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Madonna Song Reviews

Madonna (1983)

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Lucky Star 9.5/10

*prepares to wiggle bottom for one mean dance*

It's such a happy and unpretentious pop song with a catchy melody. The instrumentation is dated (Oh, that synth-bass!), but it’s more or less advantageous to the enjoyment of the song. The fade out at the end is a cop-out, but that’s a minor complaint.

Borderline 8.5/10

It sounds even more dated than “Lucky Star” but it’s another fun song. It still works as a dance floor ditty, but it’s probably not that popular. The stripped-down section in the middle might have worked except it’s devoid of any musical ideas. Wasn’t there someone in the studio to provide a rip-roaring electric guitar or keyboard solo? Whatever. The hooks in the song are solid, though.

Burning Up 8.5/10

This is a Eurythmics clone. Hey, I never accused of Madonna being original! Ever. This song has a nice, hard-driven beat. More than ever, I continue to appreciate the catchiness of these songs!

I Know It 7.5/10

Here is the least inspired contribution on the first side, but it’s not bad. The melody has its good points, and I like the scaling synths embellishing the otherwise stripped down pop song.

Holiday 10/10

This is an unrestrained and enjoyable pop song that obviously aged with time, but that’s doesn’t mean it isn’t 100 percent fun. The song arrangement features some festive percussion choices, and it’s certainly the best of the album in that regard. It’s also hopelessly catchy! This song continues to be popular today, and it’s not unwelcome.

Think of Me 7/10

This bastard is too damn long, but it’s a mildly respectable dance-pop song. Again, the melody is catchy but not infectious. The pop song was going fine, but then she revisited the annoying idea of stripping down everything until only the groove remains. This doesn’t add a thing … it just extends the running length. Alas, that was probably the point.

Physical Attraction 5/10

Big yikes! is the least inspired song of the album thus far, and this strikes me as being closer to what Madonna would succumb to in her future albums. It has a groove, but it’s boring and toneless. Madonna’s vocal performance is similarly bland. Considering the song is an alarming 6:30 minutes screams FILLER at me. Barren pop wastelands such as this is what makes me resent the whole genre!!!!

Everybody 6/10

This piece of crap effectively marks the transition between Madonna’s happy and breezy first period to her lackluster later period, although the groove is enjoyable for the first 30 seconds. Her familiar “sexy” vocal performance is evident here, but there’s no feeling in it. The melody is OK but redundant and sterile. Six minutes was too long for it.

Bonus Tracks

They're just re-mixes of Burning Up and Lucky Star that I don't care enough about to listen to twice within the same hour. Sorry.

Like a Virgin (1984)

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Like a Virgin

Material Girl 8/10

And Madonna's kitsch classic starts things off on the, um, right foot. The hooks are alright although the chord changes are awfully boring. I guess that we come to expect that sort of thing from studio songwriters! The hooks are fairly solid, and the melody is pretty memorable. The instrumentation is surprisingly sparse for such a pop hit although, that groove gets quite old after awhile. In fact this whole song gets old after awhile ... six mintues was three minutes too long for it. Just settle for the single version. Madonna's yelps are kind of cute at least ... cute like that dress she's wearing on the cover. Those robotic choruses repeating "Liv-ing-in-a-material-world" is also cute, but it's just another novelty that gets overused here.

Angel 8.5/10

Instead of being three minutes too long, "Angel" is only one minute too long. This track really isn't that bad other than Madonna doesn't change the tone of it AT ALL. There's one groove and doesn't change at all from fade-in to fade-out. It's just another one of those faceless '80s tracks that's in-one-ear-out-the-other. The melody is alright, though, so it deserves some credit. The instrumentation is dated in a bad way, but still fun for all the boring '80s awesomeness anybody ever cared about during that stupid decade.

Like a Virgin 9/10

This is basically a rip off of "Billie Jean" (does anyone else think so?). Anyway, this is the best song on the album by far, really. The melody is easily the catchiest and the groove is their nicest. They're so freaking unambitious, though --- they continue to keep that boring old tone throughout the track for *gasp* six minutes. But at least this melody and groove had enough intertia to keep it going for that long. Nice job for once. Be sure you thank Michael Jackson.

Over and Over 6/10

Now we're traversing into real banal territory. She already has three hits. Why write anything else of value? "Over & Over" doesn't have a catchy melody whatsoever, which renders it effectively useless. The groove grows boring after 10 seconds, and I want to beat my head in through my neckhole after awhile.

Love Don't Live Here Anymore 6.5/10

As if it couldn't get any worse, Madonna follows that up with "Love Don't Live Here Anymore." It begins rather promisingly, with a quiet groove that sounds like it's being played by a Commodore 64. But what emerges is a completely boring and toneless ballad. The stringed instrumentation and a small choir seemed to try to give the effort some body, but the choir is clumsy, and the strings don't do nearly enough to make up for any of that. Whoever composed this was boring!!! It gets a little better when the drums pipe up, but that seemed more like an afterthought ---- like the composer new that the arrangement was boring, so he/she just threw some drums in there. Boring, boring, boring... I am giving a boost in the points, though, because the development is quite a bit more advanced than other Madonna tracks.

Dress You Up 7/10

This is poppier and somehow better because of that. There's a few nice points in the melody, but it really didn't have much to begin with. To prove these guys had no ideas, they strip everything down bare in the middle of the track to just the drums. The drums continue to play what it was always playing. They didn't put an instrumental solo in there or anything. The half-wits!! There's another section with a guitar solo, but they didn't take it too far. This track loses even more points for being the longest on the album when it only had enough ideas for two minutes.

Shoo-Bee-Doo 5.5/10

More of that '80s blandness is here with "Shoo-Bee-Doo," which has to (for some reason) exist. The chord changes are boring and have probably been done about 8 billion times before. The melody is fine the first five times she repeats it, but there's only so much you can repeat a mediocre hook before it starts to eat at you like battery acid. This song has a brief sax solo in it ... well that's worth something.

Pretender 5/10

Ah, my braaaaaaaaaaain!!!!!! "Pretender" is so boring that it drives me crazy. It all starts with that stupid riff that we hear on those vibe-type instruments. The bass-line is so regular and boring ... it's eating right into me ....... Madonna certainly doesn't sing a melody worth much of anything. You'd think they would do something like ... I don't know ... CREATIVE. But that's too much to ask. Why do people buy Madonna albums? How can they settle for this mediocrity? It probably only took 30 minutes for them to write this stupid song.

Stay 5.5/10

Nope. Madonna doesn't end her crapperpiece with anything worth remembering. "Stay" is another faceless '80s track. You'd at least hope that she would get some consistently nice melodies to work with, but I guess that's not important if you have an unmatchable PR department. Who needs melodies if everyone's going to buy your stuff because of your image? This is why Madonna sucks. She doesn't care about her music --- she just cares about the money she makes from it. Case closed.

True Blue (1986)

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True Blue

Papa Don't Preach 10/10

It starts out with some classical posturing before the groove starts up. In that way, it's similar to ABBA's "As Good As New!" However, as far as melodies go, this is easily Madonna's best to this point ... and maybe later as well. The production is very '80s but in the good way this time. I hate to say that this uber-polished sound has been influential to creating the worst of the worst of pop music in the '80s! It sounds nice here ... there's very little that seems cheesy to me. I really hate the lyrics, though, so I don't pay attention to them!

Open Your Heart 8/10

Unfortunately, once you abandon the fantastic melodies, the song tends to suffer! This freaking track has a merely average melody, and it doesn't even stand a chance to get stuck in my head in a good way. What's left is a rather overproduced '80s song. As far as instrumentation and excessive '80s production standards go, I'll have to give this a thumbs-up. The percussion was programmed very well, and I like the '80s synths they use. It's done a lot better here than it was in her previous album. I think this is a minute too long though...

White Heat 7/10

This track starts out with some dialog from a cheesy '30s gangster movie. Usually, dialog like this doesn't work well, and it adds positively nothing to "White Heat." Kate Bush did something similar the year before in Hounds of Love and it worked nicely! You can tell the difference between those two ... Madonna has as many great ideas as Bush has bad ideas!! (And Bush probably had about three bad ideas.) But anyway, the groove starts up pretty quickly, and Madonna starts to sing a pop song. It's not too bad but I get awfully tired of it very quickly. She doesn't do a whole lot to keep it interesting ... the instrumentation remains fairly constant throughout the entire production, and the so-so hook gets repeated about eight billion times.

