Maverick Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


After Madonna's collaboration with techno producer William Orbit on the electronica-pop Ray Of Light, she has taken a similar route with the follow-up Music, on which she works with French techno man Mirwais Ahmadzai on the bulk of the tracks.

Though Music's underlying style is the same as its predecessor, it is more buoyant and brisk and far less intense. It is a racy club record, whose main aim is to be carefree and party hard, which is not the case with its rather contemplative predecessor. The Ahmadzai-produced songs on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Music have distinct similarities to his own work. The vocals on most of these seedily peppy cuts are glossed with cellophane coatings -- much like those on his solo project -- that make them sound rather robotic.

But, Ahmadzai's actual forte lies in his cleverness with drum-programming. The polished metallic sound of his impinging beats, coupled with their unpredictable rhythms, yield an excitingly hip electronic percussive sound. Take away the electrifying beats from the singles "Music" and "Don't Tell Me," and they lose all of their pizzazz.

Madonna relives the humanness of Ray Of Light on a couple of tracks -- "Runaway Lover" and "Amazing" -- on which she has collaborated with Orbit. These two cuts have the simplicity in sophistication that her numbers with Ahmadzai don't. The straightforwardness of these numbers brings out Madonna's beautiful voice to the fore from its suppression (due to experimental vocal amplifications) on most of the other songs.

It is surprising that on this album of frivolity and jollification, a track like "What It Feels Like For A Girl" should make a presence. This is possibly the most vexatious song Madonna has ever penned. The subtlety and humbleness with which the burning feminist rage is hidden on this cut makes its deeply felt bitterness even more stinging. Among all the feminist numbers Madonna has ever sung, this one gets the first prize for having the deepest wound.

Yet all parties are cursed with party-poopers; and Music has a couple of killjoys that dampen its high-spirited gaiety. The high exhilaration of the album is literally shot in the head at point-blank range with the closing numbers, "Paradise (Not For Me)" and "Gone." It is not the slowness of these cuts that kill the fun; it is their absolute blandness that's bothersome. And in an album of such brisk enthusiasm, the flatness of these tracks manifest quite glaringly.

Music is one heck of an adrenaline rush; this is a party that shouldn't be missed at any cost. Madonna will never grow too old; at 42, this pop-diva still knew how to party right and party hard.

Rating: A-

User Rating: C



© 2006 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Maverick Records, and is used for informational purposes only.