This afternoon we went to a brilliantly decorated room in East London to hear the new Madonna album while sipping champagne & eating jelly beans. Sounds good huh? Well it was! Anyone fearing a full on urban attack – don’t worry. ‘Hard Candy‘ is full of long disco pop songs – it just has some heavy beats! Here’s our track by track rundown:
1. Candy Shop: Here we go! Madonna wants to be our ‘1-stop candy shop – your lollipop’. Yum! This is produced by The Neptunes and is filled with bleeps and swirls. It ends with a ‘sticky but sweet’ rap by Pharrell.
2. Four Minutes To Save The World: You all know this one!
3. Give It To me: Not a Furtado/Timbo cover but a Pharrell track that’s going to be the 2nd single. Let us tell you now – it’s mindblowingly amazing. There’s cowbells, twinkles and a funny vocoder you might have heard on ‘Music’. Think old school pop Madonna but fired up at 300 mph. There’s a funky break near the end where Madonna shouts ‘don’t stop!’, the music stops and a male voice sings ‘left to the right’
4. Heartbeat: ‘Probably the 3rd single’, Heartbeat has a synthy 80s sounding intro. Madge tells us that ‘when I dance I feel free!’. There’s something about the melody when she sings ‘you know I feel it in my Heartbeat’ that’s really cute!.
5. Miles Away: This starts deceptively with guitar that reminds us of ‘Don’t Tell Me’. Is it going to be a ballad? Course not silly! 5 seconds in and here comes a pounding bassline. ‘I just woke up from a fuzzy dream, you won’t believe the things I’ve seen.’ This is the first song that doesn’t hold our attention all the way but it’s got a dreamy ending.
6. She’s Not Me: It starts with 4 claps and then all hell breaks loose. This is the tale of a jilted lover and has about 7 different elements. It sounds kind of like a sequel to ‘Deeper and Deeper’ with the passion, the fastness and the twirls. Totally hypnotic – it’s a Timberlake/land production but it could come straight from the disco house of Nile Rodgers. Oh and it would mix into Anita Ward’s ‘Ring My Bell’ perfectly. Also it’s REALLY LONG.
7. Incredible: The slowest track so far, but it’s full of strange noises. It’s kind of what ‘Cherish’ might sound like if it was looped and scratched up by a DJ. A sweet solo piano maintains the sweetness under the nasty dirty bass that’s everywhere else, but that bass is totally needed to stop it being smaltzy. It ends with a drum breakdown, that we’re sure wil be replaced with a beatboxer on tour, and lots of sexy ‘OOH’s.
8. Beat Goes On: Featuring Mr Kanye West, this is a full on party disco song. ‘On and on, the beat goes – you don’t have the luxury of time – say what’s on your mind’. It has a ‘BEEP BEEP’ bit that totally reminds us of Donna Summer “Bad Girl” (youtube it – it’s awesome!). Then there’s some dreamy sounding chords and up pops Kanye for a rap with some ‘Like A Prayer’ HEY!s going on underneath him.
9. Dance 2night: Not a Paul McCartney cover! This is a bit downbeat sounding, but it’s still not a ballad. It’s just a bit dark. Wise ol’ Madonna tells us all that ‘You don’t have to be beautiful to be understood. You don’t have to be rich & famous to be good’.
10. Spanish Lessons: She’s always loved throwing a bit of Sp anish into her songs and now here’s a full on Spanish assault! Think matador trumpets and bullfighting. Plus learn her language and you might get lucky – “You’re so loco & you drive me crazy. If you do your homework maybe I will give it up”
11. Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You: The 2nd best song on the album, this is ‘Cry Me A River’ 5 years later, and sung by Madonna. It’s got a gorgeous sad, synth opener which is suddenly compounded by hynotizing bleeps. Queen Madge sings ‘Over and over you’re pushing me onto the floor and I keep coming back for more’. It’s still not a ballad though. Hooray!
12. Voices: And we’re at the end. Boo hoo. It’s a creepy sounding ending though and it’s almost as if a song off ‘Erotica’ has been brought up to date with lyrics like ‘Who is the master, who is the slave’ and ‘Are you walking the dog or is that dog walking you’.
So there we have it. Course when we listen to it all again we’ll probably completely change our mind about our favourite tracks!
As massive Madonna fans we’re very happy that she hasn’t gone off the rails as feared. It’s simply a Madonna pop album for 2008 which starts out having a full on party and ends in that dark corner Ms Ciccone knows so well.
Bron: Capital Radio (UK)