After man dies...
Zoheir Beig

12:44 14th November 2005

You’d think that after the likes of ‘Swept Away’ and her last album, the bland ‘American Life’, people would have actually got tired of writing off Madonna, and instead decided to expend some rare positive energy in the direction of her heirs apparent, the likes of Gwen Stefani and, er…well, the point is that in today’s cluttered synthetic pop landscape there’s still no-one quite like Madonna, where every  new album is an experiment, a branching into new audio and visual territories.

The impact of ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ then is akin to what would happen if Radiohead’s next album was a 45-minute ‘Bends’-esque guitar assault. It’s both a glorious nod to the past, yet firmly of the 21st century; streamlined and clinical to within an inch of its life, ‘Confessions…’ is state-of-the-art house. It sounds expensive, tasteful and thrilling (a description you suspect many Madonna fans would apply to themselves). Much of the credit should be placed at the feet of Stuart Price, who produces the majority of this collection. Better known to indie kids as Jacques Lu Cont, it’s like he’s been given free reign here to make the Les Rhythmes Digitales album of his dreams.

The decision to run the album as one seamless whole is also an inspired one. From the squelchy bass of ‘Sorry’ to the ‘Blue Monday’ referencing ‘Future Lovers’, every track becomes one filtered gem within a monster of a mix, of which the biggest compliment is that it’s rarely noticeable.

Whether it’ll stand up as a truly great record this time next year is almost besides the point. As concise a slice of disco euphoria as the recent Kate Bush comeback was bloated and messy, ‘Confessions…’ is a magnificent kick to the nether regions of modern dance music. Like Madonna sings on the closing ‘Like It Or Not’: “Celebrate me for who I am”