Confessions On A Dance Floor


Warner Brothers, 2005

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Madonna’s career has certainly seen its share of highs and lows, but she has learned to ride the cycles with relative ease and has become a legend in the process.

In 1992, most critics and fans thought that she would never be able to survive the Sex book / Erotica / Body Of Evidence debacle. Her profanity-laced appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman in 1994 could have easily done her in. Who would have thought that she would be able to scrape her way back to the top of the heap just by putting her clothes back on and securing the role of a lifetime with Evita?

Then she did the unthinkable and came out with the brilliant Ray Of Light album, which would net her an impressive three Grammy awards. By the end of the 90s one thing was made abundantly clear: nobody would ever keep this woman down. There was always more to Madonna than people thought.

Then, just as things seemed stable again, 2003 would rear its ugly head. Madonna’s folk experiment American Life would receive an even greater pummeling than Erotica, making it the worst album she has ever released. Then, there was the controversial high profile adoption of a Malawian boy named David and the infamous crucifixion scene in her recent Confessions show that offended Christians everywhere. Top all of it off with a new album that was turned away at the door by American radio and you would have one of the worst periods Madonna has ever had to endure.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

To be perfectly honest, Confessions On A Dance Floor is pretty darned good and marks a return to form for the aging diva. As her 10th studio effort, it brings Madonna back to where it all began -- the dance club. Straight American audiences may now shy away from dance music, but for Madonna’s female and gay male fans it was a godsend of sorts.

Like 1987’s You Can Dance, the songs on the album are all strung together in a continuous dance mix. The only problem I have with this is the fact that so many of the connecting threads (she’s got a fondness for icy strings) sound the same and get a little monotonous after a while.

I’m a little disappointed by the choices that were made in which songs were going to become singles, since there is far more here than what you heard on the radio. With the ABBA sample of “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight),” “Hung Up” isn’t exactly one of those songs that stays fresh after repeated listens, and its refrain of “time goes by so slowly” begs the question “Since when?”

The electro-clash sounds of “Get Together” and “Forbidden Love” also are something of an acquired taste for me. The album’s most popular track, “Sorry,” holds up fairly well, though there’s something irritating about its sound when listen to it on a set of headphones. There’s also a lot going on with “Isaac,” the one track most folks don’t much care for.

On the plus side, I’ve been waiting for Madonna to do her take on Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” and with “Future Lovers” she succeeds in doing just that and then some. Now my life is complete. I especially love her unique spoken word intro where she ironically alludes to financial hardship.

Madonna’s rebellious nature is most evident on “I Love New York” and “Like It Or Not,” where she basically gets a chance to tell her haters to fuck off. The lyrics on both songs are a bit weak and silly, but the music is sharp and kick-ass in spirit. Other standouts are “How High” and the fourth single, “Jump,” which didn’t have a snowball’s chance of making it to the charts (even though it did have an amazing video).

My hope is that Madonna will sink her teeth into creating a rock album in the future. Until that happens, audiences will have to be content with Confessions, which turns out to be one of the better albums of her career.

Rating: A-

User Rating: C-


Below average. Backwards. Grasping. Missing. Falling on her face on the dancefloor. Lack of innovation from a proven innovator. Boring. At least as boring as she can be.

© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, and is used for informational purposes only.