The press from all over the world is having an advance taste of Madonna’s “Hard Candy” these days and they have been filled with information, teasers and exclusive previews over the past few months. So here’s what the Tribers are already familiar with, along with some more info. On the basis of the five tracks we heard, it sounds exactly like you’d expect a collaboration between Madonna and such super-producers as Timbaland and The Neptunes to sound: a slick, ultra-modern urban dance concoction. As has become customary for a Madonna album, it will be launched with a terrific lead-off single in the shape of 4 Minutes. “…His tracks for Hard Candy are crazy, I couldn’t fuck around, I had to come with it…” Williams says with a laugh. It’s a 8:5 split album with The Neptunes getting 8 and Timbaland & Co. getting 5 tracks.
Madonna – Hard Candy (2008) (April 29th)
01 – Candy Store feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
02 – 4 Minutes feat. Justin Timberlake & (Timbaland)
03 – Give It 2 Me feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
04 – Heartbeat (Neptunes)
05 – Miles Away (Timbaland)
06 – She’s Not Me (Neptunes)
07 – Incredible (Neptunes)
08 – Beat Goes On feat. Kanye West (Neptunes)
09 – Dance Tonight (Timbaland)
10 – Spanish Lesson (Neptunes)
11 – Devil (Timbaland)
12 – Voices (Timbaland)
13 – Ring My Bell (Neptunes) (Japan Bonus Track)
– Let Me Do It feat. Pharrell
– Still Doin’ It
– The Beat Goes On feat. Pharrell (1st Version)
– Candy Shop feat. Pharrell (1st Version)
4 Minutes feat. Justin Timberlake (Timbaland)
Produced by Timbaland and co-written with Madonna by Justin Timberlake, who also pops up on guest vocals, 4 Minutes rides the same sort of spare, sinuous groove as Timberlake’s SexyBack single. Here, rather than proclaiming to return sexy to the global arena, Timberlake intones “Madonna, Madonna” over a pumping opening beat, before the pair join forces to suggest they have but “Four minutes to save the world”. Naturally, the track clocks in at precisely four minutes. While in other tracks of the album Justin can be heard on backing vocals, 4 Minutes is actually a duet as in this song’s verse Madonna and Justin basically sing one line each or better answer one to another on a back and forth basis.
Give It 2 Me feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
Elsewhere, Give It To Me, which features Pharrell Williams, is a typical slice of Madonna dancefloor pop, its sashaying groove given a smart upgrade by The Neptunes production team. A very catchy uptempo track that reminds of early Madonna tracks such as “Love On The Run“. Fans who were worried that this album would be too hip-hop were happy to learn that it’s very 80’s in its structure and it’s pure Madonna. The “Give It 2 Me” phrase has nothing to do with a supposed “Sexual Content” as rumoured on a few Madonna forums, but it’s said in the sense of “I’ll handle the situation for you”. Pharrell’s also singing backing vocals on part of the second verse and Madonna reprises a couple of lyrics from “The Beat Goes On”. The break is very strange, the song basically stops suddenly while Madonna says “Don’t Stop It” the male voice says “to the left, to the right”. This song is currently considered as The Second Single Release.
The album’s 4th track, is the first moment of quiet after a three track sequence of dance stompers. Not exactly slow but rather paced down, the song is another production by The Neptunes, who can be heard on the track with whispers and brief interstitials, while Madonna sings the lead voice in the verse and the backing vocals as well in the chorus. The “see my booty get down” part is already set to be a hook.
Miles Away feat. Justin Timberlake (Timbaland)
Another Timbaland/Timberlake production, that some consider the best of the whole bunch. A hit written all over it and classic Madonna. Full of acoustic guitars, beautiful uptempo, the song structure may recall “Love Profusion” but it’s much better. A bit of sadness in the lyrics, talking about a relationship that is at its best when the two lovers are thousands miles apart.
She’s Not Me (Neptunes)
A unique song, possibly the best of the album, certainly Madonna at her best. “Better to listen to it rather to talk about it. You could even say it’s two songs in one, and you’ll figure out why when the record hits the stores”, we’ve been told.
A recent addiction to the final album tracklisting, Incredible is a rather different song – the longest in the album, running over six minutes. Starts as a bare-naked track and reportedly goes on between a series of breaks ending up being quite dense and somehow loud and noisy.
Beat Goes On feat. Kanye West (Neptunes)
Somehow the second track from the Pharrell recording sessions that leaked on the net on Summer 2007 did not make the album cut as the “new” Beat Goes On is a completely different song, and sounds nothing like the version some of you might have heard. It is much faster, a classic dance track and one of the strongest takes on the record, and it does even feature a special guest (Louis Vuitton Don). While Madonna was putting the finishing touches to her new albumart RecordPlant studios in Los Angeles, Kanye West was working on the new Michael Jackson record. Pharrell invited Kanye in the room and Madonna came up with an idea for Kanye to rap on one of her songs on the spot and thanks to this Beat Goes On got a very catchy rap insert courtesy of “Mr. West” towards the end.
Dance Tonight (Timbaland)
A song that sounds like the funkiest song of the lot. You could say it’s a dance track from the beginning to the end. There’s dance in the title, dance in the theme, dance in the lyrics, and dance in the instrumentation. It has a captivating late 70’s – early 80’s disco sound – fingered bass, claps, triangle – recalling songs that made the history of dance as we know it and groups like Kool & The Gang, Skyy, Delegation, even a bit of the early Michael Jackson and huge references to the signature sound of Narada Michael Walden and to the origins of disco-rappping.
Spanish Lesson (Neptunes)
Many years after recording “Who’s That Girl” and the full Spanish versions of her hits “You’ll See” (Veras) and “What It Feels Like For A Girl” (Lo que Siente La Mujer), Madonna is digging back her love for Latin culture as she will be singing again phrases in Spanish in one of her new songs. In this track the Queen Of Pop is going to give Spanish Lessons, explaining the English meaning of Spanish phrases such as “te quiero” (I Love you), “callate” (shut up), “besame” (kiss me), and many more. Spanish guitars are of course also present in the song, produced by The Neptunes with a nice urban feel.
Also known as “Even The Devil Wouldn’t Recognise You” this amazing ballad will instantly remind you of Justin’s “Cry Me A River” but also of Madonna’s “Power Of Good-Bye” and will instanly hook you up. “Oh, and remember to have your umbrellas ready”, we’ve also been told.
Voices feat. Justin Timberlake (Timbaland)
Produced by Timbaland and Timberlake, and featuring a strings pad that goes along the entire song making the verse and the awesome chorus flow seamlessly. Simply, the perfect song to end the album. Or maybe not…