Live to Tell 6.5/10

That extended synth intro sounded like it was borrowed from the Alan Parsons Project in a pretty bad way. Oh well, as far as '80s crap goes, this intro was OK. This ballad's melody, however, is absolutely the worst in the album so far though. It has a nice hook here and there, but this whole thing just seems like one overburdened, drecky synth track. The production was alright (I like that busy synth line that pops up every once in awhile). This is really feeble compared to an ABBA ballad.

Where's the Party 5.5/10

Her is another upbeat, dancey track, which is clearly more up her alley. But the hooks here are so empty that there's very little for me to enjoy here. The melody is pretty involved, but it's just not a good one. What's left is a lot of show, but nothing to show for it!

True Blue 4/10

This is a song I always hated for many reasons. It's the most annoying and horrible track on the album, easily. The melody sounds like a 10-year-old wrote it in about 30 minutes after listening to an oldies station for two days straight. Furthermore, someone should give Madonna a lesson in lyrics writing. She should say: "You're the one I dream of." It's called rhythm, baby!

La Isla Bonita 5/10

I don't have anything against diversity but not when you're going to be a dork about it. This is a horrible attempt at combining this horrible '80s pop music with Latin stylings. The melody was OK though repeated too often, but its the production that destroyed it. Who needs that robotic bass line? That cheesy Spanish guitar destroys that instrument!!! This track is a big, 5+ minute hunk of over-produced boring.

Jimmy, Jimmy 7.5/10

This is another hopeless attempt to '80s-fy the '50s. Whoever said that '50s pop music was good enough to update anyway? That said I find this song enjoyable in an almost perverse way. I like the production here, which is surprising because I hated it so much in the previous track. The dark bass is fun, and then we hear these twinkly sound effects at times ... that was very nice. But those call and response phrases of "Jimmy, Jimmy oh Jimmy Jimmy" get tiresome pretty quickly.

Love Makes the World Go Round 6.5/10

We know Madonna doesn't believe the song title "Love Makes the World Go Round," because she loves money so much!!!! This has those party-time synths in the chorus that has a festive, bossa nova like feeling to it. They're cheesy but that's the only part of this track I like. Otherwise, the melody is boringly toneless.


Just other versions of "La Isla Bonita" and "True Blue." Why they cut bonus issues of the worst songs on the album means that Madonna personally hates me. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case actually!

Who's That Girl (1987)

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Who's That Girl

Who's That Girl 7/10

When I think I'm listening to a song called "Who's That Girl," the Eurythmics composition always comes to mind. You're pretty much better off listening to that song, because it's so much better. Madonna fans: You wouldn't even believe it. But anyway, no matter how much I dislike Madonna, I can't claim actively hating this song. There's nothing particularly annoying about it. The melody is bland and the groove is meaningless, but at least none of it is annoying. There's a lot of '80s production here, but even that's tolerable. This just goes in one ear and out the other. It does nothing to change your life, and it's better for that.

Causing a Commotion 6/10

This is a pile of meaningless mumbo jumbo, and it's pretty annoying this time. How a song like this would have been a hit in the '80s is beyond frustrating for me as someone who enjoys listening to melodic music. This track is so hookless that she didn't even seem to be trying. Remember: Madonna was only popular because of her PR skills and nothing else.

The Look of Love 5/10

This is a ballad of sorts. The instrumentation seems to try to emulate Peter Gabriel's pioneering efforts into world music. OK, I love hearing '80s world music, but one thing Madonna forgot to put in this song is --- I bet you can guess it --- a melody! You wonder why the hell she's even singing. This is so toneless and bland that any singer with a conscious would have just given up singing it in the middle.

24 Hours 3/10

This is written by some fellow named Duncan Faure who should probably be re-named "Hunk of Manure." Despite the fact that Madonna's three songs that opened the album are bland hunks of nothing, "24 Hours" manages to make them sound pretty good. A most annoying '80s groove pipes up that threatens to evaporate my brains. (OK I'm not listening to this album with headphones anymore!) Like the Madonna tracks, the song has no hooks whatsoever. You'd think these people have never heard a Beatles song before.

Step By Step 3/10

This is a sort of old school hip-hop song by someone called "Club Noveau" who should probably be re-named "Club My Head." And, it's annoying as hell. I guess old hip-hop guys had no idea what they were doing. This track is poorly arranged and overly repetitive ... If I have to hear that chorus "step by step" one more time, I'll cry. That instrumental bit in the middle was just stupid. It's gets cluttery and the session musicians sound like they've only been playing their instruments for two months --- whoever was playing that piano, especially, should die.

Turn it Up 5.5/10

Credited to somebody named "Michael Davidson" but he should probably be renamed "Sucky McSuckysucks." This is an over-produced '80s song although it's almost tolerable. They really should have worked on that melody and some of those chord changes. Those vocal effects and repeated lines were a big mistake. But --- hell, compared to everything else I've been subjected to in this album lately (AKA the devil's armpit), this is a masterpiece!

Best Thing Ever 7/10

This was credited to somebody named "Scritti Politti" who should probably be re-named "Crappy Po-Crappy." Actually I heard some of their albums before, and I thought the music was pretty bland. Though they're probably more musically gifted than Madonna --- not much though. This track contains merely a goofy overproduced '80s groove (similar to the music they always make). The melody isn't that catchy but somehow likable.

Can't Stop 3/10

Madonna, please do! Her fourth and final contribution on this piece of poop soundtrack starts out OK but it grows stale pretty quickly. Again, it consists of a ridiculous '80s groove that's as interesting as algebra class and a melody that's as fulfilling as a cow turd. If she had any melodic sense, her music would have been more tolerable. As I've been saying about her all along, she knows she doesn't need to sweat working on quality songwriting --- she's got the PR department that'll make her $$$ no matter what "music" she comes up with.

El Coco Loco (So So Bad) 0/10

This needs no description. It's so so bad. For some reason, these evil-heads save the worst song for last so the album ends with me wanting to go ape-crazy and start hitting inanimate objects with a metal bat. She can't end the album with anything less frustrating? This song is by somebody named "Coati Mundi" who should probably be renamed "Worthless." The music is the worst possible combination of salsa and mainstream '80s production. The lead singer sounds like he's engaging in a combination of singing and vomiting. You'd hope this guy wasn't serious, but I have a feeling that he was. Why this desecration has to go on for well past six minutes is evidence that the devil has it in for every one of us. Make no mistake about that.

You Can Dance (1987)

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You Can Dance

Spotlight 8/10

This was a leftover from True Blue. Sorry to belabor the point, but the melody isn't memorable to me. However, it's certainly above average in terms of her norm, so consider this one of her best dance tracks. (That statement is worth something to people who don't agree that Madonna is overrated as heck.) Naturally, the main attraction of this song is its danceable groove, and I definitely think this groove is catchier than she normally makes it. The problem is the track is six minutes long and she didn't have many ideas to really warrant that length. OK, but at least you don't have to change your dance moves too quickly... you know. (As I said, Madonna doesn't change the dance beat --- she moves immediately onto the next track without a skip in the beat. There was some attempt for a transition. A very feeble attempt.)

Holiday 9.5/10

The nicest thing about Madonna compilations is that it's always going to have "Holiday" on it. It must. That's probably her best songs, and nobody in the business of purchasing compilations would ever want an album without it. As a further example of its rarity in Madonna's career --- it's even enjoyable when it's extended past six minutes. The groove never gets old, and the melody is actually catchy. The instrumentation is varied enough to keep it interesting, as well. (Although that's piano solo is about the worst jazz improvization I've ever heard.) It's a shame she didn't have too many songs like this......

Everybody 7/10

This was one of the lesser tracks from her debut album although it's not necessarily unwelcome here. It has an OK groove for awhile, but it gets tiring after a little while. For some reason I'm liking this better than when I'm hearing it here. I can't, for the life of me, convince myself that this isn't a bland melody that seems to get worse everything she repeats it. As long as I'm in the mood for dancing, I might not want to stop after hearing this. (It apparently wants to stop, though --- they stop the beat in the middle of this to make room for a goofy and meaningless vocal effect.) But I don't dance to music. I just listen to it while sitting on my bottom --- like I'm doing now!

