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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "She's Not Me and She Never Will Be"
Madonna's "Hard Candy" was met with mixed reviews when originally released in April 2008.

While the album does have a few faults, I would place it on par with 2005's "Confessions on a Dance Floor". Most critics hailed "Confessions" as a much-welcomed return to Madonna's early dance-music roots. I, for one, wish that COADF had been more varied, something that...
Published on July 3 2010 by Kasey G

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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I choked on Hard Candy
Dear Madonna

What happened to you?

I've been a fan since the start, I've seen your concerts, I've even defended your performance in Body of Evidence, and you give me... this.

Now I know that Confessions on a Dance Floor is a tough act to follow, and maybe you're guilty of raising your own bar too high, but is this really the album you want...
Published on April 29 2008 by SithSean


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "She's Not Me and She Never Will Be", July 3 2010
By 
Kasey G (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Madonna's "Hard Candy" was met with mixed reviews when originally released in April 2008.

While the album does have a few faults, I would place it on par with 2005's "Confessions on a Dance Floor". Most critics hailed "Confessions" as a much-welcomed return to Madonna's early dance-music roots. I, for one, wish that COADF had been more varied, something that "Hard Candy" manages better than its predecessor.

While the opener "Candy Shop" sounds like something that would be more at home on a Britney Spears CD, it's a little better than "4 Minutes", which is the weakest track here despite the fact it received lots of radio airplay and reached #1 in some markets.

Madonna unfortunately seems desperate on this album to work with then-mega-successful producers such as Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, and their sounds overshadow her own.

Fortunately, things improve greatly on the next few songs.

"Give It To Me" is a fantastic club song and should have been the first single. It's relentless beat and "Get stupid" interlude make this one a standout.

The same can be said for "Heartbeat", with it's pulsing beat making the song itself seem like it has a lifeline. The Timbaland effect actually works in its favour. Again a clever interlude ("See my booty get down") makes it fun and memorable.

"Miles Away" also received airplay and its personal lyrics made a connection between Madonna and fans since her separation from Guy Ritchie became public shortly after the release of this CD. "Miles" is serviceable but not outstanding.

"She's Not Me" on the other hand, though much too long to be radio-friendly, is absolutely the song that makes this CD a must-have for me. It has a great 1979 retro-vibe from the first note, borrowing heavily the Nile Rogers/Bernard Edwards "Chic" sound which I have loved since 1979. The bells and chimes are very Anita-Ward-like and it even has Donna Summer-type "toot-toot, beep-beep" whistles. To top it off, former Prince guitarist Wendy (of Wendy and Lisa fame) provides ample support. The strings on the outro are gorgeous. Madonna is always great when in "defensive-tough-chick/stay-away-from-my-man" mode (think "Thief of Hearts") and I can't praise this track enough.

"Incredible" seems like some sort of hot mess upon first listen, but there is something engaging about it, especially the second half when it gets a little more frantic.

Another winner is "Beat Goes On" which is also rather retro-sounding. Ironically, it has the same tempo and reminds me of the 1980 hit "And The Beat Goes On" by The Whispers. I could do without the Kanye West appearance since I can't usually stand his arrogance, but the rest of the song is so good, I can tolerate him here.

"Dance 2Night" is an average mid-tempo track. I would probably like it better if it didn't have the Justin Timberlake influence.

While many reviews have panned the Mexican-flavored "Spanish Lesson", I find it a lot of fun. Madonna sounds very playful delivering the sometimes non-sensical lyrics. Also working in its favor, it sounds different from anything else on the album.

Unfortunately, the last two tracks are kind of a let-down. "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" is competent enough, but it's another JT rip-off and "Voices" is forgettable at best.

I would say about half this album is average, but the standouts still make it a worthwhile purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She's not just going to roll over and die..., Nov. 29 2008
By 
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
...as many of her detractors hope for. Hard Candy is far from being a brilliant album or the best in pop music but she's still miles ahead of the competition. She's still the entire package with great danceable songs with infectious melodies and hard hitting beats.
This is the closest Madonna has been in the new millennium to replicating her early 80s dance image and it appears many are in fear of her being invincible in the industry. Ironically enough everyone appears to want to have the "old" Madonna back and this album has all the qualities of the earlier era of her career.

