Sorry but it can’t be helped you will have seen several reviews of ‘Hard Candy’ and now you are getting mine. Now I am not Music Journo so don’t expect too much though I did run PopSalvage many moons ago… that needs a revamp! I have had this on rotation for a few days now and could not help but give in and blog about the whole album (I was only allowed to say a little in Bent) and if it’s worse, better or as good as ‘Confessions…’ Mr Agius you have an email waiting and you started this lol!
Candy Shop – I personally don’t like this opening number however its Madonna’s favourite (I don’t understand why) and I suppose goes with the whole ‘Madonna goes R&B’ hype that has been going on. It’s not changed from the demo that leaked last year other than lyrically and that’s not a good thing. It’s like she’s trying to be 50 Cent. The only bit I love about the song I love is the trance middle where she repeats ‘sticky and sweet, my sugar is raw’ as I love Madonna when she’s being saucy. 2/5
4 Minutes – You all know this so am simply going to say a grower which I never expected to love as much as I do. 5/5
Give It 2 Me – This song really stand out as I don’t think it sounds like anything else in the charts (and I mean this in a good way). It has some really R&B horns bumping along in the back ground with a house/trance beat. I can imagine this being a huge hit in Vauxhall! The negative bit is when she does a break down over what sounds like Pharrel banging on some pans in his kitchen with a spatula as she says ‘get stupid’, ironic in an Alanis way! This could have been on ‘Confessions’ 4.5/5
Heartbeat – My favourite upbeat track from the album! I may have already created my own little dance routine… anyway. Produced by Pharrel its electro, pop and R&B all in one fabulous mesh! Nelly Furtado will be livid. “You know I feel it in my heart beat it may feel old to you but to me it feels new’. It’s all about dancing and how it sets you free and makes you feel amazing. I think she might also be referring to a crush and sex in a club but that wouldn’t be very Madonna would it? 6/5
Miles Away – The first ballad on the album and probably the most ‘typical’ in style. It sounds like a mash up of ‘Love Profusion’ – the guitars, ‘Nothing Fails’ – the sparseness and deeply felt vocals, and ‘Power of Goodbye’ – the synths and slight dance beat, almost William Orbit in part. Apparently this isn’t about Mrs & Mr Ritchie ‘you always love me more miles away, I hear it in your voice miles away’ and ‘when I’m gone you realise I’m the best thing to happen to you’. I have just realised this reminds me of Everything But The Girl in some weird way. 4/5
She’s Not Me – From the start of this song you can tell with the heavy base and shimmering synths that this is going to be a 70’s number. People are saying that this is her reply to Robbie’s ‘She’s Madonna’ – does she really give a monkeys about Robbie? This song does song like its ripped off ‘Bad Girls’ (just you wait for the Donna Summer album in May – amazing) and ‘Ring My Bell’ we allow this because its Madonna and means there are whistle and clap breaks for clubbing fun! ‘She might make you breakfast and love you in the shower, the feelings momentary ‘cos she don’t have what’s ours… she’s not me, she doesn’t have my name’ there’s nothing like Madonna being modest. This also does what Girls Aloud did with Biology of having three sounds in one. It starts seventies disco then 60’s clappy flower power, soul and blues and then deep house. 5/5
Incredible – This is the danger with calling a song something like ‘Astounding’ or ‘Incredible’ it might not live up to the name. This one doesn’t quite. The chorus is very pretty and catchy, in fact pretty is how you would describe the whole tune. It’s a piano lead mid tempo summer lounge meets house music if such a thing exists, well it does now. At six minutes it’s far too long, and sort of screams filler to me and what’s the ‘Evita’ dramatic bit halfway through? 2.8/5
Beat Goes On – Thankfully only sounding slightly like the demo of it that leaked, it does sadly miss the brilliant lyric ‘always the bridesmaid never the bride’ but its gained Kanye West who does a great rap on the track. Vocally she sounds great, it’s a sublime plinky kitsch disco number she even skits with Pharrel. I can’t think why this won’t be a single not the normal sort of stuff you would expect from Madge. 4.5/5
Dance 2Nite – ‘Hey Madonna, I’m taking you to the club’ Justin states before a heavy R&B dirty bass line comes in. Not an instant favourite but after a few listens this funky little number really grows on you. It’s about dancing as a twosome (think she might be insinuating sex with people half your age… maybe not) and being ‘just a boy and your just a girl’ homophobes lol. This is funky catchy and very Timbaland, not quite his finest hour though, quite Jacko! 3.6/5
Spanish Lesson – At first you think she has lots the plot, she is reciting Spanish and the meaning in English over Spanish guitars with a hard R&B beat. Somehow it works in its own odd way, this is unsurprisingly Mr B’s favourite number, partly as its Spanish and also as in its own crazy way it’s quite camp. “If you do your home work, maybe I will give you more’. 4/5
Devil Wouldn’t Recognise You – This HAS to be a single. I think this is her ‘Say It Right’ or ‘Cry Me A River’ it’s an epic electro R&B ballad. By epic I mean epic, the sound is huge and full, there’s a male chorus going on, it’s also one of the Timbaland highlights. I actually can’t describe how good this song is to be honest; I will have this on repeat for a good few weeks. 6/5
Voices – ‘Who is the Master & who is the slave?’ Justin starts this track. Well that’s none of your business frankly. Oh hang on this is one of her ‘deep’ songs, “are you walking the dog because that dog isn’t new, are you out of control is that dog walking you?’ This and ‘Devil’ see her doing something vocally that she doesn’t do very often and that sound more sultry and divine (not the best description). Weirdly this song remind me of some ballads from ABBA towards the end when they went a bit rogue (in a good way) it’s quite dramatic and has an Asian sounding hint to it. The album closes with the ring of a bell. Awesome. 5/5
Overall it’s great, no it’s not ‘Confessions’ but then Madonna wouldn’t bang out a second ‘Confessions’ it’s not her style. Some people have been really let down listening to this but Confessions was going to be a tough act to follow and I think ‘Hard Candy’ does this and surprised me with how good it was. I admit the ‘Madonna Goes R&B’ in my mind had ‘nightmare’ written all over it, but this is not an R&B album. Timbaland disappoints on this album (for me) and Pharrel shows just what a great writer he is. It’s a blend of pop, trance, electro and house with a thick R&B syrup coated over it… and it’s sweet! 5/5
Oh and here is an alternative cover someone has made which I saw today and made me smile!