Physical Attraction 6/10

Here is another track from her debut album. I think that's her best album, but she sure seems to be choosing the wrong songs from it (apart from "Holiday" that is). I accused this as being the filler track in that album, but maybe Madonna didn't consider it as such if she's including it in this compilation. Well, she must be a nutcase. She should have remixed "Borderline" or "Lucky Star" while she was at it. Or even "Material Girl" for cripes sake. Those are much more fun to dance to in my opinion. Furthermore, I don't think this is actually different, in any way, from the original. As far as dance tracks go, this is one of her more boring ones...

Over and Over 6/10

Here is another Madonna composition that I never liked. I wonder why she even chose these songs, because they're clearly not her best work. Anyway, I guess this is fine to dance to if you're already in the mood, because there's no way a song like this would get me in the spirit to dance. The melody is nothing, and so is the groove. This is just a bland song set to a dancey beat. Who needs that? I mean, seriously?

Into the Groove 6/10

Madonna, I'm going to tell you right now that your vocal effects are annoying so that you won't make these same mistakes in the '90s and '00s. OK too late. This was an OK release included in the UK version of Material Girl. The melody is better than she usually makes it, but everything is still bland more or less. The problem with this track as it appears here is it's overextended for eight minutes, and they fill the time with annoying drum fills and some annoying vocal effects that don't seem to fit. But even worse than that is another piano solo from a session musician who obviously has no clue what he/she is doing. What a horrid monstrosity.

Where's the Party 6/10

Yet nother overextended track that I wasn't too wild about originally. The way they extend the track is pretty awful. Those vocals at the beginning are poorly construed. To beat the dead horse further, nothing about this track is catchy to me. It makes me think even Madonna can't tell the difference between something that's catchy and something that isn't. (Or maybe there's something messed up with *me* considering I seem to be a loner in all this Madonna-bashing that I do... Well, I'll continue doing that! So there!!)

Like a Prayer (1989)

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Like a Prayer

Like a Prayer 9/10

I can't say that Madonna doesn't start this album off well. "Like a Prayer" is a nicely done and rather catchy tune... though nothing like a good ABBA tune. This seems to go back and forth between a dance number and a pretentious ballad. (OK, everything Madonna has ever done was pretentious!) The gospel singers she uses at the end are ideas that normally make me groan --- but I welcome them for once. They're rather spirited, in my opinion. (But most pop artists have no idea how to use gospel singers --- I'm looking at you, Mariah Carey.) The nicest aspect about this song is that it doesn't get tiring. So for Madonna, "Like a Prayer" is a success to the eighth power.

Express Yourself 8/10

This has another good hook --- an even stronger hook than "Like a Prayer" --- but why does Madonna feel the need for incessantly repeating it for eight minutes? I suppose this is one of Madonna's dance-floor classics, but why she has to extend them to the point of insanity is crippling. Can anyone else say "filler?" ... Yeah, I thought so. (One of Madonna's background singers is better than she is.)

Love Song 5/10

What do you get when you combine Madonna and Prince? It's "Love Song." The two weren't even creative enough to think of a less general song title. You'd hope that at least Prince would help turn this song into something generally worth listening to. Its sluggish pace and almost universal lack of any real hooks keeps it from that. All we get is this duet where both singers attempt to outshine one another, but they both end up sounding like jerks. If it's any consolation, I used to hate this song a great deal worse.

Till Death Do Us Part 7.5/10

OK. It starts out with a rapid, electronic loop. It's semi-synth-pop but it didn't sound committed enough to delve into that genre fully. As a matter of fact, there are a few decent vocal hooks here --- there aren't many of them and the ones that are present come off as rather weak. But at least it's a fairly solid try --- and one of Madge's better "experiments" into electronica. (The quotations mean that nothing Madonna ever did can be considered an experiment. I mean, seriously.)

Promise to Try 7/10

Here is a nice enough attempt at making a touching piano ballad. Of course, she'd never be able to top similar ballads like Kate Bush's "This Woman's Word" or "And Dream of Sheep," but it's nice enough to hear Madonna try. Unfortunately, this is where it becomes painfully obvious that Madge's voice is inexpressive and dull. Furthermore, these hooks just don't catch anything. At best, this comes off as amateurish... but I do appreciate the fact that it wasn't overproduced. That was rather bold of her, because she didn't have anything to hide under...

Cherish 8/10

An alright pop song. The hooks are mild but they keep the song interesting in the melodic sense, which is certainly something I wouldn't have expected to hear much in True Blue. The production is A-OK, and this is a generally fun and snappy pop song. Hooray!

Dear Jessie 7.5/10

This has a nice enough idea to combine her ideas with classical music with those Cloudbusting violins. The melody is OK though the production is too busy, misguided and clumsy. Poor Madonna can't do art-rock that well! She's just an amateur. Again, I like hearing her try... There are a few good melodic ideas in here, and I like her Beatles-esque horn during the interlude.

Oh Father 8.5/10

Another classical-inspired track, and it's more successful than the previous one largely because the instrumental ideas are more grounded and conventional. The chorus is rather nice, but the verses are pretty boring. I'm not going to complain a lot. I like hearing this song, and I think it's generally well-done. With Madonna, you've got to count your blessings.

Keep it Together 7/10

It's back to the funky dance! "Keep it Together" is rather bland although the instrumentation certainly seems more purposeful and successful than the previous two tracks. The groove is well constructed, and they seem to have the right sounds coming at the right times. However, this groove isn't catchy at all, and neither is the vocal melody. So... Well, I guess if you're spending too much time dancing, you probably won't care that much about the melody....

Spanish Eyes 9.5/10

Now I actually like this one. Madonna's balladry was never as convincing as it was in "Spanish Eyes" (I guess unless you count those Andrew Lloyd Webber songs). That's mostly because of the hooks. This material still sounds suited for another singer, but Madonna does a surprisingly convincing job. Nicely done, and you're welcome.

Act of Contrition 4/10

OK, here's the big turd. "Act of Contrition" is some psychedelic and pretentious nonsense apparently about Madonna having died and gone to judgment day. You hear electric guitars, a gospel choir and some weird reversed noises. Madonna's saying a prayer and trying to get into heaven ... and then she screams "What do you mean it's not in the computer?!" This thing is really horrible... But at least Madonna's being honest with herself that she's going to hell.

I'm Breathless (1990)

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I'm Breathless

He's a Man 9/10

This isn't such a horrible song. (Oh, look at me --- I have an already established negative feeling toward Madonna's albums before I even start reviewing them. Talk about bias.) This is the best possible combination between pop-idol Madonna and Broadway conceivable. This is a generally well-written and arranged tune with a catchy melody and a chord progression that actually goes somewhere. Madonna delivers a rather spirited vocal performance --- it's fun and it doesn't go over-the-top. Well, this is a first.

Sooner or Later 8/10

Stephen Sondheim wrote this jazz tune --- and it's pretty good, I guess. It does suffer because it's nothing but hopelessly derivative. But at the same time I suppose that's what they were probably going for in Dick Tracy... Madonna's not that great of a singer. It's pretty obvious they chose her for this movie because of her star power and not the singing abilities.

Hanky Panky 4/10

Only Madonna could make a Top 10 hit single with this piece of donkey fungus. Unlike "He's a Man," this is pretty much the worst possible combination between pop-idol Madonna and Broadway. The music itself is derivative (but that's no surprise), but it's takes all the obnoxious aspects from the swing era with the expressed purpose of driving me crazy. I hate it. To make matters worse, Madonna decides to rhyme "hanky panky" with "I need a good spanky."

I'm Going Bananas 6/10

This is a cutesy foray into Desi Arnaz Tropicana music. You expect Madonna to be prancing around in a Chiquita banana girl costume while she's singing as cutesy as possible. It's obnoxious for her to sing like she's Mexican, but ... she talks like a gangsta today, so there you go.

Cry Baby 5/10

This is so derivative that I'm surprised it's not really from the era. Well, Madonna co-wrote this with somebody ... OK, that's probably being generous. Somebody else wrote this, and Madonna took the credit!! This is another overly cutesy song that's enough to drive anyone crazy --- and ya know, I grew up listening to showtunes. I've had enough of this...

Something to Remember 6/10

It's a relief, at first, to note that this isn't a cutesy Broadway track. It's a typical pop-Idol Madonna ballad. Unfortunately, it's as bland as can be --- and this is so devoid of melody and excitement that it's sucking out my life-force...