People now criticize her for teaming up with accomplished producers as opposed to the underground "groundbreaking" sounds she would discover and manipulate to her own advantage. So now she's playing a different game, if not more humbling and now it's become apparently more desperate on her part. Perhaps people would like to consider that Madonna is coming off a hugely successful album "Confessions on a Dancefloor" and wasn't in need of "reviving" her career. Perhaps she actually does appreciate Pharrel and Timbaland's work and wanted to mesh it with her own pop/dance sensibilities. And Hard Candy is living proof of it going according to plan.

Regardless of the critical response the album has received she's still ahead of the game. Michael Jackson is facing yet another trial, Janet Jackson is having problems sustaining a tour, Britney is nuts, etc. No one has been able to play the game as well as Madonna. And whether you pray for her to go away or sit and bicker about her, she's going nowhere anytime soon. So continue to enjoy the ride.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HARD CANDY IS STICKY AND SWEET, April 29 2008
By 
Qian Song - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
The battle of the divas are happening, as both Madonna, Mariah and Janet release their new albums at relatively the same time. Madonna's new album, HARD CANDY, is what Confessions on a Dance Floor promised, and more. It is her last album for Warner Bros., and it ain't half bad.

Album Cover: 4/5
With this spandex image she hasn't used since the Human Nature video, this cover sure packs a punch. However, one cannot deny how much the cover has been PhotoShopped. Overall, I love the album cover, especially her ring that says M-Dolla.

1. Candy Shop: 4/5
Although some reviews have been mediocre about this track, I actually like this track. It doesn't have much production, or much instruments. It's just a fun and sweet track that comes more as an interlude than a full track.

2. 4 Minutes: 5/5
Who doesn't know this track? This song is one of her strongest, and the Timba-lake production only makes it 100 times better. This is probably the only song that mentions any world events, while the rest is sugar-full fun. Despite its slightly too long introduction, its beat and marching band beat will surely have you dancing all night long.

3. Give It 2 Me: 5/5
This track is very energetic and super fun. This song is great to dance to and Pharrell's beat at the chorus is surely one of her best. This, for me, contains her catchiest chorus since Open Your Heart. Despite the slightly odd bell-sounding ending, this is a track worthy of being a single.

4. Heartbeat: 4/5
This is a slightly fast beat song. It starts with a drum that resembles the beating of a heart, then transcends into a strangely groovy dance pop. Despite some cheesy lyrics, this song has enough hooks to be a small radio-only single.

5. Miles Away: 4.5/5
This is an almost ballad that contains the bittersweetness of a woman scorned but can still laugh her head off. With an R&B groove and a bittersweet chorus, this song comes off as a happy realization. This CD really is SWEET!

6. She's Not Me: 3.5/5
This is a catchy song that defends Madonna and her name. Despite all the copiers that came and went, Madonna has always been the queen. No one will ever get her off her throne. However, this song could do without the last two minutes.

7. Incredible: 3/5
This song could do much better without the last three minutes. Not her best.

8. Beat Goes On: 4/5
This is the only song in which I actually like the rap! Kanye does a good job and he should be proud. This song is totally transformed from the demo and is much more dancier!

9. Dance 2Night: 3/5
Great beat, but the lyrics and the song just doesn't amount to what she does before.

10. Spanish Lesson: 4/5
This song is where Madonna gets into the stern but sexy teacher mode. Totally sexy. This is where La Isla Bonita meets Into The Groove. Totally awesome.

11. Devil Wouldn't Recognize You: 5/5
This song has crazy lyrics, crazy beat and crazy production. Somehow, it has all came together and is one of my favourite songs!

