On the back of the massive popularity/backlash of Madonna’s new single ‘4 Minutes To Save The World,’ pop’s queen of re-invention has run into a brick wall of unoriginality.
Famed for finding producers to work on her albums before they were famous (and, therefore, making them famous), she used Stuart Price (aka Jacques Du Cont) on her ‘Confessions….’ album, who is now producing the new Killers album, as well as having William Orbit on her ‘Music’ album, who then went on to produce the top selling single of our generation, ‘Pure Shores’ with All Saints.
And this isn’t the first time Madonna has used and gone the way of R’n’B/Hip-Hop producers either. Dallas Austin gave her “Secret”, but also gave”Trick Me” to Kelis and “No Scrubs” to TLC, while Nellee Hooper produced “Bedside Story” for Madge, while giving “What You Waiting For?” to Gwen Stefani and “Under The Bridge” for All Saints.
But this new album does mark the first blatant attempt at Madonna creating for what’s hot now, instead of what will be hot soon. Out of the 13 confirmed tracks so far, uber-producer Timbaland is behind 5 of them, while Pharrell Williams’ producing duo The Neptunes are behind another 5. The remaining three consist of work from Akon (who you should know), Kanye West (ditto), Swizz Beatz (“Touch It,” for Busta Rhymes), and Sean Garrett (“Buttonz” for The Pussycat Dolls).
But the hiring of Timbaland and The Neptunes is the main issue here. Timbaland has been EVERYWHERE in the last 18 months, hiting something of a personal peak with “SexyBack” with Justin Timberlake, along with releasing his own album, instead of just creating hits for others. The Neptunes have been getting more into the hip-hop and heavy rock genres of late, but in their past created “I’m A Slave 4 U” for Britney, and “Milkshake” for Kelis.
The hiring of these two ‘sure-things’ would seem to indicate that Madonna has just realised that its been a while since she last had a number one hit in the U.S., especially when you consider that the first single from the album is sex-ridden duet with Justin Timberlake! ‘American Life’ knocked the wind out of her creative sails (and sales), and ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ showed that it is possible to create popular music without sounding like a flail for profits (even if the main single used an ABBA sample). A recent survey showed that 52% of MTV viewers thought this new album would prove to be Madonna’s most embarrassing, 19% thought it was going to be her greatest, while the remaining 29% of voters said they didn’t care, because they weren’t going to buy the album anyway.
So, that should probably tell you everything you need to know.