Back in Business 6/10

Well I guess it's better being bored than annoyed. This marks the return to the pseduo-Broadway tunes. It switches back and forth (clumsily) between a really boring atmospheric section and a more upbeat, swinging tune. It's putting me to sleep, but at least it's not driving me mad. (OK, those cutesy vocals in the final third are pretty dang horrible. Madonna, you can't sing that well in your normal voice.)

More 6.5/10

Please, no MORE!!! Stephen Sondheim writes boring music --- but this is certainly more fascinating than Madonna's "originals." You can tell that Sondheim was a professional songwriter, at the very least, because this song is very well developed. It's not a great song to begin with --- again, it sounds like every other showtune about this era.

What Can You Lose 5/10

Here is Madonna's duet with Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, and it's BORING. Stephen Sondheim sucks, I guess. OK, he wrote a few good musicals, but this is the blandest freaking love ballad that I ever heard in my life. I feel sorry for Broadway critics, because they have to sit through tons of this CRAP. (Hey, at least Inigo Montoya could tell Madonna "Prepare to die" or something --- I would have given this an A+ rating if that were the case.)

Now I'm Following You (Part 1) 5.5/10

Hey, look at this. Madonna is a better singer than Warren Beatty. This is a cutesy old duet that I don't care about. The best thing about it is that it's over after only 90 seconds.

Now I'm Following You (Part II) 6.5/10

Oh, you jerks. The boring jazzy mayhem continues with, which is the same thing as the previous track except they add an '80s backing beat. As if we didn't get enough of that from Taco! The last half of this continues in the same vein except they include a bunch of sound effects from the movie. Well, at least it's a bit more interesting and surreal...

Vogue 9.5/10

And then there was "Vogue." It's funny that I enjoy hearing this song considering it was a gay anthem. Well, I also admitted to liking Stylie Minnow's "Better the Devil You Know." The nice thing about this track is that it has a sort of class that manages to do enough to define the essence of early '90s techno music. Plus, I think the song is properly danceable and pretty enjoyable in that vein.

Erotica (1992)

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Erotica 7.5/10

This isn't bad except it puts me to sleep. It starts out with a cool, clear groove. Now, I like this groove for the first two minutes or so. The problem comes in when I have to listen to it for five minutes. To a positive degree, Madonna constantly introduces new instruments to the mix to hopefully keep the effort fresh sounding. However, the underlying groove and beat doesn't change whatsoever. I think her goal was to put me in a trance whilst she spouts off all these child-corrupting lyrics. There are a few nice hooks here and there in the melody, but she repeats it so dang much that it becomes utterly stale.

Fever 8/10

This time, the groove is more hooky and constructive. It has enough inertia to make it work throughout its running length and it's a much better "trance" type number. Again, this would have worked better as a three-minute song instead of a five-minute song, but it's getting redundant complaining about song lengths since Madonna has absolutely no sense in that regard! The melody works well enough, but it's probably best if you just concentrate on that addictive groove.

Bye Bye Baby 7/10

There is good news. This song is only four minutes long. The bad news is that this thing is fairly annoying. You have Madonna singing a very primitive melody amongst an intrusive groove. Again, this groove doesn't change much throughout until a very awkward subsection pops up in the middle. They're trying to impress me with their groove gadgetry in the final third... I'm sooooooo impressed. OK, shut up already.

Deeper and Deeper 9/10

For once Madonna makes a song that's worthy of Kylie Minogue. And this is the only song that's actually worth listening to in this godforsaken album. (If you're reading these track reviews in order, you should know that I haven't even gotten to the bad stuff yet.) This song actually has a catchy melody, a good chord progression and (more or less) constructive production. However it continues to seem like Madonna stifles productive creativity; that Spanish guitar bit in the middle was different but it was entirely awkward and the song would have benefitted with out it. Well, that's just a minor complaint considering I actually enjoy listening to this.

Where Life Begins 8/10

Alright, if you actually dare listening to this album, you'd might as well just turn it off at this point, because everything's going to seem like a vast disappointment after hearing "Deeper and Deeper." But since I'm a loser with no friends, I'm going to continue reviewing this album. So again, Madonna concocts a cool, laid-back groove (read: boring) and she's content to just whisper and half-sing ridiculous lyrics. Even though this song is boring, it does have a surprisingly developed atmosphere that works enough to redeem it.

Bad Girl 7/10

The good news is that this isn't another techno/house song. It's pretty similar to a ballad that she might have done on True Blue or something. The bad news is that it's boring and it lasts five minutes long. I can take this song best when I have patience, which seems to be fairly high at the moment. I will point out that the melody is above-average for Madonna (read: it's bland but has mildly decent hooks). Well that's something.

Waiting 6/10

The first song of the album to completely bomb. I'm stubbornly trying not to make this experience drive me total bonkers, but this is very difficult for me to sit through. The repetititititititive groove isn't interesting for ten seconds much less six minutes. Madonna doesn't bother writing any melodic hooks; she sounds like she was making up the melody as she was going along, and she probably was. The saving grace is that the production sounds more deliberate than sloppy, but that just means that they did this boring nonsense on purpose. I just want it to end.

Theif of Hearts 5/10

The good news is that this is an upbeat song and it has a groove similar to "Like a Prayer." The bad news is that it's less interesting than a documentary about bank accountants. This is really mind numbing, and I can't think of anything to actually redeem this. There are a few studio tricks that don't pack on any interesting atmosphere, but disorient me more than anything. It's like this song was recorded within one of my nightmares. Gah!!!

Words 6.5/10

Another worthless, slicked-up dance track. This one has an OK groove but it's completely bland and Madonna's melody sounds like she's making it up as she went along. She tried something interesting in the middle, almost turning it into a ballad. The transition there is so awkward, but it's nice that she was at least trying to develop this. My mind is so numb that I'm afraid I'm never going to be able to use it again.

Rain 6.5/10

This overextended ballad might not have been so bad if it wasn't so boring. Why Madonna can't write a catchy melody continues to frustrate me. The only redeeming quality of this song is the cool and laid-back atmosphere, because it helps put me to sleep so there's the vague chance that I'll get to experience this song while unconscious. I get the impression that Madonna's best to hear when you're not paying attention to it.

Why It's So Hard 6/10

One of the points of these track reviews is to try to review these songs apart from the general context of the album. But listening to these songs back to back is so taxing on me that I can't help but let these track scores suffer as a result. Again with the uninteresting "trances" and worthless melodies, and I feel like if I listen to this album any more my brain is going to explode. It's safe to say that Madonna has no imagination.

In This Life 4/10

Maybe in the next life you can be less boring! This song is well over six minutes long and I'm so bored to tears that it's not even funny. The one redeeming aspect of this song is the atmosphere, which is thicker and more convincing than some of the previous songs (where that would have helped). But this song deserves a major kick in the pants for being so hopelessly lengthy and boring. Madonna's the anti-artist.

Did You Do It? 0.5/10

I feel like I'm in Hell. This the exact same pseudo-urban groove as "Waiting." Madonna's so out of ideas that she's repeating the same songs within the album. The major difference is some uninteresting male rapper is brought in to rattle off some of the dirtiest lyrics I've ever heard. I'm against music censorship, but this is hopeless. Maybe the ultra-conservative censorship "heroes" have a point after all. Luckily, this is kept off the "clean" version of the album, and it's for the best. This is probably one of the worst songs ever recorded.

Secret Garden 6/10

THANK GOODNESS. IT'S THE LAST SONG. I've been grating my teeth so much that I'll probably have to get them capped now. I'll send the bill to Madonna, and I expect immediate repayment. This particular song has a little bit of jazz undertones. The twinkly piano we hear sprinkled throughout gives it that impression. But she continues to assault her listeners with these overly repetitive, hookless and bland grooves. She probably expected her listeners to shut off this album by now. Well, I'm never going to listen to this again.

Bedtime Stories (1994)

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Bedtime Stories

Survival B+

Madonna breaks the mold and opens the album with a catchy song! The icing on the cake is that it overstays its welcome only a little bit (at three minutes) and the instrumentation is OK for the genre. The beat is fine! And all those electronic embellishments work just fine. BEHOLD! This ‘90s Madonna song isn’t bad!

