Music Review: Madonna’s New Album Isn’t Ground-breaking, But it Does Make A Statement

At 50, Madonna is still dancing circles around artists half her age (after all, her recent Sticky & Sweet Tour has sold out throughout Europe and was one of the highest-earning tours of the year), however, I wouldn’t call Celebration one of her most revolutionary creations. Of the 36 songs on this two-disc album, only two are new releases, “Celebration” and “Revolver” featuring Lil Wayne. The remaining are a "best of" blend, chosen via twitter from fans all over the world, include “4 minutes,” “Like A Virgin” and “Borderline.”  But what DOES make this album memorable and fan-worthy is that it covers Madonna’s evolution as an artist – from her first hit single “Everybody” to her movie roles, books, and legendary MTV music videos through which she established her popularity – and is an appropriate way to end her career as a performer (if this proves to be the end of the Material Girl as we know her). 

Madonna is truly more of an entrepreneur than just an artist in Hollywood. She reinvented herself through visual imagery and her music videos were not just about the music. They were entire performances with costumes, dancers, and supporting artists. She also set a fashion standard that millions of women happily emulated, including her flashy lace tops, fishnet stockings, bleached hair and layered outfits.

Celebration really ties everything together for fans. It highlights Madonna’s ability to produce club beats, classic lyrics, and edgy modern sounds.  It also shows off Madonna’s strong and independent personality as well as her sexual persona and vulnerability. Inspiration from religion, the arts and her childhood really show how she set a new standard for songwriting in mainstream pop music.

So where is Madonna now? A recent divorce, a new adoption, a younger boyfriend, and continuous award show appearences make for juicy gossip as does her ongoing love affair with  Kaballah and a determination to gain media attention for her charity, RaisingMalawi. Celebration may not be on the same page as Lady Gaga's latest offering, but it does stand as a reminder of how much our musical tastes have been influenced by Madge's vision for the past two decades.

— By Erin McClary

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