Ask Billboard: Madonna: the Material 'Woman'?
Aimee Mann, Jon Hamm Channel 'Til Tuesday In New 'Labrador' Video

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

'MDNA': HIT OR MISS? DEPENDS (ON WHERE'S THE PARTY?)

Hi Gary,

I, too, am writing to add my two cents on Madonna's latest CD, "MDNA." I'm not here to agree or disagree with anyone, being that everyone is entitled to their opinion, so here goes mine. A little over a month since "MDNA" was released, I have to say that it follows the same vein as most Madonna releases post-"Ray of Light": it's hit or miss.

For me, it could've been a much stronger album if the mid-section of songs ("Give Me All You're Luvin'," "Some Girls," "Superstar," "I Don't Give A" and "I'm a Sinner") were replaced with the disc-two bonus tracks ("Beautiful Killer," I F***ed Up," "B-Day Song" and "Best Friend"), making for a solid, single CD. I'm still scratching my head over the releases of "Luvin' " and "Girls Gone Wild" as singles. It would've been wise for Madonna's camp to release "Masterpiece" back in January to bank off its Golden Globes award and give her film, "W.E.," a little extra push. But coulda, woulda, shoulda.

As for any upcoming single releases, "Turn Up The Radio" and "Love Spent" seem like the obvious choices.

Personally, I feel that Madonna should go back to basics. The songs she's written with Patrick Leonard ("Live to Tell," "Like a Prayer," "Frozen") have endured. She should definitely consider working with him again. I am not expecting another "Like a Prayer" or "Ray of Light," just an effortless and unquestionably great Madonna record.

Thank You,

Michael Pineiro
New York, New York

Gary,

Can you stand one more comment on Madonna's current career path?

I think arguing about seeing this single or that on the Hot 100 is almost a moot point by now. Madonna is a savvy businesswoman and had to realize that it would become increasingly more difficult for her to place music on pop radio. Instead, she's creating music for venues where her fans are likely to hear it: at clubs and in concert.

I don't think she wrote "Give Me All Your Luvin' " for radio. She wrote it for the Super Bowl (and it sounded great!) The same applies to the rest of the album. Some may hate "Girls Gone Wild" today, but I bet they will be dancing their butts off to it at her concert.

Thanks for a great column!

Bill Olver
Baltimore, Maryland

Hi Michael and Bill,

Great point: I agree that "Luvin' " and "Wild" shouldn't be judged solely on their less-than-overwhelming radio receptions. They already have made impacts, and will continue to, in other platforms.

Being drawn more to pure pop than dance, I've always liked Madonna's co-writes with Patrick Leonard. (She wrote several of her more dance-leaning '80s/'90s hits with Stephen Bray, including "Causing a Commotion," "Express Yourself" and "Keep It Together.") Other songs that Madonna and Leonard co-penned include "Open Your Heart," "La Isla Bonita," "Who's That Girl," "Cherish," "Oh Father," and "I'll Remember."

Apart from Madonna, Leonard has crafted songs with artists including Bon Jovi, Peter Cetera ("One Good Woman"), Fleetwood Mac, Jewel ("Hands"), Elton John ("Someday Out of the Blue") and even Pink Floyd.

And, how about two Patrick Leonard fun facts? His daughter Jessie inspired the Madonna song "Dear Jessie," from "Like a Prayer"; and, his former wife? Olivia D'Abo, aka, Karen Arnold of TV's beloved "The Wonder Years."

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