Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants!
Sometimes I ask myself, “How did I get here?” And I don’t mean that in a deep, philosophical way, I mean that how did these particular circumstances and actions result in my current situation. I’ve asked myself this plenty of times before: that time I enjoyed a Selena Gomez album more than a Bon Iver one, the time I had to tell my mom “Yes, I’m leaving on my birthday for a six-day theater festival two states away that my school is paying for”, and the time a night ended with me and three of my best friends half asleep on a couch while two women did interpretive ballet dances to “Lotus Flower” (yes, this happened). And today.
I’m reviewing a Madonna song.
I know I’m supposed to say something about the artist of the day, but…Madonna, people. She’s not called the Queen of Pop without reason; other pop stars might have done the genre-roulette distilled through pop with a lot of sex thing before, but Madonna’s outlasted and out cultured most of them. From mall-crazed teenybopper starts to more a more sophisticated image, she’s managed to still somewhat be in the game today, although more as a cultural fixture than relevant pop star. But, if you’ve been around this long, you have to know how to play the game, so what’s this new one sound like?
“L! U! V! Madonna! Y! O! U! You wanna?!”
No I do not, can I get this review switched out for something else? “Niggas in Paris” maybe? And I thought this cheerleader bit was just added for the video, but nope, this is in the actual song itself. Oh, this is going to hurt.
I swear I’ve heard this music before. Not just the “Hey Mickey” beat that’s been used all over, but the music itself. The corny pop synths, synth-as-bass, plastic drums…I was surprised that this wasn’t a sample. It’s also incredibly limp, but fast-paced at the same time, which is kind of a weird mix. The more I think about it, “mix” might be the operative word there; something about the way “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (that spelling, really?) is mixed sounds too claustrophobic to be fun. Something about how ineffectual the song sounds makes me think of it as pop-lite, complete with dubstep-x-tra-lite breakdown bridge.
And in that breakdown, we get Nicki Minaj and M.I.A! Kinda. They share a featured section. Ok, there’s maybe 26 of them combined. Nicki, in hyperactive Roman Zolanski mode, bangs out a typically giddy 1/4 of a verse that’s fun but unsurprising. And while neither of them really got much time, I really wish there was more M.I.A. here, because her appearance is probably the coolest 12 seconds of the song. The official reason both of them are here is because Madonna wanted some “free-spirited, independent women” on the track, but really, I think it’s just to give the song some 2012-ness. If she really wanted to let Nicki and M.I.A. show their creativity, then they should have been given more than a piecemeal part of the song.
I think I was so desperate for Nicki or M.I.A. to stick around because Madge herself is boring on “Give Me All Your Luvin'”. I tried to pick at the verses for some interesting lyrics, but aside from some hardcore meter abuse (“And pretend to be what you’re not” has to get twisted around just to fit), there’s nothing of note here. It’s Madonna telling some new fling that she doesn’t care what his name is, as long as he doesn’t bullshit her. Hm.
“Don’t play the stupid game/Because I’m a different kind of girl/Every record sounds the same/You better step into my world”. Oh, Madonna, this is not the song for those lyrics. You can’t play the “Everything sounds the same” record on the least engaging, dullest, most half-assed pop song I’ve heard in a while.
“Give Me All Your Luvin'” commits two major crimes: It’s boring and shameless. Avril Lavine’s “Girlfriend” uses the same “Hey Mickey” beat, and is the most shameless “I want a Hit” hit that I’ve heard in years, but at least the artist cared. On the flipside, Jessie J’s “Domino” is literally so boring I can’t review it, but at least it has fun. GMAYL is the dollar store bubble gum of pop music: lazily sugary, and devoid of enjoyment.