Yesterday, I wrote on Twitter: Seriously, "Celebration" needs to leak right damn now.
Well, I got my wish. This morning, not one but two copies of it had landed in my inbox. I knew what I was getting into because the 30 second sample was up on Amazon yesterday. The reveal for this song has been agonizingly slow - 19 seconds a couple weeks back, the full track in low-quality (all of which I found completely unlistenable) late last week, the 30 seconds of HQ yesterday and now, the full song in glorious HQ. It's a credit to WB that they were able to keep the song under wraps for as long as they did.
"Celebration" is not earth-shattering or anything, but it is a huge win because I got the new-Madonna-song chills (but I might have gotten those with "4 Minutes" and see how that turned out?) when I first listened to it. So if it's not earth-shattering, what is it? It's a brilliant mix-up of old and new Madonna - although there seems to be nary a trace of Hard Mandy in the mix. It is joyous and, like Madonna's best pop songs, completely effortless. Only with Madonna can you say something like "it sounds like she pooped that song out!" and mean it as a compliment.
The vocal is very Confessions which pleases me greatly, and the production, as I alluded to in the title of this post, has this 90s vibe to it that surprised me. The opening reminded me a bit of that Above and Beyond remix of "What It Feels Like For A Girl". I'm also a huge sucker for that spoken bit in the middle mostly because Dita shows up for about 15 seconds in "well, I guess I just don't recognize you with your clothes on!" What a great throwback to Erotica Madonna, only to have it followed by that little giggle that sounds like it was sampled from some early record. (props to boyculture for pointing out that laugh)
There has been some discussion on the internet that the song is a step backward for Madonna. I can see the source of this argument, but really, this type of stuff is what Madonna does best. People mock songs like "Jimmy Jimmy" and "Where's The Party" for their simplicity but those songs are the prototypes that eventually begat "Celebration" (although they had to be filtered through the prism of Confessions). It doesn't always have to be mind-boggling serious. Sometimes you can just have fun. But Madonna's heart has to be in it, otherwise it doesn't count. And she is arguably more present for this 3:35 than she was on the entirety of Hard Candy.
I would say that I'm glad the whole Hard Candy experience is behind us, but I still haven't heard "Revolver" so I will hold off on that for now. Until then, I will bask in the evidence of the brilliance of "Celebration."