Madonna, Queen of Everything, has just released her 12th studio album, MDNA. Almost four years have passed since her last effort, Hard Candy. And a lot has happened since then, including a highly publicized divorce from husband Guy Ritchie in late 2008 and the release of "W.E.," her self-directed film. But Madonna's current mantra du jour is probably best captured in the new album's most defining lyric:"I need to dance."
Madonna's in a rapturous state of mind in 2012, and the bulk of her latest effort -- a thundering, explosively defiant breakup album full of searing club cuts, blood-soaked revenge anthems and swoon-filled psychedelic '60s pop ditties -- seems to be tripping on acid... or, more accurately, ecstasy. After all, Madonna's cheeky album title, MDNA, is a nod to the euphoric club drug. Looks like Madonna's in a state of dance floor transcendence once again.
Madonna teamed up with the likes of Martin Solveig, the Benassi Bros. and William Orbit (of Ray of Light fame), and the result of all of that forward-thinking production is one of her most youthful and high-energy records since True Blue -- and one of her better albums, period. MDNA serves as a reminder of what Madonna has always represented (and what many pop stars these days fail to truly grasp): fun.
We couldn't just let a new Madonna album hit the streets without giving you our track-by-track breakdown. Here's everything you need to know about MDNA.
1. "Girl Gone Wild" -- "Oh my God," Madonna declares during the album's opening moments, channeling the "God" opening of "Like A Prayer" with a spoken rendition of "Act of Contrition" (which made its first appearance on her 1989 album Like A Prayer -- full circle). From there, Madge quickly dives into a booming Benassi-produced club banger, playing like a lighter take on Benassi's mix of Madonna's own "Celebration" from back in 2009.
2. "Gang Bang" -- "Gang Bang" is not only the highlight of the record, but a highlight of Madonna's career. Revisiting the role of the scorned songstress from Erotica's "Thief of Hearts" whom she first played almost 20 years ago, Madonna delightfully wields a weapon while in hot pursuit of her ex-lover across a dark, throbbing beat. With a gritty dubstep breakdown (a nod to Britney's dub-pop masterpiece "Hold It Against Me"), gunshots and bullets dropping to the ground, "Gang Bang" plays as violent as the bloodthirsty, Quentin Tarantino-friendly lyrics imply. "Now, drive bitch!"
Read more of our track-by-track breakdown of Madonna's MDNA after the jump. The album is in stores today.