What was it Winston Churchill said about the Soviet Union? "It is a CD, encased in a plastic box, sealed with an adhesive strip along the top, wrapped tightly in cellophane, inside a superfluous plastic bag"? OK, actually he said, "It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," but I think the first statement does a better job of describing something profoundly and lastingly inaccessible.
Did I ever mention that I HATE excessive and extraneous packaging? What about disco--did I mention that I hate disco too? What about Madonna? Did I ever mention that I have a fierce loyalty to the Material Girl, even now that she's gone and morphed into a self-righteous religious loony and one of the worst lyricists in the world? (Whatever happened to the woman who wrote "Live to Tell," a song that can still make me weep?)
All of which is to say, there are several reasons why buying Madonna's new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, wasn't as rewarding an experience as I had hoped.
I couldn't abide American Life, the album she released in 2003 that most people had sense enough not to buy. I couldn't even listen to it, in fact. I bought it just before a long drive, put it in my car stereo, and waited to be transported to that special happy dancing place Madonna has so often taken me to.... Instead, I found myself having to push the "skip" button before the first song was even over, because I found the lyrics unforgivably trite and stupid, and the music uninteresting. And then I hit the "skip" button before the second song was even over, because I found the lyrics unforgivably trite and stupid, and the music uninteresting. And the same went for all the other songs on the album--OK, I admit I have never listened to the entire album. I took it out of the cd player after that first time and only once tried to listen to it again, after Wayne told me how great it was, how it would grow on me.
I am pretty sure Madonna's American Life will never grow on me.
Confessions on a Dance Floor might grow on me. I didn't love it instantly, like I did Ray of Light or Like a Prayer, but I don't hate it. I admit that I put it in my car stereo and skipped through several of the first songs, but it wasn't because I couldn't stand them: no, I wanted to see if Track 8, provocatively entitled "Jump," was a Van Halen cover. Alas, it was not, although it is a decent song. (Anyone else fond of Aztec Camera's languorous cover of "Jump"? Truly inspired!) But even that disappointment didn't prevent me from remaining curious.... All I am saying, is I will give Madge a chance.
The album is on in my stereo right now, and I'm letting each song play out to its end. I find some of the lyrics appallingly stupid--as evidence, I call your attention to "I Like New York" (personally, I think that referring to yourself as a "dork" in a pop song makes you one, unequivocally and eternally)--but there's a decent dance beat, a good fast one, so even with the Abba sampling, I wouldn't call this a true disco album. I find myself wanting to get out of my chair and dance--actually, I find myself dancing in my chair, snapping my fingers and shimmying with my shoulders, bopping my head so that my hair--long and unfeathered as it might be, more the hair of an 80s headbanging chick than a 70s dancing queen--billows and waves about my head. OK, OK, dancing from the waist up isn't enough.... I've got to get up and let the rest of me in on the fun.
Yeah, the dance floor might be the right place to hear these Confessions.
p.s. The link Wayne tried to provide to Madonnalicious didn't work, so I'm providing it myself.