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Hard Candy

Madonna: Hard Candy

18 votes
by Tony Robert Whyte

On her final album proper for Warners before embarking on adventures new under the Live Nation banner – another compilation record will close out the deal for good next year – Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie successfully ensnares a wealth of top-name producers and performers to lend her barely-bothered lyrical performances an air of modern relevance. The checklist is impressive, all names ticked off: Timbaland, Danja, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake. Plus Madge gets a songwriting credit on every one of these 12 tracks. The pennies might’ve been splashed, but they’re likely to be made back: this is already destined for number one on the UK albums chart.

4 Minutes’ you’ll be familiar with, the album’s second track recently a number one single here and in Australia, Germany, South Africa and Canada. Indicating Madonna’s appeal hasn’t waned any since her last long-play release, 2005’s Confessions On A Dance Floor (number one here and in the US), the song’s one of the least offensive here, a refreshingly breezy offering that doesn’t overuse its guest vocalist (Timberlake) to the extent where he dominates; compared to what surrounds it, opener ‘Candy Shop’ (quite unbelievably more atrocious that the 50 Cent track of the same name) and ‘Give It 2 Me’, it’s a silken delight, enjoyable nonsense set to typically bouncy Timbaland beats. Shame that Hard Candy doesn’t really engage the listener after this relative highlight.

Phoned-in vocals from our central player – simple rhymes and predictable themes: sex, sex, sex… and possibly something else you’ll miss ‘cause of all the sex… and some chatter about dancing and stuff – and an over-reliance on the assembled cast of high-profile contributors ensure that Hard Candy feels weirdly pedestrian despite pre-release talk of it being the artist’s most ambitious album yet. There’s little here that’s not been done before, and better, and that isn’t available on albums by Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado. A decent guest turn from Kanye West on ‘Beat Goes On’ tickles the taste buds midway through proceedings, but even here Madonna’s delivery is characterised by a depressing languidness. Sure, the contract’s nearly up, but surely she could have got a little more excited given the conspirators at her disposal?

Quite evidently her attempt to court an urban audience after the disco leanings of this record’s immediate predecessor – whatever ‘urban’ actually means nowadays – Madonna’s sidestepping outside of her shimmer-pop comfort zone has resulted in a well-intentioned failure of an album that will be a commercial success regardless of any critical indifference. It can’t not be – Madonna is the biggest female pop star in the world, if not the biggest, regardless of sex. Fans aren’t likely to care that Pharrell and Timbaland are operating entirely on auto-pilot throughout blandly obligation-fulfilling arrangements like ‘Spanish Lesson’ (an echo of JT’s ‘Like I Love You’) and ‘Voices’; they’ll go crazy for this, even overlooking its who the fuck approved this? terrible cover art. More power to them.

Those of us with clearer vision, though, will have to go on missing the time when this pop chameleon could stimulate change in the wider musical landscape rather than resign herself to following already tiring trends.

  • Madonna 4 / 10

Crotch abusing

knuckle cunt

She does have...

the scrawniest crotch in pop. Why she keeps exposing the sinewy horror of it to the world, I have no idea.

Joe - www.anewbandaday.com

I like Madonna

Well, the Madonna I grew up with anyway. From the one song I've heard this review appears to be precisely accurate.

Great Minge

But the review is mucho accurate, and the 13 year old in me thought it would never see the day when she would make a wack album. Yes, I said wack...

Madonna was good

because she was permanently pissed off, even though she didn't always look it in her pretentious videos. 'Ray of Light'was her last good album, and it was good because it was actually quite a serious reflection on the irrelevence of fame, getting older alone, and the like.

Since then, she's married some twat, settled down in the countryside, and started writing children's books.

When previously wound-up musicians settle down and find happiness they need to watch out they don't turn to shit. Madonna was fail long before this album.


"great pop"

I loved Confessions..

But I think that was all Stuart Prices doing.

Typical Madonna, follow up a really good successful lp with a crock of shit.

this is tired

horribly tired and reeks of desperation as does all of the press coverage she's drummed up recently.
do some thing else woman, look after your kids, grow some vegetables.
stop making your music.
its rubbish.


I dont like the new song. Madge is trying to hard. Who wants to watch a music video with a 50year old lady in tights and a leotard. I mean seriously. Shame, there comes a time when you just have to retire

age irrelevant

i agree that she is 'trying too hard' in the video, but i don't think that the problem is her being 50. what i find cringeworthy is her desparation to be be 'street' and remain relevant - this would be better achieved by producing excellent music rather than waving her crotch around, whatever her age.

i agree ^

she's definitely try too hard and her need to be seen as street and down with the kids is embarrasing. Back in the day she wouldnt have given a fuck and would have set the agenda, now she chases it. I have to say I don't really want to see her is her skimpies, please put some clothes on!

whats the point in reviewing her

and giving her a low score...it is inevitable. stop drawing attention to yourselves...

she's shite, stop relying upon

needless nostalgia


don't get it. Wasn't inevitable, DiS gave her last record 9/10. Anyway, not sure how doing your job now constitutes 'drawing attention to yourself', this is a music website.

yeah drowned in sound

stop with you "music reviews" and "interviews with bands". its all me me me round here.

The only reviews I read are the bad ones

I dwell in deprication.