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225 of 265 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of flavor, though a bit bittersweet
SUMMARY: Madonna's final album for Warner Brothers is by no means her best, but it's a fitting swan song for the artist who anchored the label for the past quarter-century. A lot of the reviews for this album are missing the mark, either overzealous in its defense, or obtusely critical in the hope of shining the spotlight on another artist. 'Hard Candy' is a mixed bag...
Published on April 30, 2008 by Hippolytos

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mediocre
while i have not liked the lead single, 4 minutes, at all...i was surprised when i gave the CD a complete listen. there's a lot of filler here, but lemme tell you: this CD isn't all bad. filler tracks in my eyes include: candy shop, 4 minutes, she's not me, incredible, dance 2night. the album's high point is the final two tracks: Devil Wouldn't Recognize You and Voices...
Published on June 17, 2008 by Hilda Pomroy


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225 of 265 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of flavor, though a bit bittersweet, April 30, 2008
By 
Hippolytos (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
SUMMARY: Madonna's final album for Warner Brothers is by no means her best, but it's a fitting swan song for the artist who anchored the label for the past quarter-century. A lot of the reviews for this album are missing the mark, either overzealous in its defense, or obtusely critical in the hope of shining the spotlight on another artist. 'Hard Candy' is a mixed bag of true gems and questionable choices, but it's quintessentially Madonna.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: When Madonna hits the mark, no one does it better, and even her detractors would be hard-pressed to name another artist of her caliber. Despite what others have said, no two Madonna albums are the same, which is why she has remained one of the most relevant artists in the past twenty-five years. While a few of the songs here are reminiscent of earlier works (in a good way), they're also very much current and a part of her ever-evolving musicality. 'Hard Candy' is thus at once an homage and a contemporary statement. There's no shortage of danceable material here, and few artists are willing to take the chances in which Madonna revels.

WHY YOU WON'T: Several of the tracks are overproduced, and Madonna's vocals are all but lost in their delivery. Noticeably absent is the vocal maturation she has consistently displayed since Evita. Her voice is high and thin - as it was in the early days, and which is unfortunately drawing comparisons to Britney Spears (who really is nothing more but a poorly-conceived clone) - but she mostly makes it work for these tracks. 'Candy Shop' is truly an abysmal song, despite its irony, and was a poor choice to open the album. The less said about '4 Minutes', the better, but don't make the mistake of judging the entire CD by its lead single - the whole of 'Hard Candy' has a distinctly different flavor than this disposable track.

BOTTOM LINE: Madonna is not interested in repeating herself, so fans who are expecting 'Confessions II' will be vastly disappointed. Many are proclaiming that Madonna is simply reproducing the recent efforts of the bevy of pop songstresses (Mariah, Britney, Christina, Nelly, Gwen, etc.) currently populating the landscape. Not true. She was here long before them and, in the cases of many of them, will be here long after they fade away; it is they who owe a debt to her. Those who understand Madonna, however, and who get her sense of humor, her irony, her deliberateness, and who know enough to look beneath the deceptively simple lyrics, will be pleased to add this to their collection. Standout tracks include 'Heartbeat' (which should be the next single), 'Miles Away', 'She's Not Me', and 'Devil Wouldn't Recognize You'.
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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madonnas new album Hard Candy is sweet music but no Ray of Light!, April 29, 2008
By 
Porfie "Porfie Jr. Medina" (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Madonna brings us her latest album Hard Candy and it does not disappoint. The album is full of dance club hits with a splash of r and b mixed in. This is another good album from the biggest selling and Most Successful Female Recording Artist In History. I meant to give this album 4 out of 5 stars but I can not change it. If you are expecting a genius record like Ray of Light, Music, Confessions, or American Life (yes that was a great NOT political album at all) you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for fun care free music you will really enjoy this.

CANDY SHOP is a great song to start off the album. The song is a very energetic song that is similar to the version that was leaked months ago, but this one has more beats and layers added to it. She seems to be having a blast singing this and brings back lots sexual innuendos for this song. Madonna sings "All the suckers are not all we sell in the store. Chocolate kisses so good you'll be beggin' for more. Don't pretend you're not hungry I've got plenty to eat. Come on in to my store cause my sugar is sweet!" This is a great song that will get you in the mood for the dance club or for working out at the gym. I do wish the album would have opened with a stronger song though because this one is a bit weak for an opening song.

