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"Give Me All Your Luvin'" (feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj)

[Live Nation / Interscope; 2012]

By ; February 3, 2012 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

“L-U-V Madonna, Y-O-U, you wanna?” So begins the first single from Madge’s forthcoming studio album MDNA . It’s phrased like a question but it comes across as more of a demand — or at least a request. The subtext of the intro seems to be: “Remember Madonna? Remember how she’s a BIG DEAL? You wanna hear her newest music!”

Then the song proper starts. A low, rumbling guitar line and peppy drumbeat recall Madonna’s earlier shagadelic sixties throwbacks like “Beautiful Stranger” and “Amazing.” The chorus finds her reminding her suitors that “I’m a different kind of girl” and that “every record sounds the same.” I can only assume that the irony of these declarations is lost on the pop superstar; though still certainly gorgeous, it seems either disingenuous or simply lazy for her to refer to herself as a “girl,” and it seems even more disingenuous to lament that “every record sounds the same” when this very record is so reminiscent of work she put out over a decade ago.

She then makes a request: “Let’s forget about time, and dance our lives away.” Time has become a recent obsession for Madonna. On “Celebration,” the single from her 2009 greatest-hits compilation of the same name, she chides a romantic partner for “hesitation.” On 2005’s (excellent) “Hung Up,” she announces that there’s “no time to hesitate.” And 2008’s Hard Candy is littered with references to running out of time, not hesitating, and having “only four minutes to save the world.” So to hear her again reference the intimidating inevitability of time on her newest record is not unexpected but perhaps a bit disappointing. I mean, really. Again?

Anyway. The biggest difference between the officially released single version of “Give Me All Your Luvin'” and the leak from a few weeks ago is that we finally get to hear Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.’s contributions. Spoiler alert: they’re brief. Minaj spits out her rhymes as though it were a speed-speaking contest. “I’m a barbarian / I’m Conan! You were sleeping on me? You were dozin’!” Her verse lasts for 12 seconds.

But at least Minaj’s lyrics are amusing. M.I.A., on the other hand, adds absolutely nothing of substance to this track, cementing my suspicion that she was added to the record as more of a PR move than a genuine aesthetic decision. She’s in, she’s out, and then Madonna returns to repeat the chorus one last time before the track abruptly ends. The one upside to the limited participation of Madge’s collaborators here is that this actually sounds like a Madonna track. “4 Minutes,” on the other hand, might as well have been a Justin Timberlake song distantly featuring a female singer who can comfortably hit notes in a lower reigster. This time she’s at the forefront of her own single, which is a good thing for sure, but the single itself is catchy yet ultimately underwhelming.

On “She’s Not Me,” the best (or at least most original) cut from Hard Candy, Madonna assured us, “I know I can do it better.” “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” however, is not “better.” It’s cutesy and fine and might be fun to sing along to on the radio. But it fails to take advantage of her self-professed “lookout for the maddest, sickest, most badass people to collaborate with.” Let’s hope the rest of MDNA offers more surprises than this bouncy-yet-tepid first taste.


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