Secret A-

It starts out with a simple melody and someone strumming an acoustic guitar making me think the whole thing is going to be some boring, wannabe hipster song. And then a pop beat pipes up and a catchy melody actually pops up! The instrumentation isn’t anything clever, but it’s intelligent enough to not be idiotic. That’s right; listening to Madonna for so many years makes me celebrate anything from her that isn’t stupid.

I’d Rather Be Your Lover C

Well that was short-lived. Right off the bad, there’s some over-produced, pseudo-R&B groove that gets dull after thirty seconds. The melody is bland and so is everything else about the song! Apart from a bit where she enlists an African American rapper/singer who sounds horrible, it’s not offensive! I can sit through it and not wince much! Trust me, this is good!!

Don’t Stop C+

Please do stop! (Doesn’t Madonna ever listen to me??) Here is a bit of a throwback to those “innocent” disco days! It also sounds a lot like a clone from her Like a Prayer album… Well at least it doesn’t sound like a clone from Erotica. Its lack of melody keeps it from achieving a higher score.

Inside of Me D

Any sensible human being is going to have a bone to pick with ‘90s R&B, but I wouldn’t particularly mind it if it was at least melodic! What is this bland nonsense, anyway? I realize that it’s midnight, but I don’t need a sleeping pill yet.

Human Nature C-

Zzzzzz… Huh?? I woke up to this train wreck? Unfortunately, it’s this exact sort of poorly produced and poorly sung ditty that would inspire such cretins as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. The song was a hit and those bacteria arose from its cesspool! All that said, there’s a little bit that’s actually appealing about it… I like that whopping great drum hit after Madonna says that thing about sex. That’s enough for a C-.

Forbidden Love C

Not bad this time, but boring. It needed a better melody. Not too big on the instrumentation, but it’s not as bad as the previous song.

Love Tried to Welcome Me B-

Not bad! Madonna does a throwback to the ‘60s pop stars (e.g. Petula Clark) with this lighthearted pop song. The melody is very nice and the instrumentation is thick and engaging. It’s tasteful! A Christmas miracle!

Sanctuary D

Geez, it’s like Madonna’s intentionally trying to be boring. Keeping the same old boring tempo throughout, no melody whatsoever, mind-numbingly repetitive sound effects and (to make it worse) does these whispering things in a sleepy voice. I AM NOT READY TO GO TO BED YET! She’s going for an atmospheric thing here, which is a shame that she only remembered that at the end.

Bedtime Story D

House? Aren’t you through with that nonsense already? She sings about unconsciousness, which is just about right.

Take a Bow C+

This is a mediocre ballad that only sounds good because of the two songs that preceded it. The melody is OK, but the sparkly production is as cheap and uninteresting as it gets. This is still more than I expected! She’s not really worthy of this bow, but I know she’ll take it anyway.

Evita (1996)

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Requiem For Evita B-

A cheesy electric guitar sound opens this album up! Sort of like he was trying to write a rock anthem of sorts? This turns rather awkwardly into a funeral march scene (with the exact same melody). Then sort of doomsday choral vocals chime in. The tune is catchy and some of the orchestration was done well even if it’s completely overdone. Not a very strong intro in my opinion… they tried too hard. The original Broadway version is better by far.

Oh What a Circus A-

A very catchy song! Oh, but why do we have to listen to Antonio Banderas sing it? He looked fine in the movie; he knew exactly how to move and what facial expressions to make! But when I’m listening to his singing voice one on one, it’s quite a deal more difficult to take. … And who the hell produced this album, anyway? It’s all posh and no spice! (Better than the Spice Girls though.) An early version of the balcony scene song is already here toward the end of it. Hey listen! Madonna doesn’t sound too bad though. Nice to hear her singing catchy melodies for once!

On This Night of a Thousand Stars C

Surprisingly, this is one of the most horrible mistakes the album producers made… I can complain all I want about the posh treatment of the previous two tracks, but they really screwed this one up. The Broadway version was catchy and trashy. Here, they bring in a vast array of confused and ultra-polished tango rhythms and instrumentals… and the result is rather awful. The best part is at the end where there’s some despondent clapping.

Eva and Magaldi / Eva Beware of the City C-

This is an interesting song in a way… it’s structured in an evolving, almost prog-rock fashion. The production screws it up, though. I’m only reminded of how superior the Broadway version is! Anyway, I really need to see the moving pictures to appreciate this properly… this just isn’t doing anything for me.

Buenos Aires B+

A lot more involved and ‘90s sounding than the original and that’s to it’s discredit! However, this is a catchy song anyway! Madonna delivers a decent vocal performance… This is entertaining! The song development is done well enough that it takes us into some interesting directions. That said, the Broadway version is an A and this is clearly a B+. That still means they screwed up.

Another Suitcase in Another Hall B

A great pop song originally that was butchered horribly by Madonna’s worthless vocal rendition. Originally quite a heartbreaking song, but Madonna lacked the chops to do it justice. A potential A+ demoted to an A- because of Madonna. It was further demoted to a B because of the Kenny G saxophone. QUIT SCREWING UP THE SONGS!!!! I had to put on the original version to remind me what a fantastic song this is supposed to be. (By the way, Madonna’s character isn’t even supposed to be singing this. It was meant for Juan Peron’s mistress who Evita kicked out on the street. Madonna screwed up one of the play’s most memorable bits because she wanted to sing the song!)

Goodnight and Thank You A-

This song actually sounds better than “Another Suitcase in Another Hall!” That’s just another example of how messed up the predicament was. The big orchestral quality here was, for once, well conceived… and it fits the bombastic nature of the scene! (Why did they have to censor “Up yours?” It’s not that dirty.)

I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You A

I will say one thing: Jonathan Pryce is a bit more of an engaging singer than the guy on the Broadway album was. Otherwise, the dreamy quality of this production (as opposed to the more rock ‘n’ roll treatment of the original) ended up turning this into more interesting song. It’s sort of a fakey-sounding romantic, which fits the scene nicely. Just a small compliment to the producer.

Peron’s Latest Flame B-

Actually, this is very close to the Broadway version… It’s more of an ensemble piece so I guess there was no reason to do anything non-Broadway-ish to this. It was never one of the highlights of the play, but … there’s a number of nicely written hooks here.

A New Argentina B

Not the best song on the Broadway soundtrack, either! Of course the original is better! What’s good about the song is it has a rallying-type quality to it that’s perfect for the scene. You know… Juan Peron wants to be electeeeeeeeeeeed.

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina A

The producer wouldn’t dream screwing this one up! Apart from the fact that Madonna’s singing it, it’s still a great song. Clearly the highlight of the movie and the album. The melody is gorgeous, though, and it would’ve been pretty even if a non-singer like Britney Spears was handed the mic.

High Flying, Adored A-

The production isn’t as bad as Bandera’s vocal performance! Still, it’s one of the nicest bits on the album with a very catchy melody.

Rainbow High B+

Not bad! It suffers a bit from Madonna’s lackluster vocal performance when she should have given it a much more boisterous performance. … She’s evidently trying at it, but that just proves how inappropriate it was to have Madonna singing on this soundtrack.

And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) B

I suppose this wasn’t a great song to begin with… The melody is nicely written though, and Lloyd Webber sure knew how to write a hook! Banderas is the weakest link and the arrangements could have been better.

She is a Diamond A

Well, Jonathan Pryce is just awesome then… This is a pretty song, but it was lackluster in the Broadway version. Now it has an extra dimension of emotion! This is what happens when you cast a real actor.

Waltz For Eva and Che A-

A duet between Banderas and Madonna. The melody is very catchy and it was left virtually untouched from the original. That’s good news! Somehow, Madonna gives the sort of performance she should have considered in “Rainbow High” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”

You Must Love Me C+

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this song in 1996 for the movie musical… and it just proves how much spark the sucker lost through old age. I heard from someone that he only listens to his own music for fear that he would unintentionally rip off someone else’s tune. Not that I condone plagiarism, but that explains why all of his latest songs, including this one, is stale. … It won and Academy Award anyway!

Eva’s Final Broadcast C

A much more boring retread of the balcony song and then an even boringer choral bit at the end. Zzzzzzzz…… This has to be one of the dullest endings in Broadway history. Don’t worry; that’s present on the original version as well.

Lament C-

Again, the ending wasn’t much better in the original version but they surely could have tried making something more beautiful. This whole ending is really a downer… It’s not even very tuneful. Andrew Snoozy Hamster.

