Album Review: Madonna "Hard Candy"

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ArjanWrites.com guest blogger Marc Andrews was invited to an exclusive listening session at Warner Music in Sydney on Friday to hear Madonna's entire new album "Hard Candy." He wrote up a review of the entertainer's much anticipated new album exclusively for ArjanWrites.com. A big thanks to Marc for sharing his candid thoughts about the album. "It’s a bit like sticking your hand blindly into the candy jar and coming up with trick after trick when you keep hoping for a treat," he writes about part of the album. Read on for the entire review.

Invariably expectations for a new Madonna album are always high. More often than not they’ve been judiciously met and quite often surpassed (2003’s "American Life" notwithstanding). 1989’s still radiant "Like A Prayer" finally won over the rock media and nearly a decade later Ray of Light grabbed back a legion of lapsed Madonna admirers, caught up in the intervening downward spiral of Sex, musicals and bad movies.

Now a decade on from that Grammy-winning triumph and Madonna is due another pop-time-capsule-of-an-album. With 2005’s glossy disco-esque "Confessions On A Dance Floor" she cannily plundered the best of the '70s to arrive at something whose unrelenting shimmery beats and dazzling euro-dance hooks rivalled her first two early 80s albums, "Madonna" and "Like A Virgin." It sold well all around the world, with the exception of her birth-home, the US of A.

That’s why her new album, "Hard Candy," released later this month, is so very clearly targeted at righting that regretful wrong and putting Madonna back on top of the pop charts and radio formats from Hollywood to Houston and all stops in between.

In Madonna’s now 25-year, Hall of Fame-awarded, recording career, the album that "Hard Candy" most resembles in context is 1994’s "Bedtime Story." That was Madonna’s sticky valentine to the hot black producers of the time after 1992’s icy house-brewed "Erotica" left her high and, well, dry. This time round though, there’s no trace of Babyface (producer of Bedtime’s 1995’s US #1 "Take A Bow"), or Dallas Austin (Bedtime’s underrated lead single Secret), but in their place Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and posse.

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