Youâ€™d think that after the likes of â€˜Swept Awayâ€™ and her last album, the bland â€˜American Lifeâ€™, 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, erâ€¦well, the point is that in todayâ€™s cluttered synthetic pop landscape thereâ€™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 â€˜Confessions On A Dancefloorâ€™ then is akin to what would happen if Radioheadâ€™s next album was a 45-minute â€˜Bendsâ€™-esque guitar assault. Itâ€™s both a glorious nod to the past, yet firmly of the 21st century; streamlined and clinical to within an inch of its life, â€˜Confessionsâ€¦â€™ 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, itâ€™s like heâ€™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 â€˜Sorryâ€™ to the â€˜Blue Mondayâ€™ referencing â€˜Future Loversâ€™, every track becomes one filtered gem within a monster of a mix, of which the biggest compliment is that itâ€™s rarely noticeable.
Whether itâ€™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, â€˜Confessionsâ€¦â€™ is a magnificent kick to the nether regions of modern dance music. Like Madonna sings on the closing â€˜Like It Or Notâ€™: â€œCelebrate me for who I amâ€