Conveniently ignoring the mss-step of the 'American Pie' soundtrack recording, 'Music' was Madonna's first new release since her comeback/re-birth 'Ray Of Light' album. Momentum gained can easily degenerate into momentum lost in the fickle world of pop and with William Orbit no longer on board, the teaming up with French producer Mirwais meant another step into the unknown.
The difference is palpable. Where Orbit's electronic treatments spun strands of sound between the spaces of the music like angel hair, Mirwais Francophile dance credentials ensures 'Music' itself is sparse, wired and comes stripped of background filler; if there are spaces, then they are left for the dancefloor feet to fill by themselves. Different, albeit not wholly original ('Music' reminds me of a one off collaboration by a Daft Punk offshoot), it's the most un-Madonna sounding Madonna single yet.
With her vocal largely strung out and strangled unrecognisable by the technology, it's hard to pick out the Madonna of old on the electronic yelp of the recurring "Do you like to boogie-woogie" refrain and "Hey DJ" intro. Not only that, the usual 'Madonna' persona and the forced sexuality that usually entails takes a seat far enough back in the mix until she blends organically into the music itself; 'Music' is never going to be a first choice for anyone on karaoke night. But that's fine - Madonna has been a frustrating proposition over the years, and by God she will be again, but when she gets it right she hits the bull's-eye with a satisfying THWACK loud enough to drown out some of her......less successful forays.