4 MINUTES was the first single from Madonna's Hard Candy album. The song is a very energetic radio friendly track that stays in your head. After being ignored by U.S. radio stations with her last 2 albums American Life, and Confessions on A Dance Floor, Madonna decided to take a different direction and work with hit makers Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. The result forced radio to no longer ignore Madonna and 4 Minutes became her most radio friendly hit in years. Madonna sings "I want somebody to speed it up for me then take it down slow there's enough room for both." The song peaked at 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Madonna's 37th top ten hit pushing her past Elvis Presley as the artist with the most top 10 hits in history. 4 Minutes hit 1 on the Hot 100 Digital Song charts and is expected to bring her total sales for the single to over 1 million in just 5 weeks out it being out.

GIVE IT TO ME is the next single to be released. The song also has a catchy beat that will sure get the dance floor crowd going. Once the chorus starts the club feel kicks in with the synths and Madonna sings "Give it to me, Yeah No one's gonna show me how. Give it to me, Yeah No one's gonna stop me now." This is a great choice as the second single and shows Madonna still can come out with one heck of a killer dance tune! The remix that is on the Hard Candy Deluxe edition from Itunes is a great remix, and makes me wish believe the remixes of some of these songs might just outshine their originals.

HEARTBEAT is one of my many favorite tracks on the new album. The song opens with a heartbeat sound and some synths, and has an amazing beat. The song has a great r and b/dance feel to it and is sure to heat up the charts and the clubs. Madonna sings "This complicated life I try to do my best. I always tell myself it's all just a test. For me it's an escape cause dancing makes you beautiful." Heartbeat is classic Madonna in top form and one of the best songs on the album! I wish Madonna would have stayed more in tune with songs like this on the new album.

MILES AWAY is the closet thing to a ballad on the album. It starts out with a guitar and then turns in to an upbeat song with some sad lyrics in which Madonna sings "When no one's around then I have you here. I begin to see the picture, it becomes so clear. You always have the biggest heart, when we're six thousand miles apart." This is one a beautiful slow songs Madonna, but lacks the power of her true ballads.

SHE'S NOT ME has a funky beat to it in which Madonna describes is about the ultimate jilted lover. Madonna sings "She started dying her hair and wearing the same perfume as me. She's started reading my books and stealing my looks and lingerie." This Madonna song brings us back to those Thief of Hearts Erotica days.

INCREDIBLE is another great song that I really dig. It has a very positive message and an amazing rhythm. Madonna sings "Remembering the very first time you caught that some ones' specials eye. And all of your care dropped, and all of the world just stopped." The song takes a interesting turn at the 3 minutes and 53 second mark when the synths once again kick in and the song gets a little more dancy. I think if the song jumps around a bit too much, and if it would have stayed more consistent or been shortened by a minute or two it would have made the song that much better.

THE BEAT GOES ON is a much better version than the song that was leaked a few months ago. This is a groovy song that seems to have a Marvin gay feel to it. Kanye West makes a special rap cameo on this track and it surprisingly works really well. Madonna sings "You don't have the luxury of time you've got to say what's on your mind. Your head lost in the stars, you'll never go far it's time for you to read the signs." This is another song I ended up enjoying even though it has a rap sequence in it.

DANCE 2NIGHT is a mellow song with a funky 80's retro beat to it is which Madonna once again sings with Justin Timberlake. Madonna sings "You don't have to be beautiful to be understood. You don't have to be rich and famous to be good. You just gotta give more more more than you ever have before." When the song reaches the 4 minute and 22 second mark it sounds like something off of Justin Timberlake's last album. Good song but something seems to be missing and it just seems to be a bit too bland for what we have come to expect from Madonna.

SPANISH LESSON has a very urban tribal beat to it. To me this is the albums weakest song and my least favorite song on the album. The beat is very interesting to say the least but the silly lyrics and the beat just don't seem to do it for me. Madonna sings "If you do your homework maybe I will give you more. When you do your homework get up on the dance floor." I think this song takes away from the quality of the album, and wish there would have been a better song put in its place.

THE DEVIL WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE YOU is a song a lover who can fool everyone but their partner. The song has samples of thunderstorms and rain that add to the very dramatic beat of the song. Madonna sings "Waiting underneath the stars there's something you should know. The angels they surround my heart telling me to let you go." This is a song that takes close listening to the lyrics to really appreciate this gem. The song sounds very similar to Justin Timberlakes "Cry Me a River."

