Hopes that Madonna would re-claim her pop crown from Lady Gaga with "MDNA" were dashed when the album plunged on the charts shortly after its March release -- a victim of weak single choices and, some say, a lack of promotion on the Material Girl's part.
Now one high-profile producer is opening up about the experience on Facebook, saying he wishes "MDNA" would've turned out differently and blaming the album's failure on rush marketing and timing.
"[Madonna] was on form and better than ever with her singing and writing and musicality, and was having a great time," writes William Orbit, who previously collaborated with the pop star on her 1998 album "Ray of Light," which won four Grammy awards. "We had songs lined up that were breathtaking."
But then, from the sounds of it, things turned sour. After one fan comments on Orbit's page, noting that "most people are writing off" the album and accusing Madonna's record company Interscope of "gradually destroying" her career, the producer notes, "All I will say is that certain thoughts about it that I see expressed online by committed fans such as yourself, were blindingly obvious to me from the very get go, well before the release." He continues: "But you won't see me exactly jumping up and down with delight over the way that things have panned out...we were very pushed for time."
He doesn't mince words when it comes to working with Madonna herself, either, noting the "various pressing commitments that took up the artist's limited time, such as perfume ranges and teen fashion contests and other such endeavors which are beyond my own limited understanding of pop star agendas."
Claiming that he would "lie down in the mud if she didn't want to get her shoes messed up," he adds, "It's hard to be an effective knight when your hands are bound."
"The thing about having little appetite for riches and fame, and no great tower of expectations, you haven't got anything to be taken away," he observes. "And having always been an outsider, outside in the cold, It's always clear which way the wind is blowing."
For their part, Madonna's devoted gay fanbase has largely responded to "MDNA" with mixed reviews. Boy Culture blogger and Madonna authority Matthew Rettenmund called the album "arguably...her best effort since 'Ray of Light'" in his detailed review, while Kenneth In The 212 guest blogger Christopher Carozzo slammed Madge's "ridiculous lyrics" and use of "cold" electronic vocoder effects.
Carazzo then echoed the sentiments of many diehard fans by concluding, "It makes me ache for a new collaboration with Patrick Leonard or Stephen Bray," a nod to the producers of some of Madonna's biggest hits like "Like a Prayer" and "Into The Groove."
Re-live some of Madonna's best live performances below: