Madonna - Hard Candy

2008-12-10 15:34
Poor Madonna has set such a standard in shapeshifting that it’s very hard not to be disappointed by the lack of a compelling new persona for the fans to get into. We’re still at the legs open, “check my panties” stage of her career, it seems, and for many that’s not good enough. We wanted Extreme Makeover, and we got just a makeover. The music has evolved, that’s true, but it still feels like she was dragged into the sound of the day by a hot-shot producer while in reality Madge is much more comfortable in her withering dance pop cocoon.

That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of treats to go around in this candy store. “4 Minutes” is pop gold, no small thanks to cameos by the baby hairy-faced Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. Think punishing bass meets marching band meets inna-city R&B blowout and you’re almost there.

The techno throwback “Give It 2 Me” is fun, while the softer step of “Miles Away” with its upbeat guitar sample is her most accessible, chart-friendly melody. Here and there, early and late on the album, are neat little tracks to have fun with, like sampling different choccies from a box of Quality Street. Unfortunately there is no blockbuster hit, excluding “4 minutes”, that we’ll remember a year from now without the help of a clever music video.

Hard Candy does keep Madonna relevant and will rock a party or two, but it’s her own demanding standards that have not been met. It may be time the Queen of Pop started watching her back.

- Niel Bekker

Madonna is not a musician, but a kind of musical futurologist. Her albums are always an interpretation of the scene, a mark somewhere between where she thinks pop is at and where it will be in the near future. As a vehicle for the Timbaland sound (no shortage of heavy panting and funky drumlines here), Hard Candy does its job of being hot enough for today. But its remaining retro-dance elements are mostly stale and really belong on her previous outing, Confessions on a Dancefloor.<

What to read next: Kalahari

lee-ly 2008/05/07 8:10 AM
calling it like it is couldn't agree with your point of view more...cracking review Niel, shot!
Nicole 2008/05/07 9:12 AM
Hard Candy I beg to disagree. I bought the cd last week and have listened to it every day. The CD rocks - tracks 1, 9 and 11 are my favourite so far and everyday I add another track to my favourites. Madonna rocks - Every song will be a hit!!!!
Silver_Surfer 2008/05/07 10:30 AM
Sour Candy I agree 100% She's trying too hard. This time she brought in JT and Timberland to ad spice and sell her album. If you remember a couple of years ago, when Britney was at the top of her game, she even did a track with her. Sorry Madge, didn't really work out this time. This is not re-invention, this is history repeating itself.
carol 2008/05/07 11:55 AM
Double Sour Candy I am not a fan of hers at all! I think she must step aside and leave it to the up and coming, she is passed her sell by date! As for her*check my panties stage* well enough said!!!
Claudio 2008/05/07 12:02 PM
CD ;( CD is very dissappointing - considering her last album was brilliant!! Sorry Madge!!
candy galore 2008/05/07 12:48 PM
lucky packet It is unfortunate to see that someone can make up his mind about a Madonna CD in one week. Like any other M CD, it is going to take a few weeks, maybe months, to interpret what she throws at us. Take for instance the single 'Jump'. It was released as a single almost a year after it was released on the album 'Confessions'-Nov 2005, and peaked at No.1 in SA for two weeks(Oct 2006). Slowly open up this 'lucky packet', be open to what's inside, maybe even go and see her live, and only then make up your mind and saying no to something so sweet...
frank 2008/05/07 1:54 PM
it really does grow on you agree with those who indicate this CD takes a little time.. there are brilliant tracks on here. really bugs me that people set the bar really high for Madonna and then criticise her for not reaching some impossible standard. this is a great album and its success will be Madonna's reward! Just give a bit of time to work its magic on you...
ku juo 2008/05/07 2:08 PM
sex all
quicksilver51 2008/05/08 12:42 AM
Incredible Those who criticise her was expecting far too much from her. They must consider who they are evaluating here and her track record. This is a brilliant artist from way back and not the 20/30 year old of today. Should she dig `deeper and deeper` they may just keep up with her.
ahab 2008/05/08 8:51 AM
Jump? No way... @candy galore: Dude, "Jump" is a terrible song. It licks salty donkey backside.
Peter 2008/05/09 11:10 AM "I'll be your one stop Candy Shop Everything that I've got" Madonna "CANDY SHOP" from "HARD CANDY" The "Hard Candy" CD debuted at number 1 around the world in more than 27 countries, and like the title of her new and upcoming tour it is indeed "sweet & sticky"!!!! This album is like a candy store.......the more you listen the more you want!! As for the writer's referral to We’re still at the legs open, “check my panties” stage of her career............well as they say " if you got it flaunt it" and in this case she still has it! This is Madonna's 11th studio album, she is a multi- Grammy winner and inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Madonna has survived in an industry where most artist are "fly by night" one hit wonders, with a groundbreaking career expanding over 20 years!!! Also "Hard Candy" is the number one most downloaded digital album in many countries, so you show your panties Madge, your music and body still rocks!!!
CC 2008/09/16 5:00 PM
Madonna sucks It's always a slight variation on the same old thing. she's gives me the willys!!
Natasha 2009/09/25 9:22 AM
Sour Candy? Oh no... I think its more a case of Sour Grapes for the people who think this album sucks. Don't you guys go clubbing to witness how it rocks the whole club. Whenever Beat goes on or She's not me comes on the whole club jumps up and dance
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.