Once the thrill of the cast and visuals wears off, this follow-up to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland is a drag
This is an album Madge should have made five years ago, when producers Pharrell and Timbaland were relative unknowns. Imagine if single ‘4 Minutes’ had been released before Justin Timberlake, Clipse, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Björk, J.Lo and even basically my mum had teamed with Timbaland. By leaving it until 2008 to work with Tim, Pharrell and Justin, Madonna joins the party just as the lights are going up. That’s not to say there isn’t some great stuff here. Particularly successful are the saucy disco-ish ‘Candy Shop’ and ‘Give It 2 Me’, plus the excellent ‘Miles Away’ – the former pair produced by a back-on-form Pharrell, who sprinkles all manner of demanding drums and psycho keys over twisted rave anthems that are guaranteed to dent dancefloors.
However, too many tracks blend into bland as Madonna grinds her way through try-hard club offerings such as ‘Incredible’ and the bizarrely bad ‘Spanish Lesson’. Many of the Material Girl’s albums have been a mix of hit and miss, but for every ‘True Blue’ blunder there’s a ‘Music’ or ‘Into The Groove’ to save the day. Here, half the songs are good but there’s nothing that’ll blow you away. Granted, we place an awful lot of expectation on our more aurally adventurous artists like Michael, Missy and Madonna, expecting them to re-sculpt the musical scenery with each new release. So yes, a solid enough album by the standards of most pop tarts, but from the mistress of innovation? Pretty mediocre.
George Clooney and Julia Roberts bounce off each other like pros in this amusing take on fat cat greed
The hooks are plentiful and the energy’s palpable, but the Bottlemen still don’t have a ‘Wonderwall’
The Pulp frontman and foremost writer of dirty ditties has surprise-released four tracks to accompany a new TV show
Will Toledo has been making melancholy slacker rock in his bedroom since 2010. He’s finally hit on the magic formula