Saturday, November 26, 2005

Music: Madonna • Confessions on a Dance Floor

Genre: Dance/electronica
Released: Nov. 15, 2005
Verdict: &&&&1/2

After the commercial failure of American Life, it's no surprise that Madonna takes a radically different approach on Confessions on a Dance Floor, a shimmery, ballad-free dance album that is arguably her most compulsively listenable since Ray of Light. While American Life is underrated – "Love Profusion" ranks among her best songs ever, and the singles were well crafted, even if they failed to connect – I'll agree that the fun had gone out of it. The attempt at rapping was weak, and the jagged production style of Mirwais Ahmadzai, which worked better on Music, became taxing. (On Confessions, Ahmadzai is held over for one track, "Future Lovers," which turns out to be one of the stronger songs here.) Teaming with producer Stuart Price (of the little-known group Zoot Woman), Madonna gets her glitter ball groove back, creating a seamless electronica dish that pulsates with energy and vibrant melodies from start to finish. Lead single "Hung Up," which wraps a great pop hook around ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!," rightfully soared into the Billboard top 10 this week thanks to strong iTunes sales. "Jump" and "Sorry" seem likely singles, but a daring choice would be the chant- and string-filled "Isaac," six minutes of hypnotic bliss in the style of Ray of Light's "Shanti/Ashtangi" and the Music-era B-side "Cyberraga." It's reassuring, on Confessions, to see Madonna let go and have fun – something it seemed she had forgotten how to do. After the creative peak of Ray of Light, some disappointments were inevitable, but this return to form isn't one of them.

// Other music reviews // Enya • Amarantine
// Linkage // Official site -

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