VOICES is a slow song about a person who seems to enjoy playing with others emotions. Very nice beat with Madonna singing in a monotone sort of voice. Madonna sings "First you say you love me. Then you wanna leave me. Then you say you're sorry you play the game so well. I bought your illusion you're the greatest salesman. How could I refuse you when you sold it to yourself?" To me this is one of the weaker songs on the album and one of my least favorites.

The album is very good, but it is no Ray of Light. By no means is this a bad album, but she has had better ones. After listening to it just seems like Madonna's voice is all over the place. I know the girl can sing, (think Ray of Light, Express Yourself, You'll See) but it seems like here her voice is not showcased to the best of its abilities, and comes across at times as very teeny bopper and a just plain weak. I love Madonna and really wanted to give the album five stars, but in all fairness she has done better albums and I expected more from her. I will say it's hard to believe Madonna has been with us forever changing and evolving for over 25 years. Very few artists have had the staying power this woman has had. It is nice to see someone who has not become a victim of celebrity, but a true survivor who leads a clean life and is one heck of a business woman. Even as she approaches 50 she still teaches us all that it's never too late to become a better version of yourself!!!
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come Into Her Store, She's Got Candy Galore, April 29, 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
"When the lights go down and there's no one left I can go on and on and on" chants Madonna three tracks into her new LP "Hard Candy," and with the Queen of Pop staring down her 7th stateside chart-topping album such a claim is more than justified. The living definition of pop music chameleon, she indeed offers a delicious array of confections precision-tooled to hit a listener's sweet tooth. There is some padding, and no obvious follow-up single exists for mega-hit "4 Minutes," but this does the album no disservice. Madonna manages to acknowledge her past and keep things contemporary all the while avoiding pretense or retreads, making for a wholly interesting recording.

Collaborating with the likes of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake has caused some to question whether Madonna is taking the easiest possible route to continued pop success, but the most obvious - and fortunate - thing about "Hard Candy" is that it is wall-to-wall Madonna both in songwriting and atmosphere. Rather than grafting herself on to their winning production values she ingeniusly uses them to amplify her material. The result is an album plum full of dancefloor-ready anthems and a smattering of low-key ballads that manage to be mainstream yet cutting edge.

Sizzling club thumpers like the suave "Dance 2night" and ultra-addictive "Give It 2 Me," for example, recall the awesome, frenetic energy of 2005's "Confessions On a Dancefloor" but would still sound at home on Top 40 radio. Elsewhere, the bittersweet "Miles Away" has one of the most poignant, endearing hooks of any ballad in Madonna's lengthy catalogue.

Opening the floodgates of engrossing, colorful melodies is "Incredible" with its incessant, yearning energy. "Beat Goes On" featuring Kanye West packs similar zest, and "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" percolates with raw sexual energy, icy snyths and a frothy, guitar-laden melody.

The sexy, slinky "Heartbeat" with its mercurial melody and awesome vocals is destined for radio waves, and "She's Not Me," despite being over-long and not quite finding its hook, contains one of Madonna's most intriguingly self-referential lines. Comparing another woman to "the flavor of the month," she makes her declaration:

"She's not me/She doesn't have my name/She'll never have what I have/It won't be the same."

Indeed, pop stars come and go by the dozen, but through it all there is only one Madonna.

Through two and a half decades' worth of trends, fads and fashions Madonna has rarely lost her footing and always come back roaring, and "Hard Candy" reveals her inner lioness in a way that is not only totally late 2000's but totally listenable. She re-defined musical boundaries not only for women but pop artists in general for many reasons, and artistic stagnation is not one of them. This is definitely a "Candy Shop" worth many return visits.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mediocre, June 17, 2008
By 
Hilda Pomroy (San Antonio, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
while i have not liked the lead single, 4 minutes, at all...i was surprised when i gave the CD a complete listen. there's a lot of filler here, but lemme tell you: this CD isn't all bad. filler tracks in my eyes include: candy shop, 4 minutes, she's not me, incredible, dance 2night. the album's high point is the final two tracks: Devil Wouldn't Recognize You and Voices. both have an ethereal atmosphere to them; though Voices' lyrics are a little on the disturbing side.

