vendredi 25 avril 2008

Madonna’s new album : Hard Candy

When I first heard of Madonna's new collaborations for her eleventh studio album, I went depressed... Working with Timbaland, Neptunes & Justin Timberlake was for sure a complete turnback on the light disco pop dance sounds of her previous wonderful Confessions on the dancefloor.

So when I first heard 4 Minutes, the single produced by (& featuring) Timberland & Justin Timberlake, I was releaved a little to think it wasn't tooo bad and, after a couple more listens, even poppy enough to become enjoyable to my ears. So I decided I was going to give her forthcoming album a chance before writing it off my list and today is the day of its release ; here is my review :

1/ Candy Shop 5/10
First a song composed with Pharrell Williams & produced with The Neptunes that si starting with some acoustic urban rhythms and grows up to some repetitive electroR&B that makes me fear it's gonna be a journey into disappointment with a capital D.

2/ 4 Minutes 9/10
I said it previously, I'm now hooked by this single and even Timbaland irritating trademarks melt well in there with Madonna & Justin's voices, verses & chorus, the alchemy is good and the Chorus is enlightened by Justin's vocals up Madonna's lower ones.

3/ Give it 2 me 8/10
Once more (and like 2/3 of the album) some Neptunes collaboration but the intro takes me out of R&B territories and into what could be called modern disco funk. The verses' music is seducing and the chorus works very well. A sure-to-be-a-single song that even already has some Paul Oakenfold remix to help me believe in its potential charts fate. Only the "get stupid" WAY TOO long bridge is to be edited from the radio version because it sounds awful! And that is sure to happen as the album version clocks in at 4'48 so it is too long a standard length to hit radios.

4/ Heartbeat 7/10
Madonna (and the Neptunes?) must have listened to Annie and all electro disco songstresses a little 'cos by bits I can hear this being inspired by Annie's Heartbeat hit (that sampled Madonna...) but sometimes it goes back into electro R&B and I would have bet on a Timbaland production to be wrong as it is not.

5/ Miles Away 9/10
Acoustic rhythm guitar to start this enw song, then beats & Timbaland gimmicks to build up some more acoustic than electric walls for this Madonna pure jewel. When the chorus comes in, you think back of Madonna's inspirational Ray of Light songs without the technoïd sounds ; a BEAUTIFUL song that I hope is gonna be released as a single too!

6/ She's Not Me 7/10
Discofunky bass & claps introduce us to this new Neptunes song. A cute one really, addictive but too long (6'05) to hit me really in my heart. The chorus though gets stuck in your brain with only one listen so maybe edited? This one screams to be remixed. Madonna must be in the know as she says in the middle of the song "I know I can do it better"...

7/ Incredible 4/10
Madonna goes all garage on this one !? The start of the songs makes me feel like it could be but it becomes less present after the vocal melody starts but when it is all over, I only have one word : BORING!

8/ Beat Goes On 8/10
This song leaked way before the album but it has been remixed to get included here, with some harmonic featuring by Pharrell Williams & a rap by Kanye West. The songs has gained some depth and lights, with some phat beat & cristal sounds all over it. This one has got single potential too.

9/ Dance 2night 8/10
A raw & funky intro with some spoken words by la Madonne before some She's not me sound-a-like (but this time by Timbaland & Timberlake), with nice bridge & chorus, for another modern discofunk flavoured R&B number.

10/ Spanish Lesson 0/10
Spanish flamenco guitars mixed with chaotic R&B beats, spanish & english melting into some awful crap. SKIP!

11/ Devil Wouldn't Recognize You 9/10
Dear Jessie, Part 2! The intro of the song, all acoustic on piano makes you think you're gonna get your dose of childish ballad but then comes a reverbering synthé beat and Madonna's verses then chorus, taking you away with her into some psychedelic dream. Another Timbaland & Timberlake good moment... It's hard for me to admit it!

12/ Voices 8/10
"Who is the master? Who is the slave" Justin sings in introduction to this last song, with some repetitive beats but some arabic/indian flavour. That question sums it up really. Who was I to think Madonna wanted to sound like every other Timbaland produced act? Her touch is present on every single song here. Some (a few) are wasted but most of them are a success. Her collaboration with both R&B teams have made her go once more into a new direction, but still in Madonna's world. At less than 4', this last song sounds too short for this album and that's unbelievable for me to say this, for I am the one who likes my pop music to be 3' to 4' maxi long!

13/ Ring My Bell (iTunes/Japanese Bonus) 8/10
It's a shame record companies play with us fans with those bonus tracks. Why waste a good track for bonus when there still was some place for it on the CD? That sure doesn't help to sell physical CDs anymore. Gettin' it all on downloads is cheaper and more complete... This track, not an Anita Ward cover, is another disco clappin' inspired R&B anthem, less appealing than previous two but nice enough to become addictive with two listens as its chorus is really appealing.

With an overall note of 6.9/10, this new album cannot be a one I pass on like I thought it could be : as I already own all Madonna's albums... my collection is still complete!
You know what you should do too for sure...