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The no-fun professionalism of Madonna's new single, 'Girl Gone Wild'

February 28, 2012 |  2:35 pm

You know how Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox are re-releasing "Titanic" in April but in magical 3-D? Hearing Madonna's latest single, "Girl Gone Wild," released on Monday, makes me wish we could do something similar with her 2000 single, "Music." It was the last time Madonna really sounded like the queen of the dance floor, tapping into the hedonistic rebellion of the club, gettin' loose.

"Girl Gone Wild," on the other hand, the second track to be released off the winkishly named "MDNA" due March 26, sounds grimly serious about the business of getting down. You can almost see Madonna narrowing her eyes, pointing at people at the Eurodisco and saying, "You. Writhe. NOW. Thank you." This is a woman, after all, who publicly took an audience member to task for spilling water on her stage when she performed at Coachella. You know, the festival in the middle of the broiling hot desert.

Recorded in London with dance music superstar Benny Benassi and his production partner/cousin, Ale Benassi, "Girl Gone Wild" is trim and taut, almost like it was once a fluffy disco tune now dieted down to a hard body of dance effiency. There's something very attractive about a song this militaristic and precise, but in Madge's too-capable hands it's also suffocatingly professional.

Over a whip-timed beat and synth call signals, Madonna dispenses with creativity and instead grabs the two nearest lyrical cliches, the title and chorus line "girls just want to have fun," without caring where either one comes from. Cyndi Lauper or Joe Francis -- who cares?  She just wanted to conjure good times, people, and this is the quickest way she knew how.

Madge’s use of well-worn lines has rubbed some people the wrong way, including Francis himself. He has been beating his chest to the media, saying he sent a cease and desist letter to Madonna. She had originally titled the song in the plural, “Girls Gone Wild,” just like the Francis nudie video franchise. Her longtime manager, Guy Oseary, quickly quashed the rumor that the Material Girl changed the name of the song to appease Francis. It was simply one of the many last-minute tweaks they made to the album, he said. Besides, Oseary sniffed, Madonna doesn't even know who Francis is.

It's not that surprising that she doesn't. Can you imagine Madonna doing something as schlubby as watching late-night TV, where "Girls Gone Wild" commercials troll the airwaves? Yep, she's a good girl, that Madonna, not a wild one at all.

RELATED:

Pop music review: Madonna at the Super Bowl

M.I.A. dishes on Super Bowl appearance with Madonna

Madonna's new demo track and the case for aging gracefully

-- Margaret Wappler

 

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