"Voices start to ring in your head
Tell me, what do they say?
Distant echoes from another time start to creep in your brain
So you claim madness like it's convenient
You do it so often that you start to believe it
You have demons so nobody can blame you
But who is the master, and who is the slave?"

Voices however does show depth to madonna's songwriting, and proves that she CAN write music. Miles Away is a love it or hate it song, madonna's vocals though average in it is surprisingly pleasing and addicting. also, ignore the CD album cover. it's not a good representation of the music. neither is the title. Hard Candy is an ok CD, it isn't by no means perfect but don't let the mediocre 4 minutes fool you, there's much better waiting on the CD. the price was worth it for me.

album highlights:
Miles Away
Devil Wouldn't Recognize You
Voices
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MADONNA 4 PRESIDENT, April 29, 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
In a career that spans the course of 3 decades, countless number one singles, 6 world tours, over 2 dozen motion pictures, more than 60 music videos, 21 full-length records, dozens of books, 3 long-running stage productions, multiple lovers, 2 marriages, millions and millions of fans from as far as the eye can see, tens of thousands of magazine covers, and more than half a ton of bleach, not to mention truckloads of conical braziers, gold teeth, rosaries, lacy bustiers, crucifixes, bolero jackets, oversized hoop-earnings, navy blue berets, cowboy hats, henna tattoo, Louis Vuitton Murakami bags, custom-made Hermès wrap-around sunglasses and in her newest incarnation ~ Black Chanel Boxing Gloves...Is it any wonder that the Maven who invented the word WANNABE, who is everyone's favorite High-Holy Priestess of Re-Invention...is The Most Celebrated Person on the Globe...?

Queen Madonna never does anything that is less than flawless, nor does she ever do anything that is less than a complete and total ostentatious exhibition. HARD CANDY is certainly no exception to the rule because it's a spectacle! Like a really huge bulging...jawbreaker, Madonna's newest CD is a sugary mouthful that's always hard and ready and still very delicate and soft to the touch! At first, it may appear tart, but the more you play with it, the sweeter it tastes! All you need are a few Altoids and maybe a Malrboro for afterwards. ...On this CD Madonna gets down like never before, as she sings about what she loves, loathes and lusts.

What's wrong with not leaving anything to the imagination? As far as I'm concerned: Absolutely Nothing. With her huge oblong-shaped golden championship belt and her legs spread apart and her mouth partially open, this innocent bystander fantasizes that this pulchritudinous purrer would jump out and spring to life. The New Madonna (my goodness, if I got a buck every time someone referred to Madonna as "the new Madonna" I'd be a very rich person) is almost uncontrolled and maybe even vulgar in her initial appearance; but the more I gaze at the pictures inside "Hard Candy," the more I see my muse. This is such a youthful and energetic Madonna who's just beginning to explode and boil over with severe sensuality. ...You know, there's an ugly rumor going around about Madonna (we all know that the poor thing has been called everything in the book and has been accused of sleeping with every warm body on the planet,) this time they're claiming she's 49. Can that really be true? It can't be, because she doesn't look a day over 29.

On this 12-track studio-album, her final studio CD from Warner Music (note to self: there will be a greatest hits CD out at the end of the year!), Madonna includes her worldwide hit, 4 Minutes! 4 MINUTES is Madonna's singing-anthem with her new BFF, Justin Timberlake; they both sing about how they'd like to save us all. And if that's not enough, last moth, Madonna made headlines around the world when she proclaimed that she wanted to "save Britney!" It's not easy, but if anyone can do it I'm sure it's Madonna. "4 Minutes" is a quick track that is very easy to listen to (it's no wonder Z-100 plays her lead-single every hour and every day!) The single has already reached number one in more than a dozen countries around the world, it's just a matter of time for it to top the Billboard Charts in the US. Everyone, please stand by while Madonna takes off, straight to the top of the pops.

Madonna opens the CD singing: I'll be your one stop (one stop) Candy Shop... This song reminds me of an intricate illusion because it is so magical. Actually, Madonna's entire CD is talismanic because as usual she is courageously treading new waters for the very first time; without blinking once! Some of the other stand-alone tracks on this CD are: "Miles Away," "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" and "Give It 2 Me." Just like all the other songs on this CD, these are the types of tracks you would expect to hear at your favorite club, on MTV or even coming out of someone's hooked-up fire-engine red Mustang as they come rolling by. Because these songs totally have such a universal message that draws you and I in, while appealing to everyone else in between.

