Confessions on a Dance Floor (Warner Brothers)

This is Madonna's gayest album to date. Channeling Kylie, sampling ABBA and substituting a disco ball for the "o" in "Madonna" on the album's cover, the Material Girl, at 47, is well on the road to Liza Minnelli-ville. A veritable party in a CD case, highlights include the album's insanely catchy single "Hung Up" (which samples ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme") and "Jump," which harks back to an older-school, less bat-crazy Madonna of yesteryear. Yet we can't help feeling that Madge, High Priestess of Gay Clubland, has been in the manor house too long. Her new beats, linked together to create a full DJ set of an album, are queer as cotton candy, but also as insubstantial, and at times, just as unpalatable. After her upsetting horseback-riding incident, we hesitate to say anything terribly negative, but with lines like "I don't like cities, but I like New York/ Other places make me feel like a dork," we had to wonder, did Lourdes write this? She continues, "If you don't like my attitude/ You can eff off/ Go to Texas/ Isn't that where they golf?" Madonna also dips into Kabbalism toward the end of the album in her existential crisis of a song, "How High." She wonders "Should I carry on?/ Will it matter when I'm gone?/ Does it make a difference?/ Will any of this matter?" We do not want to be contemplating the meaning of life when there is a glow-stick in our mouths, thank you very much.
Alexis Swerdloff

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