I'm a Sinner
|"I'm a Sinner"|
|Song by Madonna from the album MDNA|
New York, New York
|MDNA track listing|
"I'm a Sinner" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Madonna for her twelfth studio album MDNA (2012). It was written by Madonna, William Orbit and Jean-Baptiste, while production was handled by Madonna and Orbit. "I'm a Sinner" also features bouncing drum beats and swinging guitar riffs. The song was compared to her other collaborations with Orbit, with "Beautiful Stranger" being cited by the majority of music critics.
Lyrically, "I'm a Sinner" hearkens back to her Catholic background, where Madonna namechecks Jesus Christ as well as various saints, with her singing that she wants to be saved, but not yet. The song received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, with many praising the chemistry of Madonna and Orbit and its bouncy sound. Although not released as a single, the song has charted on the Gaon Chart, due to strong digital downloads of MDNA. Madonna performed the track on The MDNA Tour, which supported the album.
Writing and recording
"I'm a Sinner" was written by Madonna, William Orbit and Jean-Baptiste, with production handledby Madonna and Orbit. It was mixed and engineered by Demacio "Demo" Castellon for The Demolition Crew, while Pro Tools editing were done by Ron Taylor, with additional editing done by Stephen "The Koz" Kozmeniuk for The Demolition Crew and Angie Teo. Instrumentation was done by Orbit, while Alan Tilston provided drums and percussion, with additional vocals being provided by Jean-Baptiste. The song was recorded in two studios, namely Guerilla Strip, in London, England - and MSR Studios, in New York, NY.
Orbit reteamed with Madonna, after working with her on her 1998 album Ray of Light. Later, they worked on Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack song, "Beautiful Stranger" the following year. Only in 2011, they worked again on songs for her then-upcoming album MDNA. Madonna spoke about working with Orbit at the New York premiere of W.E., stating, "With William, I didn't really have a discussion. We've worked on stuff for so many years that we kind of finish each other's sentences. He knows my taste and what I like. [...] Magic happens when we get into a recording studio together."
A 30-second sample of "I'm a Sinner," where Madonna sings about being a sinner and she likes being that way, over bouncing drum beats and swinging guitar riffs.
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Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph described "I'm a Sinner" as a "declarative chugging gospel techno ride" song with bouncing drum beats and swinging guitar riffs. The song is reminiscent and a musical descendant of her 1999 single, "Beautiful Stranger", also produced by William Orbit, as cited by the majority of music critics. Other critics also cited others songs that Orbit produced for Madonna, such as "Ray of Light" (1998) and "Amazing" (2000) as influences.
Lyrically, the song finds Madonna exultantly declaring that, like St. Augustine, she wants to be saved, but not yet. In the bridge, there's a breakdown into a recitation of Saints, namechecking Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and a few others, including Saint Christopher, Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony. "Hail Mary full of grace, get down on your knees and pray / Jesus Christ hang on the cross, died for our sins it's such a loss / St Christopher find my way, I'll be coming home one day / St Sebastian don't you cry let those poison arrows fly," she sings.
The song garnered generally positive reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz was positive, calling it "a genuine moment of double-rainbow bliss, which reunites Madonna with Orbit for a very cool guitar-boosted rave-up that echoes 1998's Ray of Light." Keith Caulfield for Billboard called it a "chugging track" that "is so very, very Orbit." Caulfield also commented that it is "like the love child of 'Beautiful Stranger' and 'Ray of Light'." Brad Stern from MTV Buzzworthy called it a "1999's psychedelic, '60s-tinged 'Beautiful Stranger' with a touch of divinity." Dean Piper from Daily Mirror thought that the track "immediately reminds you why Madonna and Orbit worked so well first time around". Bill Lamb writing for About.com also praised the track, writing that the song "manages to sound both personal and universal in its lyrical sweep," commenting that, "With its rock and roll heart and country influenced litany of saints dressed up for the dance floor, 'I'm a Sinner' will make you want to dance." Michael Cragg of The Guardian called it "Futuristic-sounding, with double-tracked beats," praising Orbit for delivering "his signature motifs, from the Ray of Light-style guitar line that emerges from nowhere to the bit later on that sounds like Beautiful Stranger."
musicOMH's Laurence Green wrote that the song is the album's rock moment, "canvassing classic Orbit tropes – tribal beats, celestial, chiming synths – to rapturous effect. Even when Madonna gets all religious, there’s a sort of knowing playfulness, that this time round, everyone’s in this together." Joel Meares from Time Out praised the song, naming it "another good Orbit-produced track, big on the smiley ’60s vibe. Clangy and snare-stuffed, it’s a great bit of sexy pop." Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph called the song "fun" and its bridge "effective," also noting that, "it ends with 'ooh ooh's cheekily reminiscent of Sympathy for the Devil." Nick Bond of Sydney Star Observer wrote that the song will "sure to piss a few people off," also commenting that it could have been on her previous albums produced by Orbit, Ray of Light and Music. Caryn Ganz, for Spin, wrote favorably that the song "combines two of Madonna's most reliable tropes — Catholic guilt and hedonistic glee." Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club was mixed, writing that the song suggests itself as one of the album's best songs. Melinda Newman of HitFix agreed, also writing that the song "opens with a Phil Spector or girl group production before "yielding to horns and a gentle bounce that don’t follow through on the strong start." Virgin Media gave a mixed review, writing that "this swirling track that never quite breaks into Ray of Light", but also noted that Madonna has not anything new with the song.
"I'm a Sinner" was performed on The MDNA Tour in the final section, Redemption, with Madonna standing on top of a series of rising and falling platforms, playing the guitar and wearing garlands of flowers while her back-up dancers jumped back and forth in-between her. The backdrops for the performance featured a train travelling through the slums of India. Elements of her own song "Cyber-Raga" and "De Treville-n azken hitzak" were incorporated into the song. Both Jon Pareles from The New York Times and Jim Farber for New York Daily News wondered what "I'm a Sinner" had to do with an Indian theme.
Credits and personnel
- Songwriting – Madonna, William Orbit, Jean-Baptiste
- Production – Madonna and Orbit
- Mixing and engineering – Demacio "Demo" Castellon for The Demolition Crew,
- Protools editing – Ron Taylor
- Additional editing – Stephen "The Koz" Kozmeniuk for The Demolition Crew and Angie Teo.
- Instrumentation – William Orbit
- Drums & percussion – Alan Tilston
- Additional vocals – Jean-Baptiste.
- Recorded at: Guerilla Strip, London, England – MSR Studios, New York, NY
|South Korean International Downloads Chart||175|
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