $12.49


Madonna
Music
(Maverick)

It's impossible to listen to Music, Madonna's ninth album of new material, without making the inevitable comparisons to her Grammy-winning 1998 electronic opus Ray of Light. Like that album, Music is awash in dance beats and computerized bleeps and loops (William Orbit, who co-produced Ray of Light, is even brought back on a few tracks here) -- but that's where the similarities stop.

Music is a weaker record than its predecessor, with only a few tracks possessing the strength, pop sensibility, and hooks that made Ray of Light such a success. The record is also a slightly less intimate one, with only "I Deserve It" (which addresses the singer's beau, British filmmaker Guy Ritchie), "Nobody's Perfect" (which addresses her critics), "Paradise (Not for Me)" (which looks back at her career), and "Gone" (reaffirming her values) pertaining directly to her life.

Several of the songs -- "I Deserve It," "Don't Tell Me," and "Gone" -- are oddball amalgamations of folk and electronica that don't always work. On each of these songs, Madonna sings over weakly arranged trip-hop beats and acoustic guitars. This sounds especially inconsistent on "I Deserve It," which comes after the heavy disco pace and electronic loops of "Impressive Instant" and "Runaway Lover." "Amazing," a cheesy attempt at recreating the retro-guitar charm of Madonna's 1999 hit, "Beautiful Stranger," is also far less than perfect, and "Paradise (Not for Me)," which tries hard to sound artful with its whispery spoken-word vocals, fails miserably.

Fortunately, all is not lost on Music. The single-worthy "What It Feels Like for a Girl" is one of Madonna's best songs in recent years, thanks to a catchy refrain, keyboard hook, and clever lyrics depicting society's double standard for the so-called weaker sex: "Strong inside but you don't know it / Good little girls they never show it / When you open up your mouth to speak / Could you be a little weak?" "Impressive Instant," despite being one of several tracks tackily using a vocoder, and "Runaway Lover," with its catchy melody and arrangement, also provide some of Music's better moments.

Unfortunately, these are but a few bright spots on a record that is far from Madonna's best work. Obviously, not every release can possess the strength of Ray of Light, even for someone of Madonna's caliber. She inadvertently addresses this issue when she sings, "Nobody's perfect / What did you expect? / I'm doing my best." Indeed.

Regis D'Angiolini
CDNOW Copy Editor



Madonna
Music
(Maverick)

It's impossible to listen to Music, Madonna's ninth album of new material, without making the inevitable comparisons to her Grammy-winning 1998 electronic opus Ray of Light. Like that album, Music is awash in dance beats and computerized bleeps and loops (William Orbit, who co-produced Ray of Light, is even brought back on a few tracks here) -- but that's where the similarities stop.

Music is a weaker record than its predecessor, with only a few tracks possessing the strength, pop sensibility, and hooks that made Ray of Light such a success. The record is also a slightly less intimate one, with only "I Deserve It" (which addresses the singer's beau, British filmmaker Guy Ritchie), "Nobody's Perfect" (which addresses her critics), "Paradise (Not for Me)" (which looks back at her career), and "Gone" (reaffirming her values) pertaining directly to her life.

Several of the songs -- "I Deserve It," "Don't Tell Me," and "Gone" -- are oddball amalgamations of folk and electronica that don't always work. On each of these songs, Madonna sings over weakly arranged trip-hop beats and acoustic guitars. This sounds especially inconsistent on "I Deserve It," which comes after the heavy disco pace and electronic loops of "Impressive Instant" and "Runaway Lover." "Amazing," a cheesy attempt at recreating the retro-guitar charm of Madonna's 1999 hit, "Beautiful Stranger," is also far less than perfect, and "Paradise (Not for Me)," which tries hard to sound artful with its whispery spoken-word vocals, fails miserably.

Fortunately, all is not lost on Music. The single-worthy "What It Feels Like for a Girl" is one of Madonna's best songs in recent years, thanks to a catchy refrain, keyboard hook, and clever lyrics depicting society's double standard for the so-called weaker sex: "Strong inside but you don't know it / Good little girls they never show it / When you open up your mouth to speak / Could you be a little weak?" "Impressive Instant," despite being one of several tracks tackily using a vocoder, and "Runaway Lover," with its catchy melody and arrangement, also provide some of Music's better moments.

Unfortunately, these are but a few bright spots on a record that is far from Madonna's best work. Obviously, not every release can possess the strength of Ray of Light, even for someone of Madonna's caliber. She inadvertently addresses this issue when she sings, "Nobody's perfect / What did you expect? / I'm doing my best." Indeed.

Regis D'Angiolini
CDNOW Copy Editor


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