Ray of Light (1998)

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Ray of Light

Drowned World / Substitute For Love B

Not the absolute worst that I’ve come to expect from Madonna. Generally speaking, the sound-effects are very good ones (thanks to Madonna teaming up with William Orbit). The melody is marginally interesting … though the sound effects keep the thing interesting regardless of the melody. Bringing in the acoustic guitars and the drum beat mid-way through the song was a good idea, but that broken beat at the three and a half minute mark wasn’t a good idea. She might have also tried to write a new melody instead of always recycling the same one. … Those are just thoughts. I enjoyed this song anyway.

Swim B

This is pretty good, I think. It seems like a normal Madonna song, but Orbit came in and tried adding a bunch of sound effects. I know that Orbit had a solo career, but it’s clear that the guy ain’t no Brian Eno! (Well, who is???) This would have worked better with more conventional rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals……. But it’s alright as it stands.

Ray of Light C+

She’s trying my patience now! This seems more like a half-hearted attempt at techno (I’m sure she thought she was trying to turn techno into an art-form or something). The problem is that the melody isn’t catchy and the groove isn’t infectious. A part of me enjoys listening to it for Orbit’s goofy sound effects going in and out of the speakers…… even though some of them are frankly rather ear-piercing. This song is only half-stale.

Candy Perfume Girl C-

Madonna should go to songwriting school!!! This is a very dull song that’s without even a hint of an interesting melody. The sound effects do nothing here, either, other than create a sort of sludge for the whole thing to wallow around in. The song development is terribly awkward, too… that bit where she stops it and does a sort of twinkly bit was awful. I will say one thing about it: It ends well.

Skin D

This starts out with a number of surreal sound effects that makes me miss how well Kate Bush did these sort of things. I like that world-beat that starts to pop up, but then Madonna slaughters that and turns it into an average techno song that drags on for more than six minutes and doesn’t do anything too interesting. The melody has its nice bits, but the arrangements seem more inept than anything… It seems like they were concentrating too much on the sound effects instead of the music. Music is the most important thing about music!

Nothing Really Matters C-

This seems like Madonna was trying to re-do “Like a Prayer” except she couldn’t come up with a catchy melody for it. What results is a very dull song whose only redemption is the instrumentation, which unlike the previous song is generally constructive to the experience.

Sky Fits Heaven F

OK, I politely tolerated the other tracks, but this is really testing my nerves. Luckily, I’ve been mellowing out in recent years and not so much prone to going into screaming fits in print. BUT THIS IS SERIOUSLY AWFUL!!!! The melody is as bland and toneless as it gets, and Orbit’s sound effects didn’t do much to keep the interest going. I can’t think of any excuses for it: It’s a bad song, simply put.

Shanti / Ashtangi C+

The good news is this is significantly better than the last track. The bad news is that 95 percent of songs are better than that (and I’m including songs penned by goofy little kids plucking rubber bands on that). Madonna’s trying the whole world music scene here to tolerable results. It still suffers from its general tonelessness, but I like the beat and Orbit’s style of sound effects seem especially useful here.

Frozen C-

This is almost a good song! She brings in a string arrangement as if she was scoring a cinematic soundtrack, which ended up being a little nicer than I would have expected. The problem is that she still felt the need to bring in the techno drums… This marriage, the way she presented it, didn’t turn out well at all. It’s overall very clunky, misguided and waaaaaay too long, but it does have its compelling moments. (The length issue forced me to demote it from a would-be C+.)

The Power of Goodbye C

This is a good song in that it doesn’t try to do anything other than being just a usual song. The beat is quiet, and the sound effects are kept to a relative minimum. In fact, all the elements are just about right here………. Except the melody is about as interesting as dirt.

To Have and Not to Hold D

This is similar to the previous song except the melody is even less interesting. There was a nice attempt here to bring a South American vibe to her music, but someone forgot to tell her that even South Americans know what a melody sounds like. (Somebody also forgot to tell her that there were Catholics in South America that one time.)

Little Star D+

Geez, Madonna sure doesn’t have too many musical ideas, which is a shame since she keeps on releasing full-length albums. This five minute song had enough ideas for about thirty seconds worth of material… and then a regular artist would have thought of a different melody to sing. Not Madonna… after she writes one weak hook, she has to keep on repeating it for five minutes.

Mer Girl F

Just for good measure, Madonna ends the album with the most dull and pretentious one ever. This goes on for five minutes while she sings a completely toneless melody and the world’s most boring sound effects come in and out of my speakers with the expressed purpose of trying to torture me with boredom. There’s no bass or drums, even … Madonna thinks she’s good enough to do a song that has the effect of being a cappella. That’s it Madonna; I wash my hands of you.

Music (2000)

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Music D

Hey, Mr. Deejay. Put a record on. ……….NO, NOT THIS ONE!!!! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!! … Let’s talk about it then. Madonna decided to crank up the electronic instruments to produce a completely toneless groove as Madonna attempts to sing something “melodic” over it… The electronic effects are all ill-conceived and excessively annoying. For example, there’s a synthesizer sound that reminds me of someone slowly letting the air out of a balloon. I thought that sound was supposed to be annoying, but here is Madonna putting it in a pop album.

Impressive Instant D+

Here, Madonna came up with a generic techno beat and started messing around with a vocal synthesizer. I think this song can sum up everything that you should stay away from when working with vocal effects. What’s with that sound effect that sounds like a combination of pouring a Coke in a glass and scratching on a chalkboard? … Madonna, you should listen to early Roxy Music to hear how this sort of thing is properly done.

Runaway Lover D+

A weak beginning with some attempt at creating an industrial-esque groove. I like the idea that she’s trying to do something like that, but I guess it’s difficult to successfully accomplish when you have no taste in music. After that bit, a rapid-beat techno song starts to play… It’s hopelessly toneless just like most techno songs. The sound effects she brings in doesn’t salvage much of it, either, unfortunately. This is tedious after only two minutes of it.

I Deserve It C-

After those three previous tracks, electronica nightmares, it’s a bit of a relief to just hear Madonna singing with a simple acoustic guitar. It’s such a shame that she couldn’t be bothered to write a catchier melody. The sound effects are bizarre and don’t add anything.

Amazing C+

Hey guys, look at this! It’s a melody!! Amazing… This is an upbeat song that’s rather catchy for the first minute of it. It gets stale after that. To be fair, they do stop the beat after awhile and go into a brief moment with just a twinkly piano… I appreciate it, but the transition was so sudden that it catches one off guard. Oh well; let’s not split hairs. This is a good song. I must chase the relative feeling.

Nobody’s Perfect F

You got that right! There’s the understatement of the century. No matter how much I trash Madonna albums, I had never imagined that she would ever come out with something as bad as this. She had been in the music industry for nearly 20 years, and she got even more pigheaded by the year to the point where she thinks crap like this is passable. … Where do I even start? It starts out with Madonna singing with an electric piano. She puts her voice through a voice synthesizer that’s horrible to listen to. It’s irritating and grates on my nerves! A hodgepodge of ill-begotten sounds comes in (including a synthesizer that sounds like a bee playing a trumpet and threatening to kill me). What’s more, the melody is the worst of the album so far (stiff competition), and this is TEDIOUS. I know that Madonna’s saying that she’s sorry in the lyrics, but it’s hard to forgive someone if they’re still carrying out the crime.

Don’t Tell Me F

I’ve got to wonder if the people in Madonna’s studio are as blind as she is, or if they’re all biting their lips when she thinks of these ideas… I’m not sure how it works in Madonna’s studio, but they’re sure succeeding in coming out with some of the most horrible songs I’ve ever heard. It starts out with an acoustic guitar riffs with these bizarre stops… It sounds like the CD is wigging out, but it’s actually written in the music. What ensues is another awful hodgepodge of sound effects and a very toneless melody. Madonna’s talents would be better spent as an accountant. Just stop it with this nonsense.

What it Feels Like For a Girl D+

I’ve peed sitting down before; it’s nothing special. I also tried on the underwear. Itchy. … Despite the weird lyrics, I’m happy to report that this song is better than the previous two combined! CONGRATULATIONS, MADONNA! … Er, but it still sucks. Again, Madonna has no idea what a catchy melody is. She just repeats the same toneless thing over and over again while she packs on the sound-effects and horrible instruments. … Does she think she’s being experimental?? This isn’t experimental.

