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05:25 December 10

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So Madders returns with her eighth proper studio album and the glorious follow-up to the cool dance beats of 1998's 'Ray Of Light'.

This time William Orbit's dance edge is joined and complimented at the desk by French producer/musician/remixer Mirwais Ahmadzai.

Generally an upbeat dancey album which finds Madonna still ahead of the game sixteen years into her career, 'Music' takes an occasional breather with some more grown-up, reflective balladry.

And judging by the sleeve artwork Madonna has for some reason taken to dressing as a cowgirl and lying around in haylofts. Any road up, here's the new album reviewed track by track...

The recent hit single. A quirksome, cool, vocoder-friendly little dance number with a touch of the Daft Punk's about it.

'Impressive Instant'
Sexy, bass-heavy monster of a floor-filler with cheesy synths, robotic voices and whispers aplenty. Contains the superb line "I like to singy singy singy, like a bird on the wingy wingy wingy".

'Runaway Lover'
Pile-driving, euphoric, low-slung, funky, Euro-dance track with much bleeps, blips, bloops and other William Orbit style sci-fi noises. One of the finest tracks on 'Music'.

'I Deserve It'
Warm and reflective, Neil Young-ish, country flavoured, acoustic-guitared beauty with perhaps Madders looking back over her life so far "I have no regrets, there's nothing to forget, all the pain was worth it" she sings before concluding that she does in fact deserve it.

Another stand-out track. This rock-tinged, rumbling, pure pop dancer with a dreamy, soaraway chorus and more than a nod to previous hit 'Beautiful Stranger', finds our heroine head-over-heels with some boy or other. Inspired by Mr Ritchie perchance?

'Nobody's Perfect'
Air-style, synth-powered, slow, strange and melancholy tune with a vocodered up Madders confessing that she's done wrong and saying she's sorry but hey you know, like, nobody's perfect.

'Don't Tell Me'
Not a classic Madonna track. A touch of Sheryl Crow perhaps with nice Massive Attack-ish string arrangement, oddball stop-start beats. Quite forgettable otherwise.

'What It Feels Like For A Girl'
Tender, sensitive, flirtatious, sexy and oddly vulnerable-feeling ode to the female perspective which opens with a spoken word sample of Charlotte Gainsbourg from the movie The Cement Garden. Compelling little grower.

'Paradise (Not For Me)'
Haunting, Air-meets-Daft Punk style synth atmospherics. More of that vocoder vocal stuff, whispers, lush stirring strings. A six and a half minute epic of a tune.

Pared down, acoustic guitar and beats, country-tinged song with touching harmonies and the now obligatory synthy squirls and swirls. Mature balladry with a twist.

'American Pie'
We've all heard this one. Don McLean's 1972 classic dragged right up to date with some William Orbit production and featuring Madonna's thespian friend Rupert Everett on backing vocals. Quite why Madonna ever considered covering this is a mystery.

Gary Crossing


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