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Music

Music

Madonna is the biggest female star in the world and Music one of the biggest releases of the year. Continuing the electronic dance-pop of 1998′s Ray Of Light, Madonna produced Music with French dance sensation Mirwais, Ray Of Light’s William Orbit, Mark “Spike” Stent (Bjork, Oasis, Beth Orton) and others. In the year MM, Madonna’s Music takes her to the top once more. Certified at 2 million units by the RIAA. (2/01)Madonna’s never really been a musical trendsetter; she’s a trend champion. She’s always felt an affinity with underground culture, but not until her soul-searching trip-hop breakthrough Ray of Light had this love been the sole mainstay of her albums. On Music, she’s inducted the cool funk of Parisian electro-pop as the latest addition to her musical court, abruptly closing the chapter of the movement’s niche status. Here, French DJ Mirwais Ahmadzai takes on the majority of production credit, with Light‘s William Orbit billed on two tracks; the result is a collection of songs that often links arm-in-arm with Franco-techno groups ranging from Daft Punk to Air.

Madonna relinquished unprecedented production control on Ray of Light, which resulted in the best album of her career. On Music, she does the same, dividing the CD into three distinct voices. Orbit’s train-track-clacking drum loops churning under citrusy trance (“Runaway Lover” and “Amazing”) shimmer for the headphone set. When Ahmadzai diverts from his pure-play French-style club burners (“Impressive Instant” and the title track), he employs several temporarily fashionable gimmicks such as vocoder effects (“Nobody’s Perfect”) and spacious keyboard work combined with acoustic guitar (“I Deserve It”). Lyrically, Madonna’s introspection and love songs are some of her most intimate. Given the surrounding context of the album, “I Deserve It” is an outright folk song, and on “Don’t Tell Me,” she forgoes precisely enunciated singing for the aching plead of an emotive R&B crooner. For a second time, instead of exploiting an of-the-moment subgenre, she immortalizes it. And in doing so, she simultaneously draws massive mainstream attention to a deserving class of dance music and raises the bar for Top 40 pop. –Beth Massa

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3 Responses to Music

  • Scott KT says:
    180 of 191 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Let the “Music” Go On, September 15, 2000
    By 
    Scott KT (Phoenix, AZ United States) –
    This review is from: Music (Audio CD)
    On her last outing Madonna wowed both critics and the public alike. By brilliantly combining electronic beats with strong melodies on Ray of Light, Madonna took pop music in a bold, new direction. Madonna’s new album Music picks up where Ray of Light left off, but ultimately this album will not be remembered as adventurous as its predecessor. Madonna sticks with the same formula that made Ray of Light a critic’s darling, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
    It would be easy to be misled by Music’s first single and title track. The single Music, currently in heavy airplay on radio stations around the country, is a quirky, fun little number with simple, easy-to-digest lyrics. It brings to mind some of the happy-go-lucky music of Madonna’s past. Music the album, however, sometimes gets deeply personal and strangely moving at times. It is older, wiser Madonna that we find here, one we can relate to and empathize with. “Many miles, many roads I have traveled, fallen down on the way,” sings the one-time Material Girl on “I Deserve It.” Suddenly Madonna doesn’t seem so much like a glamour icon here as much as a world-weary soul-searcher.
    Style-wise the album is still punctuated heavily with electronic loops and beats. “Impressive Instant” is an incredible sonic whirlwind, and “Runaway Lover” is headed straight to the dance floor. There is however more use of acoustical guitar here though than on Ray of Light. For the first few seconds of “Don’t Tell Me,” you would think you were listening to a John Denver song until staccato beats punctuate the song to a magnificent effect. There is heavy use of vocal manipulation (ala Cher’s “Believe”) throughout the album. Sometimes this is distracting, as in “Nobody’s Perfect,” a beautiful ballad that suffers from over-production.
    On Music, Madonna continues here collaboration with electronic-mastermind William Orbit, as well as bringing in French artist Mirwais to produce some songs. On this album though, we the audience are more familiar with electronica thanks to Ray of Light, so nothing seems as new and shocking as than on that album. Most of the songs are heavily produced with beats and synthesizers, but they rarely mask the underlying melodies and emotion.
    All in all, Music is another highly accomplished effort from Madonna, and one of her best albums. High-tech wizardry aside, this is still very much a Madonna album- sometimes light, sometimes challenging, but always entertaining. “Selling out is not my thing,” she sings on “Gone,” and she hasn’t. More a continuation of her foray into electronica than a new effort, this album makes a nice bookend to Ray of Light, and it certainly deserves a spot in your CD collection.
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  • JGC says:
    74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    MADONNA RULES THE WORLD, October 1, 2000
    By 
    JGC
    This review is from: Music (Audio CD)
    MUSIC is Madonna’s very best album in years (the single and the album are both #1!!!). It has a very unique sound because it sounds really modern and new age as well as earthy and very nostalgic. MUSIC picked up where RAY OF LIGHT left off mixing electronica tunes with a beautiful voice. Here’s my favorite tracks on the album: MUSIC -Reminds me of some of her older songs (like INTO THE GROOVE or EVERYBODY), very danceable, very fast and enjoyable to listen to. IMPRESSIVE INSTANT – This has to be my favorite track on the entire album, very modern sounding (tons of electronica!), it reminds me of the theme-song for Josie And The Pussycats. Madonna’s voice on this track sounds especially high and beautiful. AMAZING – Really beautiful song w/ lots of great-sounding background music, sounds like a slower version of BEAUTIFUL STRANGER. CYBERRAGA -This song is only on the MUSIC single (and the Japanese album) but I really love it and think it should have been on the album. Madonna sings and chants in Indian and reminds us that a ‘material girl’ can do more that just catchy dance tunes. You go girl! So even if you’re not a Madonna fan I recommend MUSIC to you because you will really enjoy it. In the year 2000 Madonna really does rule the world!! Music brings the people together…
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  • g-slam says:
    119 of 131 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    “Music” is a Breath of Fresh Air in an Overcrowded Pop Room, September 19, 2000
    By 
    g-slam (Honolulu, HI United States) –
    This review is from: Music (Audio CD)
    Madonna’s new album “Music” is by far the most artistically interesting work to come from mainstream pop this year. After being bombarded by “teen queens” and “boy bands”, the follow-up album to the highly successful “Ray of Light” is a breath of fresh artistic air. The new material is introspective, thought-provoking, and challenging. Musically, Madonna has once again taken underground sounds and transformed them into mainstream gems. With the help of producers Mirwais and William Orbit, she has taken the work she accomplished with “Ray of Light” and gone further into the electronic musical genre. If you are looking for more of what the smash single “Music” has to offer, this album is not the place to look. However, the rest of the album stands solidly on its own apart from the first track as soulful, funky, folky, and definitely inspiring. Contrary to other criticisms, the use of vocoder in “Nobody’s Perfect”, and the electronic manipulation of the musical tracks does not detract from Madonna’s well-written lyrics. The vocals and the music intertwine to form a sound that may be challenging for the general music listener, which may be detrimental to generating airplay or selling singles. But for those of us who enjoy music for what it offers us artistically, “Music” not only outshines “Ray of Light”, but it challenges mainstream music listeners to listen to something outside of the common pop formula. This is grown-up Madonna, with grown-up lyrics and music to match. Hopefully, Madonna fans and other listeners have grown along with her in order to understand the place of valor this album should take in one’s CD collection.
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