Madonna - Hard Candy
While acts much younger than her construct entire careers around trading on former glories, Madonna clearly doesn’t give two figs for nostalgia. Eleven albums on and pop’s most famous magpie and queen of reinvention is as sonically ambitious as ever, and – even more impressively – she can still get excellent results.
Hard Candy may include further examples of her oft-derided lyrical clangers and detached vocals, but despite these predictable shortfalls it features some of the finest tracks the singer has ever penned. The shifting of the musical paradigm back to a more US-friendly, urban pop feel may be a self-conscious effort to regain a foothold in American markets, but who cares when it sounds this good? Stateside crowds will adore the Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland collaborations, which sit neatly alongside some shimmering electronica-tinged ballads and pulsing disco stompers for the rest of us to sink our teeth into.
But it’s when she explores her by-now-trademark theme of woman-scorned-turned-strong on songs like ‘She’s Not Me’, ‘Incredible’, ‘Voices’ and ‘Devil Wouldn’t Recognise You’ that Madonna really triumphs. The pop world can be so pedestrian at times, so it’s inspiring to see a superstar of such iconic status still intent on ruffling a few feathers.