HARD CANDY TRACKS
1) CANDY SHOP - 4:15 (produced by: Madonna & Pharrell Williams)
This song reminds me of Madonna's hugely successful single "Hung Up." But in "Candy Shop" Madonna uses the sounds of synths and electronic equipment, her lyrics are both strong and funny. As usual Madonna is often using innuendo as she sings "Don't pretend you're not hungry, there's plenty to eat..."

2) 4 MINUTES - 4:04 (produced by: Madonna, Timothy Mosley, Nate Hills & Justin Timberlake)
(featuring Justin Timberlake)
This is one of my very favorite songs on the CD for all the same reasons why the entire world loves it. 4 Minutes is fast and beautiful and breathtaking. Madonna's theme de jour on this track is love and s-e-x! This song totally sounds futuristic; I wouldn't be surprised if my grandbabies listened to this song.

3) GIVE IT 2 ME - 4:47 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
Both Warner Bros. and Madonna are very interested in using this song as the 2nd single for "Hard Candy," because it helps bridge the gap between Madonna's older sound and newer sound. On this track, Madonna's pure bubblegum pop as she sings "if you can handle it, undress me..."

4) HEARTBEAT - 4:03 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
This is such a fantastic studio album track because it has the potential to be a number 1 single. It has such a catchy hook but it's not one that will knock you out too soon.

5) MILES AWAY - 4:48 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hills & Timberlake)
It's ethereal, mid tempo and guitar-heavy. It has that fabulous hand clapping bit during the middle which reminds everyone that Madonna's an original who sets her own rules.

6) SHE'S NOT ME - 6:04 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
OMG so much like "Thief of Hearts." Madonna sings about someone who's obsessed with her and who dresses like her, but there can only be one Madonna!

7) INCREDIBLE - 6:19 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
A ravishing slow ballad which reminds me of what Madonna said in her "Something to Remember" CD, "it's about the music & it's always been about the music."

8) BEAT GOES ON - 4:26 (produced by: Madonna, Kanye West & Williams )
(featuring Kanye)
This song has come a long way since it was first leaked to the net, last summer. Fans will appreciate the album track much more because it's totally reminiscent of New York's underground disco life of the 70's and early 80's that Madonna was so much a part of. Kanye is such a superior singer, producer, entertainer who both compliments and adds to something already perfect!

9) DANCE 2NITE - 5:03 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hannon Lane & Timberlake)
Madonna has totally retrogressed to her "you can dance" days with this record because it's totally hedonistic and pleasurable and danceable. Although it does have somewhat of a dark feel to it.

10) SPANISH LESSON - 3:37 (produced by: Madonna, Williams)
Madonna opens the song with, "Yo te quiero means I love you." This is a fast-moving Spanish/English track. As Madonna's fans know already know, she has a passion and a talent for sining in Spanish.

11) DEVIL WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE YOU - 5:09 (produced by: Madonna, Joe Henry, Mosley, Hills & Timberlake)
Madonna purrs "Over and over you're pushing me onto the floor and I keep coming back for more" in her sexy sweet-sounding melody that is all too familiar by now. This song isn't exactly a ballad but it does have a somewhat somber tone, as it opens.

12) VOICES - 3:39 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hills, Lane, Timberlake)
This is perhaps Madonna's most out-there track. She saved the most unique and personal song for the end, with lyrics like "Are you walking the dog or is that dog walking you.

These 2 remixes are included on the Special Edition: 4 Minutes ~ Tracy Young House Mix Edit & 4 Minutes ~ Rebirth Anthem Mix Edit...! And, RING MY BELL - 3:54 ~ is included on the Japanese CD.

These songs all fit together precisely and have such an urban-retro sound that's almost coercive; this reviewer wouldn't be surprised if Madonna took up cage fighting in her next video. Even though Madonna worked with a slew of optimal producers, "Hard Candy" still has a very raw feeling that is almost reminiscent of Erotica, because there's such a dark sonance to it. But like Ray of Light this CD does offer some hope of a new beginning as well, because of its sleek sound that's polished, edgy and very fast-moving. Of course if you go to your local record store (do they still call 'em record stores?) you'd find this CD in the pop section because that's just what Madonna's been for all these years; popular. However, on "Hard Candy" she mixes just a touch of disco, R&B, hip hop, hard rock and maybe even a dash of Catholic Guilt for good measure!