Paradise (Not For Me) F

Someone get a gun and shoot me now. This is mental torture and I can’t take it anymore!!! This is a six and a half minute song, and Madonna continues to sing with her disgusting vocal effects and absolutely nothing interesting happens in it. How can anything possibly be worse?

Gone D+

She starts out this song by saying: “Selling out is not my thing.” Do I need to smack you on the back of the head?? This starts out with some acoustic guitar strumming, but the vocal melody is as interesting as philosophy and as enlightening as rubbing feces all over yourself. I’m glad this “album” is over. Time for Madonna to retreat back in her little cave until she comes out with more “music” to unleash on the unfortunate public.

American Life (2003)

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American Life

American Life D-

This is crap. Do I need to elaborate? … OK, fine. I will say one thing about “American Life.” I actually used to hate it more than I do now, but for some reason I’m now picking up a few melodic qualities about it that I like. None of that seemed to matter, however, since she decided to pack on the most annoying instrumentation ever… That primitive synthesizer loop would’ve been bad for early ‘70s synth-pop music. It grates the ears… Only a minor saving grace was an acoustic guitar bit, which she might have elaborated on if she knew what it was to write music. The rapping bit is absolutely embarrassing. Since when was Madonna black?

Hollywood C+

Luckily, Madonna is good for at least one decent song… Well, halfway decent, anyway, which is a positively golden moment considering this album represents the nadir of pop music. The melody is simple and not that hooky though somehow likable. They were kind enough to provide instrumentation that’s not annoying. These lyrics are so bad that they make me angry, though!

I’m So Stupid D-

She’s at least being honest with herself now. Can’t imagine what was going through her mind when she decided to make it sound like my computer went on the fritz. That synthesizer that sounds like a dentist’s drill is another thing that grates my ears. Other, more minimal bits are too damn silent. I do wish Madonna would find some sort of taste… The worst culprit of this song is the melody, which is extremely bland.

Love Profusion D+

Boring as hell, and again these awkward frilly moments make me want to punch through my computer monitor. The melody is very bland though somehow more likable than the previous track. More of those “minimal” bits consisting of a sparsely strummed guitar make silence seem grating. Just awful.

Nobody Knows Me F

Somebody should’ve told Madonna by now that her computerized vocal “enhancement” technology actually makes the song more annoying than it would have been otherwise. Magically, Madonna figured out how to make the dentist’s drill synthesizers more realistic. The Kraftwerk-esque groove might have worked well enough, but Madonna decided that she wanted to be a complete idiot instead.

Nothing Fails C

It’s like a breath of fresh air compared to the last one, but I guess anything would after some crazy dentist just finished torturing us. The melody isn’t bad though it’s awfully bland. The instrumentation is perfectly nice up until the point when there’s that awkward shift to gospel singers… Usually gospel singers are a bad idea, anyway, because it makes you seem like a pompous jerk… So, of course, Madonna needed the gospel choir.

Intervention D

Alright, so it’s not as bad as “Nobody Knows Me” but this thing is so bland that it’s hardly worth the struggle coming up with anything good about it. Well, there’s no dentist’s drills, and that’s definitely something. The instrumentation, consisting of a bad drum beat and mostly minimal guitar riffs, is as bland as the melody. It gets somewhat better with the chorus, but nothing that actually redeems it.

X-Static Process F

I’m just happy that the instrumentation doesn’t annoy me. Of course, the instrumentation is still bad. Consisting mostly of Madonna singing with an acoustic guitar… Nothing whatsoever about it is endearing, memorable or catchy. I even resent Madonna for thinking that she could pull this off.

Mother & Father F

I’m in the most calm and understanding mood imaginable right now (given the fact that I’m refraining from too many rants), but this tests my patience too much. MADONNA SUCKS!!!! How can anyone who has been in the industry this long come up with such piles of garbage? The melody is worthless. The instrumentation is bad. She awkwardly shifts to one idea to another. At one point she sounds like “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Hah-Hah.” I do wish they would take me away. I hate Madonna.

Die Another Day F

No wonder the James Bond producers had to give the series a punch in the face! It wasn’t that Pierce Bronson sucked (no, he was cool in my book), but it was this godawful song they let Madonna write for it. Geez, I even remember hearing this in the theaters for the first time… by far the worst Bond singer ever. The instrumentation makes “Mother & Father” not seem so awkward in comparison. Apart from the crunchy synth-strings, everything about it is annoying. She even brings back those dentist drills.

Easy Ride F

Thankfully, this is the last song, and I can rid myself of this excrement for the rest of my life (that is, until I do another rewrite… which I’m hoping will never happen). She doesn’t let us easily off the hook, though. Blandness abounds with this one… What the HELL is with those strings in the last half of this? Gosh, those synthesizers after that are also annoying. Listening to this sort of makes me I wish I had the means to suck out my eyeballs just so that I could do something more interesting.

Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005)

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Confessions on a Dance Floor

Hung Up B-

Madonna’s mean! She samples ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” which makes me sad that I’m not reviewing ABBA right now. Interestingly, this was only the second time that ABBA allowed someone to sample their music, and they apparently really liked the tune. So, whatever… It wasn’t one of ABBA’s better songs, anyway. Gosh, you don’t even know glad I am to hear this… It’s a very straightforward, club-dance tune that’s not offensive at all. Naturally, ABBA’s melody was 20 times hookier and even their song development was more sophisticated, but this is fun. (Of course it’s fun! Madonna’s using an ABBA groove!) Pretty much recalls Madonna’s disco-ish debut album, which was the only point of her career really worth remembering.

Get Together D

Doesn’t start out too badly… Just a bland club-dance tune that’s neither entertaining nor annoying (sort of a pop purgatory), but then she brings in these frilly instrumental things that predominantly includes a pulsating synthesizer that has no aesthetic appeal whatsoever. Sure, it’s lightweight compared to the nonsense she tried pulling off in American Life, but that doesn’t forgive the fact that she’s deliberately trying to give me a headache!

Sorry B+

This track features Madonna saying “Sorry” in a number of different languages! I guess being an international pop sensation, she had a lot of people to apologize to. Well, the good news is that this is positively the best (non Andrew Lloyd Webber) Madonna song she released since Bedtime Stories 11 years ago. That’s not really saying a whole lot for it… this is really just another club-dance song. The groove is almost a good one… Not quite as infectious as this music actually demands. I like how it fades in and out to keyboard strings music.

Future Lovers C-

I guess some people still think that synth-pop is futuristic music and not retro-80s pop music. Oh well… As far as Madonna’s “creativity” goes, this sort of song is easier to take than most of the stuff on her previous three albums. Just a weird hodgepodge of barely listenable Kraftwerk grooves and wannabe “mystical” background vocals. Naturally, she eventually brings in a techno beat.

I Love New York D

Hey, you hack! You got this song title from a T-shirt! Also, what’s with this drum beat? It’s that dull boom-thwack, boom-thwack thing… Geez, program some more hits in your computer, or something! All it takes is mouse clicks!! … For crying out loud… It’s hard to even listen to this song when my whole attention is taken up by this dreadfully dull drumbeat that never changes. … Oh god. Maybe it would have helped if the melody was worth anything.

Let it Will Be C+

A loop of fake violins starts this one up, which is good because it’s not offensive. After that a surprisingly light techno-dance groove pipes up, which helps me imagine what Madonna would sound like if she wasn’t tasteless. … HEY, WAIT, THIS IS A MADONNA SONG!! Well, I guess it’s pretty good then. (It’s not worth above a C+ because the melody is as unmemorable as Pope Sisinnius.)

Forbidden Love C-

Boom-thwack, boom-thwack, boom-thwack, boom-thwack… I used to think this song was pretty good, but now all I’m picking up are these horrible drums. Maybe I couldn’t hear the drums so pronouncedly in my old speakers. Well! The melody is a little better than usual, which keeps this in the C-range. The computer-altered voices don’t sound half-bad, which is a major change-up from her previous albums.

Jump B-

Boom-thwack… but at least there’s some freaking disco hi-hat hits here and then some cheesy clapping noises. Also, I’m registering something pretty weird with this chorus…… something familiar but I haven’t heard in a long time……. Er, wait. I know what it is! IT’S HOOKS!!! ACTUAL MELODIC QUALITIES!!!! IT’S A MIRACLE!