12. Voices: 4/5
Despite some cheezy lyrics, this is Madonna's deepest soul dig since Inside Of Me. Love it.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Since its release four weeks ago, it has sold over 1,500,000 copies worldwide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get up and Shake it!!!, Nov. 18 2008
By 
Paul D. Leney "Paul" (Calgary, Alta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
O.K. let's drop all the katty bitchiness (as per other reviews). This albumn is just plain good fun. Mads has always known how to stay up-to-date. How else can you remain at the top of Pop Culture after 20 some years? O.K. she is 50 and I did feel she at times like she was trying to trai lafter younger & fresher artists. It was still great music and isn't that what it is all about?
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I choked on Hard Candy, April 29 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Dear Madonna

What happened to you?

I've been a fan since the start, I've seen your concerts, I've even defended your performance in Body of Evidence, and you give me... this.

Now I know that Confessions on a Dance Floor is a tough act to follow, and maybe you're guilty of raising your own bar too high, but is this really the album you want to give us? Sure you've got Timbaland on there, Justin's boppin about in a couple of songs, and Pharrel is bringing his own hip-hop sound to the table, but where are you? Once upon a time you defined trends in music, and everyone was left scrambling in your wake to grab a piece of what you created, but now it looks to me as if you're running after them and trying to put yourself into a new arena to compete with other acts.

Okay so 4 Minutes is a fun little song, and Give It 2 Me is being hailed as the best dance song on the album. But I admit I had to stifle a yawn during Candy Shop; yes, sticky and sweet, your candy is raw... these lyrics are far from clever. You and Guy have challenging times in Miles Away. Incredible is anything but.

Are you getting old? Am I? Am I being too harsh? I always thought that as your career evolved you were getting ready to become this matriarch of pop, this reverred idol who nobody would be able to touch, but I gotta tell you, this severe left turn you have taken now almost reeks of desperation. You don't need to sound like anyone else - you're MADONNA. Take your own advice from Little Star on your inspired Ray of Light album, and never forget who you are. Because when all the music sounds the same, everyone else just might.

Love,
SS
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get if only if you are a true Madonna fan, June 29 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
I have all her CD's & I am a true Madonna fan for the past 20 years!
Sadly, I have to admit that this CD is not that great, I bought it because I get everything from Madonna, but this CD is absolutely not the best. You will enjoy about 4 songs in total!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Sugary Delight..., Aug. 29 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
It may not be Madonna's best album. But it is so fun and catchy I can't help but like it. Its "Confessions On The Dancefloor" promised to (catchy, poppy...). My favorite tracks on the album are Give It 2 Me, She's Not Me and Incredible.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not thrilling., May 6 2008
By 
jazzy modes (Vancouver, Canada.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Madonna has spent a lifetime injecting sex into mainstream pop, and the cover of her new record says it all. Almost unchanged from her "Like a Virgin" imagery, there is the underwear, the big eyes, the hungry mouth. "Look at me," it screams, "I'm nearly 50 but I'm still hot."
The problem with "Hard Candy", though, is that it is one of the least sexy records Madonna has made.
Great music for Madonna has usually been the product of intense, one-on-one relationships with her producer, whether that be Jellybean Benitez, Lenny Kravitz or William Orbit.
Here she has splashed the cash on urban music's A-list producers, from Pharrell Williams to Timbaland, but the chemistry just doesn't work.
The beats are tired and over-familiar: each producer sounds as if he is doing an impression of himself. Nor do any of these boys seem to have the emotional maturity to draw anything deeper out of a woman who must surely have something to say at this point in her life.
Madonna sounds muted and lyrically guarded - sometimes even downright sad and lonely.
Most importantly, Madonna has always understood what makes a body want to move.
Madonna's instinct for a killer tune has pushed producers such as Stuart Price, Mirwais and William Orbit to career peaks. Given time here, "Incredible" and the Kanye West-assisted "Beat Goes On will" scrub up alongside some of her best - especially the latter's nods to Detroit techno at its poppermost.
Justin Timberlake cameos on the new single "4 Minutes" and three other songs, including the immediately excellent "Miles Away" - a collision of acoustic downstrokes and feverishly jaunty rhythm that verges on reggae.
"Heartbeat" and "Dance 2night" try desperately to evoke the joy of the disco, but it's too contrived to get you on your feet, and the whole thing falls flat.
"Hard Candy" is not a bad album.
It's enjoyable, well crafted as all her albums, but not thrilling.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak Effort, June 5 2008
By 
Grover (Edmonton, AB Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
I wish I could say something good about this album but unfortunately it's bitterly disappointing...and this is coming from a long time fan. I've been listening to this CD for the last month thinking that it might grow on me but the longer I own it the harder it is for me to listen past the first four tracks.