Always the tireless perfectionist, Madonna would never stop until she amassed a complete and total masterpiece. Compared to her last CD, 05's blockbuster Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna really had an abundance more to get off of her music-loving chest on "Hard Candy." This is a dance record, but more than that, it's an inner-reflection to the catalyst's heart. When asked about the differences between these 2 CD's recently, Madonna said: On "Confessions," which I wrote all the lyrics to, I wanted to stay away from anything serious... and with this one I wanted to dig deeper and go to a different place. For me, it's a true collaboration, intellectually and artistically.

Here she comes, are you ready for her? To Kick off "Hard Candy" Madonna will be performing some of her latest, greatest hits at Roseland, tomorrow, for a special invitation-only concert; for only her luckiest fans. The Roseland concert will be streamed on MSN, and she'll also be performing at 2 other special events in London and Paris. If you miss her don't worry though because Madonna plans to kick off her Hard Candy World Tour at London's Wembley Stadium next September. Hello...Gorgeous. Ester is Back...! ..Music stores like the Virgin Megastore in NY, London and LA are giving away free gifts to celebrate the release of "Hard Candy." And, there's a ton of stuff for "4 Minutes" as it was simultaneously released around the world, at the same time as HARD CANDY! There are about a trillion different CDs, records and lots of other promotional items in commemoration of "Hard Candy." Here are just some of the merch you could expect to see from everyone's favorite Goddess of S-E-X:

Hard Candy Special Edition CD w/ Candy Box: Besides, the standard album, as well as all of the singles & remix CDs for "4 Minutes", there's also an awesome limited edition CD for the full-length album. Warner Music has faithfully released limited edition CDs since "Ray of Light" (prior to that, they only did it intermittently in certain countries or only on a promotional basis,) and the one for HARD CANDY is the very best! I'm crazy about this because it is so unique and well put together and it actually includes extra pictures and that cool little candy box! Also, the new limited edition CD is finally priced at sell-through prices (in the past they would always be at least thirty five or higher) and it's finally offered up quickly at the same time as the regular CD is offered! ...This also includes 2 remixes of "4 Minutes!!" And there's a very beautiful booklet with over 30 pages!! This is exactly what fans want! Get this and keep it sealed!

"Hard Candy" Limited Edition "Candy Box" CDs overseas: In addition, there will be a limited edition for Japan, the UK and Australia. But (with the exception of the Japanese lyrics/characters) these CDs will be no different from the US limited edition release and these will likely not be available on Amazon (however, you can find them on eBay or through esprit.)

"Hard Candy" Commercial CDs from Asia: There is an awesome CD from Taiwan which includes a Taiwanese lyric booklet and a pull-out picture that some sellers are calling a "poster." There's a very rare CD from China which is pressed in very limited quantities. And there's a Singaporean CD which is also very similar to the US release. In addition, there is also a Japanese CD which includes the lyrics to the songs (in English & Japanese) which Amazon is offering. The Japanese CD also includes the bonus track "Ring My Bell." Although, none of these other CDs will be offered on Amazon, but you can find them on eBay.

"Hard Candy" Commercial CDs from Europe, Australia & South America: These aren't very special and are nearly exactly the same as the US CD. Amazon will not be offering any of these CDs, except for 1 which is pressed by WEA ; only die-hard collectors would get this, though.

Hard Candy 3-LP Vinyl w/ CD: This includes the full-length album on 3 special edition vinyls, 2 of the LPs are "candy colored," and this also includes the full CD, as well!

"Hard Candy" Cassette Album: This is again something for only die-hard collectors. The US & the UK stopped manufacturing cassettes at least 5-6 years ago. However, this album is available on cassette in Malaysia and Thailand. These will not be sold on Amazon, but you may be able to find them on eBay.

Hard Candy downloads & bonus tracks : This includes bonus remixes for "4 Minutes" as well as the tracks "Ring My Bell" (through iTunes) & "Give it to Me."

