Madonna Gets Personal on MDNA
Reviews of new album surprised by candor about Guy Ritchie divorce
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 12:55 PM CDT
In this CD cover image released by Interscope Records, the latest release by Madonna, "MDNA," is shown.   (AP Photo/Interscope Records)

(Newser) – Madonna is back. Her latest album MDNA, is at once a confessional look at her divorce from Guy Ritchie and a bouncy dance album. Critical reaction is divided pretty starkly as well. Here's some of what people are saying:

  • "It’s a bipolar collection that pumps out effervescent electronic pop before making way for a contentious personal agenda," writes Jon Pareles of the New York Times. Still, it's "less arty and more determinedly poppy" than Confessions on a Dance Floor. "Don't expect vulnerability. The lyrics insist there are no regrets," and the songs stick to the "unvarying, superhuman pulse of electronic dance music."

  • Madonna opens with the act of contrition "as if preemptively atoning for the dozen songs we’re about to sit through," quips Chris Richards of the Washington Post, who calls the album "a joyless collection of impersonal dance tracks." This isn't a mature work from a pop matriarch, it's "a dollop of sonic Cool Whip that might as well have been written for the latest tweener to roll off the Disney Channel production line."
  • But Joe Levy of Rolling Stone was impressed. "Revealing herself has always been part of her art,” he writes. "But MDNA stands as Madonna's most explicit work." Explicit, that is, about her feelings about her divorce. "There's something remarkable about Madonna's decision to share her suffering the way she once shared her pleasure. ... The music has depth that rewards repeated listening."