MDNA - Madonna
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 34
  2. Negative: 2 out of 34
  1. Play loud. She's smart and she's proud.
  2. Apr 2, 2012
    80
    MDNA's dirty dozen rank it her best since, in all sincerity, the career high of 1998's Ray Of Light itself. [May 2012, p.88]
  3. Apr 2, 2012
    80
    Yes, there are 'Did she really do that?' moments... But'MDNA' is mostly filled with moments when listening to Madonna still feels like the most thrilling thing any pop fan could possibly hope to experience.
  4. Mar 26, 2012
    80
    What MDNA does is establish the resurgence of Madonna being the coolest b**** in the room, not because of what she's done, but because of what she's doing.
  5. Mar 22, 2012
    80
    When it comes to partaking in pop, MDNA has easily set itself out as 2012's go-to drug of choice.
  6. Mar 21, 2012
    80
    It's got its faults, but MDNA isn't just a good pop album, it's a good Madonna album too.
  7. 80
    MDNA represents a determined, no-nonsense restatement of the Madonna brand.
  8. 75
    Luckily for fans of music and controversy alike, Madonna's compulsions reap musical dividends as she continues to bang into a dance-tastic G-spot, and the results are part sour, part sweet.
  9. Mar 26, 2012
    75
    It's her best album since "Ray of Light" in 1998.
  10. 70
    No, MDNA can't be hailed as Madge's best ever album, and it may not contain the most thought- provoking lyrics of her career (perhaps an intentional tongue-in-cheek poke at the current state of pop music?), but it is the reigning Queen of Pop's most inspired work since Music, as well as the highly addictive record Madonna celebrants have been craving.
  11. Mar 29, 2012
    70
    All this exertion leads to an excessively lean album: there's not an ounce of fat on MDNA, it's all overly defined muscle, every element working with designated purpose.
  12. Mar 26, 2012
    70
    MDNA isn't a perfect Madonna album, but it greatly surpasses its immediate predecessors when Madonna cracks that hard candy shell and allows us to get at the gooey emotional center: This is a Madonna who is angry, mournful, occasionally funny, and most of all, specific.
  13. Mar 26, 2012
    70
    The second half of this album is far more earnest; and in related news, far less fun.
  14. Mar 26, 2012
    70
    It's a bipolar collection that pumps out effervescent electronic pop before making way for a contentious personal agenda.
  15. 70
    In the end, MDNA is a ridiculously enjoyable romp, but oddly not for the bits that are supposed to be fun. Instead, it's the psychotic, soul-bearing stuff that provides listeners with some of the most visceral stuff she's ever done.
  16. Mar 26, 2012
    70
    Hooks emerge quickly; there's lots of naughtiness for the DJ to bring back, and the music has depth that rewards repeated listening.
  17. Mar 21, 2012
    70
    MDNA is surprisingly cohesive despite its seven-plus producers.
  18. 67
    While there are a few genuine moments of double-rainbow bliss here (check the "whoo-ooh!" chorus of "I'm a Sinner"), there's also real darkness lurking under the air-popped beats.
  19. Mar 30, 2012
    60
    She gets into her stride with French electronic maestro Martin Solveig. [May 2012, p.84]
  20. Mar 29, 2012
    60
    A few breakdowns and builds fly off the rails on the clubbier numbers, but the better songs balance shiny, modern production with exuberant melodies and timeless songwriting.
  21. Mar 26, 2012
    60
    It's Madonna's conservatism that drags her latest record down to the status of a ragtag collection.
  22. Mar 26, 2012
    60
    It [the song "I'm a Sinner"] makes you crave her next album, not this one.
  23. Mar 22, 2012
    60
    MDNA turns out to be just another Madonna album. It's already had the biggest single-day pre-order in iTunes history: business as usual for the most remarkable business enterprise in pop.
  24. Mar 27, 2012
    50
    An album that's competent, but equally perfunctory.
  25. Mar 26, 2012
    50
    MDNA runs the gamut of quality from ghastly to mediocre to brilliant, but it's not the unmitigated disaster that many feared.
  26. Mar 26, 2012
    50
    Continuing Hard Candy's pattern of awful try-hard title and 'show the young uns you've still got it' bangers, it's disappointing in its lack of ambition.
  27. Mar 26, 2012
    50
    The album offers evidence that the singer has fallen behind, that she is no longer setting the conversation in a genre she essentially invented - blending Top 40 pop with club music.
  28. Mar 26, 2012
    45
    Large chunks of MDNA are shockingly banal, coming across not so much as bad pop songs per se, but as drably competent tunes better suited to D-list Madonna wannabes.
  29. Apr 17, 2012
    40
    [The music] is not exactly bad, but has about as much creativity and passion behind it as a spreadsheet.
  30. Madonna may have done this stuff first, but nowadays Lady Gaga does it better. MDNA? Meh-DNA.
  31. 40
    It's a retread of almost everything she's said before in the past 30 years, and though ultimately catchy, it lacks any subtlety or nuance to make you feel this is doing anything but reaching.
  32. Mar 23, 2012
    40
    Madonna's infinite varieties have certainly staled.
  33. I'd say that MDNA is at the very least "not bad," but frankly, it's worse than bad: it's mediocre.
  34. May 2, 2012
    30
    Madonna's 12th album has a good title and a nice cover, but that's almost as much as you can say in its favour. [Jun 2012, p.77]
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 364 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 153
  1. Apr 1, 2012
    9
    Absolute cracker of a record! Some of the best songs of her career here. Not your average POP album. An eclectic mix of music genres with a Madonna flavour. Sadly the user average is brought down by "reviewers" rating it 0, but then gave Gagas very mediocre Born this Way a 10...suss much? Full Review »
  2. Mar 26, 2012
    10
    The queen of pop is always at her best when people try to write her off. On MDNA Madonna successfully returns to what she does best: high-energy disco mixed with soulful ballads. Full Review »
  3. Mar 26, 2012
    8
    MDNA is a return to form after the lackluster Hard Candy. The album feels a lot more like a Madonna album and manages to take risks where her more recent releases have failed to do so. The singles are a bad indication of how good the album actually is, Give me all your luvin' the first single that failed to ignite the charts is the worst song on the album, whilst Girl Gone wild though good is so generic it hurts. MDNA has some song though better than your average filler track by the likes of Pink and Gaga, are still very much by-th-numbers filler tracks, Turn up the radio for example is fun but doesn't really try very hard, as the bubble gum style superstar. Where the album is better is on tracks like I'm a sinner, love spent and falling free (all William Orbit productions) where the vocal, lyrics and music work together with love spent being a personal favourite with its banjo segments that are just so bizarrely amazing. Masterpiece is another good track, a lovely melody, flickers of spanish guitar and one the better songs lyrically. The stand out track is the darkly harsh revenge song Gang Bang, though a long track, it sublimely sinister and sexy as hell and thankfully lifts the first half of the album up.

    MDNA is both fresh, rehashed and commercial. Its very odd how she can stand out and yet blend in. She always kind of done this, especially with the albums Music and Ray of light, and though MDNA isn't as flawless as Ray Of Light nor as clever as Music it finds a middle ground, probably on par with Confessions on a dance floor, which was as a whole album amazing but with only 2 or 3 stand out songs you couldn't take it in small doses and miles better than the kind of boring American Life and the mis-guided Hard Candy. I would reccommend Hard Candy to all Madonna fans and to casual listeners I'd recommend downloading Gang Bang, I'm a sinner and Masterpiece. 8/10
    Full Review »