Promotional-Only LPs, CDs & other items: There is a US & UK promo LP. In addition, I am told that there is a very rare promo LP w/ gatefold from Japan. And there's a promo CD from the US, as well as a lot of other items such as acetates and promotional CDs for "4 Minutes." There will also be a picture disc released for at least one of the singles and WEA may also put the full long play on p/d as well. You may be able to find some of these items on eBay, or a better place is through esprit.

You will experience merriment of emotions which run the gamut of abhorrence to delectation as you listen to this record, "Hard Candy." This is the reason why Madonna is not just an artist, but the Defining Pioneer. With her freshest work of art, this modern-day iconoclast is asking the question, giving the answer and simultaneously luring the listener into her den of pleasure, all at once...!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She Went Back To Move Forward, June 5, 2008
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Madonna is at her best when she is having fun and not preaching to us about the ills of the world. This is why I love "Hard Candy"! Its simply a fun, dance-filled and catchy album. This is the first album since "Ray of Light" in which I totally enjoyed from the first time I heard it.

I love how Madonna used her past (she went back to 1983) to create these songs. Its amazing how her last album with WB pay tribute to her first album with the label. I think its wonderful she re-discovered her roots. Songs like "Give It To Me", "Heartbeat", "She's Not Me" and my favorite "Dance 2night" takes the best elements of 80s pop and mixed it with modern urban beats. "Spanish Lesson" and "Miles Away" sounds like Madonna is trying to re-capture her "True Blue" days. The other songs are good, but they don't stand out to me.

Many people have blasted Madonna for "selling out" and doing "black music". For one, its ALL black music and for anyone to call Madonna a "sell out" tells me you don't know Madonna's history. For many months after WB released her debut album, people thought she was black until she made her first video. Her second album "Like A Virgin" was basically R&B/pop and of course, there's "Bedtime Stories". The fact of the matter is, Madonna has always done R&B.

I will admit that lyrically, Madonna is at one of her weakest points. Vocally, she doesn't give us much to praise. Its the production, the beats, and the concept that keeps this album from dragging. This may not be one of her best albums, but it will go down as the album that returned Madonna to her roots.

The only real complaint I have is the unattractive cover and the hideous artwork. You can barely read the credits because of the colors and how tight the words are. The pictures are some of the worst pictures of Madonna I have every seen. Despite the artwork, the music is hot. Enjoy!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candy Galore!, April 29, 2008
By 
Dogville (Sunny Island) - See all my reviews
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It's tough to be a pop star when you are Madonna, possibly the most hardworking woman in the world. The recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee returns for her swan song with Warner Bros., Hard Candy. While Confessions on the Dance Floor was decidedly electronic disco, Hard Candy is what Madonna does best - a dance record without all the preaching and profundity.

Candy Shop, the opener, is outright campy with a hypnotic beat and tongue-in-cheek lyrics like "Come on in to my store, I've got candy galore. Don't pretend you're not hungry, I've seen it before." Give It To Me may have been co-written by Pharrell Williams but reeks of early Madonna circa 1983 (think Everybody). 4 Minutes is the crowd-pleaser of the moment but is not the best on Candy. Heartbeat is where Madonna goes basal, singing about dancing and being so free on the dance floor, all to a hard rocking beat. It's so glorious that you'd immediately imagine yourself working out a sweat to it.

Elsewhere, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake work their magic through tracks like Miles Away, a glowing electronic track about long distance love; She's Not There with its funky trademark interlude/bridge; and Incredible, Madonna's ode to hubby, Guy Ritchie's powerful bed thrusts. Devil Wouldn't Recognize You, the stylish ballad about infidelity, is set to grace Madonna's live tracklist in years to come. The album closes with the most lyrically introspective song about breaking free, Voices.

Hard Candy is what happens when FutureSex/Lovesounds meet Confessions on a Dance Floor. Yet, at any given moment, it's hard not to notice this is a Madonna album after all. It's been a long while since Madonna just wants to have fun and get into the groove. Like a song from her last album, like it or not, our grand lady of pop is here to stay.

The limited edition comes in a DVD case with two bonus remixes of 4 Minutes,a pack of candies and 16-page hard booklet.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you can dance, April 29, 2008
HARD CANDY TRACKS
1) CANDY SHOP - 4:15 (produced by: Madonna & Pharrell Williams)
This song reminds me of Madonna's hugely successful single "Hung Up." But in "Candy Shop" Madonna uses the sounds of synths and electronic equipment, her lyrics are both strong and funny. As usual Madonna is often using innuendo as she sings "Don't pretend you're not hungry, there's plenty to eat..."