How High C

I’m either going crazy, or I like this melody, too. The instrumentation is pretty horrible, though… Again, there’s nothing too likable about the drum rhythm, but the arrangements are so busy and cluttered that my poor brain is having difficulty finding anything to pay attention to. Well at least my poor brain doesn’t find this too repulsive.

Issac F

A horrible attempt at world-music. A poorly done dance beat amidst some Middle Eastern bellowing. This is garbage. No need to be constructive.

Push F

More like Push Madonna Offa Cliff!! Perhaps this track was meant to point to her previous album… to not let us forget that she was “experimental” in her previous albums. This one has an utterly offensive groove based on a wavy synthesizer… Absolutely intolerable. This makes even “Issac” seem like a masterpiece. …Dammit, I’m sitting through this.

Like it Or Not F

What’s with these final three songs? Is she trying to progressively drive me nuts?? Wasn’t she supposed to be returning to form back to the days when she was boringly listenable as opposed to being vomitously offensive? What’s with this garbage?? An utterly mind-numbing groove meant expressly to drive me crazy. Inept instrumentation ideas from beginning to end and no melody to speak of. Utterly disgraceful. (“You can love me or leave me / Cos I’m never gonna stop” … Well, there’s blunt determination for you.)

Hard Candy (2008)

Read the full review:
Confessions on a Dance Floor

Candy Shop B

I'm a bit surprised at how decent this is. Well anyway I remember that her last album started with a butchered version of an ABBA song... and her previous two albums have been eradicated from my brain. But I sort of like this song. It's sort of cross between '00s pop-techno and some of those old '80s techniques. At least those synthesizer hits remind me a little bit of Prince. The song production is OK. It's a tad obnoxious, but it's not nearly as idiotic as 'Timbaland' is supposed to be. Even the melody is somewhat formidable. I didn't even think that was even possible in a Madonna album anymore.

4 Minutes A-

This is really strange. I actually like this. It starts out with a bunch of rappers talking over themselves. Saying something about four minutes. Some really dark, horn-synthesizers play around lightly in the background, giving the whole song a simple though effective sort of atmosphere. Those synths start playing a really dorky groove... it's really choppy and somehow doesn't even seem to be that 'tonal.' A sort of awkward chorus breaks out of it suddenly and *gasp* sounds like some long-lost song Madonna recorded in the '80s. ............ Is Madonna finally starting to look backwards?

Give it 2 Me A-

Geez! Am I actually enjoying another one of these freaking Madonna songs? I probably shouldn't give this an A- because the melody was a little bland (even though it's easily in the top fifth percentile of anything she's done), and that really bizarre middle-eight section with those twinkly “glockenspiels” was a complete misfire. ...But this not only a retread of her '80s stuff, but it's even quite a bit more fun than much of that. There's some really good synthesizer work in here... For starters the groove is very rubbery and addictive without “leaching” on you like most of this '00s pop crap. Waves of synthesizers come in and out of the tune... and sometimes break up a bit like they were caught in a fan. Actually, it's fun to listen to and it keeps the texture alive. And even her VOCAL EMBELLISHMENTS actually benefit the whole experience. Toward the end of the song, she's talking in a sort of robot decoder... and it has a pretty cool effect.

Heartbeat C

Alright the goodness of the previous two tracks weren't meant to last... This song has none of those retro-80s charms, and there's a really bad tendency to rely on these uber-obnoxious synthesizers that ****stab**** my eardrums most painfully. (I swear... If I make it to age 80, nobody my age is going to be able to hear anymore. I guess it doesn't matter since our children are probably going to go Logan's Run on us and gas us.) Though, I do have an extreme appreciation for Madonna's general interest in actually trying to write melodies ... which is a notion that I thought she abandon in 1983.

Miles Away C+

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat is with all these melodies? Am I going crazy, or do are they all screaming “NOT BAD!” at me? Geez, I must be going senile. Though this one is no great shakes... it does have a bit of a bland nursery rhyme quality to it. The instrumentation is a little more varied and creative than the previous tune, but the overly repetitive instrumentation has a tendency to grow annoying. I really don't care for that pounding drum sound that reminds me of someone rhythmically hitting a ping-pong ball at egg shells. (A very brief moment in here, her vocals break up and start to sound like “Die Another Day” ......................... for her sake, I'm glad it only lasted a few seconds. I was about to go all kung-fu on her again.)

She's Not Me D+

I'm really upset that this “Timbaland” machine would give me something like “Give it 2 Me” and then fill the rest of this album with a lot of annoying beats. I like the funk guitar, though, but someone should have rethought the drums. Yeah, that tiny '80s-style synthesizer isn't going to save you much. The drums are just too loud... I don't know about you, but standard '00s drums are a lot worse than those things were in the '80s... and they got pretty bad. There was a really awkward bit in the middle when she's appearing to deliver a sort of ballad. But it comes in very awkwardly, and it's really sort of ... bad. I'm still a little happy that there's something of a melody instead of that completely toneless stuff that I was expecting. ................. I'm not too sure what they thought they were doing in the last two minutes. I mean, at least they're not repeating things over and over until a fade-out, but there's a false ending and all sorts of weird, electro “codas” .... the song just never seems to want to end, and it gets worse the longer it sticks around.

Incredible D

Boy did they take a nosedive. For a start, the drums are REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEALLY bad. They're not only way too loud and sound like someone's crushing my skull against a brick wall, but they're too FAST. It's a very uncomfortable pace. They really weren't paying attention to this one, were they? This is massively cut-rate, and the fact they drag this on unnecessarily for well past six minutes basically proves this is just a filler track. Though Madonna comes up with a hook that does remind me of her '80s stuff, but it's only one hook and it gets old fairly quick. It had the potential to be *something* but they botched it, big time.

Beat Goes On C

I thought this was going to be a cover of the Sonny and Cher song... But no, it's Madonna. Fortunately for my poor head, it's not nearly as annoying as the previous two songs, and it only grows slightly tiresome. The melody was actually pretty well-written with a few nice hooks thrown in even though they're fairly trite... But it's still mounds better than most of the things she tries to pass off. It loses points, again, from that dumb drum beat, and that retarded rapping at the end. (But that synthesizer loop that pops up toward the end reminds me of playing those old arcade games on the Commodore 64. Just one of the few pieces of evidence that Timbaland weren't complete idiots. Soulless, yes...)

Dance 2Night B

Don't you believe me when I told you that those obnoxious '80s drums are a billion times better than those obnoxious '00s drums? Here's the proof. They bring back those big boys for this song, and it's a massive improvement. And if this wasn't so dang robotic, there's nothing about this song that isn't completely indistinguishable from one of her '80s hits. Some of the sections are a little overextended (especially the verses in which Madonna is only coldly listing off the lyrics really scream out for a little more instrumentation). But that chorus is pretty cool. It would have been better at three minutes, though. The last minute, in particular, is rambly and proves they really had no good ideas.

Spanish Lesson D

“Hola!” OK, lesson complete. I really don't know why, but I listened to a couple Nelly Furtado albums, but she sucks really hard, so there wasn't a good reason for Madonna to try channeling her .......... well except with the hope of making record sales, because the kiddies like the Furrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtado. This is exactly the sort of thing I would hear in one of her albums. An incredibly toneless, pseudo-world song with tons of terrible, overproduced beats that sound like some robot has malfunctioned and gone demented. No more of this stuff! Just do retro '80s stuff! For awhile, you were doing it better than you actually did in the '80s!

Devil Wouldn't Recognize You D+

Yeah... I was face to face with Madonna once, and she didn't recognize me at all................ (OOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!) Well, it's unfortunate, but this is exactly the same sort of song that we would find on something as terrible as American Life or Music, except for the fact that I'm not feeling too much like killing myself. We have a relatively non-obnoxious production job to thank for that. But this melody is completely worthless... so...

Voices B-

Surprisingly, they chose a pretty good song to end it with. There's a sort of convincing gothic atmosphere they get going at times. The chord progression isn't bad apart from some stupid short chord that keeps popping up. That goes to show that they're not real songwriters, and they probably shouldn't try to do anything fancy. The melody works fine with that melody though it's hardly that memorable... Cool ending, though, with those church chimes.

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All reviews are written by Michael Lawrence.