Though there are a couple of good tunes like Give It 2 Me and Heartbeat, most tracks on here are mediocre at best - if not down right terrible. Not a single song really stands out. Songs like Incredible and Spanish Lesson will make your ears bleed. The lyrics are just as scary as the album cover...pathetic and uninspiring. It's such a shame that the same artist that gave us 'Ray of Light' would end up releasing such trash.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sugar and Spice, July 25 2008
By 
Jamieson Villeneuve "Author at Large" (Ottawa Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Everyone likes candy right? From the moment it hits your tongue, candy will flood your mouth with many flavours: savoury, tart, tantalizing. You close your eyes and are transported to another world full of sweet delights and sugary pleasure.

Such is the case with Madonna's new album, Hard Candy. As soon as the first note plays, you know you're in for a sensational treat. Mixing R and B with hip hop, pop and some good old 1980's funk, Hard Candy is a flat out amazing musical experience.

After Confessions on a Dance Floor, I was wondering what Madonna's next musical offering would be like. She is constantly reinventing herself to stay ahead and on top in the world of music. Going from electronica (Ray of Light) to electronic country pop (Music) to hard core electronic funk (American Life) to neo-disco pop (Confessions on a Dance Floor), Madonna is constantly changing and evolving.

Many were worried about what Hard Candy would be like when rumours started floating around about an R and B influence. Madonna, who is known to work with influential producers, worked with Justin Timberlake, Timberland, The Neptunes and Nate Hills this time around. Many felt that the album would sub par and I worried that Hard Candy would not be as good as Confessions on a Dance Floor.

I needn't have worried. Hardy Candy is perhaps the most ambitious musical offering that she has ever done. It is also without a doubt her best work to date. Far from being an attempt to harness the urban market, it actually goes beyond the ideals of urban hip-hop and R and B. In true Madonna fashion, she makes the music her own.

Unlike Confessions on a Dance Floor where the songs were somewhat similar and flowed into each other from one to the next, Hard Candy is a musical candy box full of different delights and startling treats. Each song on the album has a different flavour, a different sound but somehow manages to work well; each song plays off the other songs and, collected together, give us a sticky and sweet musical tapestry.

What I love most about Hard Candy is its message: get up and dance. The theme runs through out the album but is especially notable on Give it 2 Me, Beat Goes On, Spanish Lesson, Heartbeat and Dance 2Night. There are no political or personal agendas here; instead, we are given twelve tracks that will make you want to get out on the dance floor and strut your stuff.

There are tons of musical surprises on Hard Candy. Just when you think a song will go one way, it veers off into an unexpected yet wonderful direction. Give it 2 Me breaks down into a wonderful and catchy beat box chorus. Spanish Lesson starts off with soft Spanish guitar and a wonderfully catchy tune but veers into a hypnotic chorus where we're told to do our homework and get up on the dance floor. Voices, the last song on the album, starts off slowly, almost sensually and then veers into a sexy electronic funk that makes you sit up and take notice. Surprise after surprise makes this Madonna's most fantastic album yet.

The dancing theme plays through out the album but the song that best describes what Hard Candy is all about is the track Dance 2night: Do it, do it/Let me turn you on/Let the music pull you through it/Till the break of dawn/Do it, do it/While the night is young/Let the music pull you through it/Till the lights go on.

With those lyrics, and indeed the lyrics of all twelve songs on Hard Candy, you can't help but listen to Madonna's message: get up and dance. Hard Candy is hypnotic as Madonna pulls us through her music and helps us give into the beat.

Hard Candy is Madonna at her best and most creative. It's also one of the best albums this year. One thing is for sure: with Madonna as our musical muse, we'll be dancing for years to come.
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