Love, Revenge, Sex and Music
Here is what BBC News
entertainment reporter Mark Savage has to say about Madonna’s Hard Candy.
On Madonna’s 11th album, Hard Candy, the queen of pop invites us to imagine her as a confectioner running a musical sweet shop.
But, after sitting through the 12 tracks on offer here, you’ll begin to wish she’d stocked more than two varieties of candy.
Those flavours come from two of America’s most bankable songwriting teams: The Neptunes and Timbaland, who between them have conjured up hits for the likes of Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake.
Timberlake himself crops up on five of the tracks, posing a particularly pertinent question about who is running the show when he asks “Who is the master? Who is the slave?” as the album closes.
This sort of top flight production is an unusual step for Madonna, who has a reputation for seeking out relatively obscure dance producers like Mirwais, Shep Pettibone and Stuart Price to helm her albums.
This time round, however, the queen of reinvention is trying to win back the hearts of her US audience – who were largely unimpressed with her 2005 love letter to disco, Confessions On A Dancefloor.
It all starts off well enough. Opening track Candy Shop is an agenda-setting call to arms, with Madonna promising a “special connection” and “plenty of heat”.
The minimal, skittering drums are punctured by colossal stabs of synth, while Madonna purrs weak sweet shop-related innuendos: “Don’t pretend you’re not hungry, there’s plenty to eat… I got Turkish Delights.”
You get the picture.
Things step up a gear with the Justin Timberlake collaboration 4 Minutes, which features the best use of cowbell in pop since Free’s All Right Now, but sounds so futuristic it could realistically have been beamed in from the end of the world.
Click here to continue reading this review on the online website of the BBC.