2) 4 MINUTES - 4:04 (produced by: Madonna, Timothy Mosley, Nate Hills & Justin Timberlake)
(featuring Justin Timberlake)
This is one of my very favorite songs on the CD for all the same reasons why the entire world loves it. 4 Minutes is fast and beautiful and breathtaking. Madonna's theme de jour on this track is love and s-e-x! This song totally sounds futuristic; I wouldn't be surprised if my grandbabies listened to this song.

3) GIVE IT 2 ME - 4:47 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
Both Warner Bros. and Madonna are very interested in using this song as the 2nd single for "Hard Candy," because it helps bridge the gap between Madonna's older sound and newer sound. On this track, Madonna's pure bubblegum pop as she sings "if you can handle it, undress me..."

4) HEARTBEAT - 4:03 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
This is such a fantastic studio album track because it has the potential to be a number 1 single. It has such a catchy hook but it's not one that will knock you out too soon.

5) MILES AWAY - 4:48 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hills & Timberlake)
It's ethereal, mid tempo and guitar-heavy. It has that fabulous hand clapping bit during the middle which reminds everyone that Madonna's an original who sets her own rules.

6) SHE'S NOT ME - 6:04 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
OMG so much like "Thief of Hearts." Madonna sings about someone who's obsessed with her and who dresses like her, but there can only be one Madonna!

7) INCREDIBLE - 6:19 (produced by: Madonna & Williams)
A ravishing slow ballad which reminds me of what Madonna said in her "Something to Remember" CD, "it's about the music & it's always been about the music."

8) BEAT GOES ON - 4:26 (produced by: Madonna, Kanye West & Williams )
(featuring Kanye)
This song has come a long way since it was first leaked to the net, last summer. Fans will appreciate the album track much more because it's totally reminiscent of New York's underground disco life of the 70's and early 80's that Madonna was so much a part of. Kanye is such a superior singer, producer, entertainer who both compliments and adds to something already perfect!

9) DANCE 2NITE - 5:03 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hannon Lane & Timberlake)
Madonna has totally retrogressed to her "you can dance" days with this record because it's totally hedonistic and pleasurable and danceable. Although it does have somewhat of a dark feel to it.

10) SPANISH LESSON - 3:37 (produced by: Madonna, Williams)
Madonna opens the song with, "Yo te quiero means I love you." This is a fast-moving Spanish/English track. As Madonna's fans know already know, she has a passion and a talent for sining in Spanish.

11) DEVIL WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE YOU - 5:09 (produced by: Madonna, Joe Henry, Mosley, Hills & Timberlake)
Madonna purrs "Over and over you're pushing me onto the floor and I keep coming back for more" in her sexy sweet-sounding melody that is all too familiar by now. This song isn't exactly a ballad but it does have a somewhat somber tone, as it opens.

12) VOICES - 3:39 (produced by: Madonna, Mosley, Hills, Lane, Timberlake)
This is perhaps Madonna's most out-there track. She saved the most unique and personal song for the end, with lyrics like "Are you walking the dog or is that dog walking you.

Bonus Tracks:
** 4 Minutes ~ Tracy Young House Mix Edit

** 4 Minutes ~ Rebirth Anthem Mix Edit

** Ring My Bell 3:54 on the Japanese CD or available on iTunes

** Give it to Me 4:59
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, Sticky, and Sweet, April 29, 2008
By 
Lawrence H. Stern (West Hollywood, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
At first, I was a bit worried when I heard that Lady M was collaborating with so many hip-hop masters. I wanted Madonna to stay true to herself, even if it meant - as she constantly does - reinventing her image, style, and music. Now that I've gotten the new CD, I am more than relieved - I am thrilled with this album.

Sure, "Four Minutes" is a loud, silly, hypnotic mess of a hit. But it's not really characteristic of the rest of the songs. "Give it to Me" (the second single) is another assault on the senses while still being undeniably catchy.

However, I am really most impressed with "Miles Away" (poignant, heartbreaking, and still entertaining; it updates the "Cherish" era with modern sonic appeal while adding a little of the vibe of the recent hit "Apologize"), "Incredible" (which takes the listener on a mad, wonderful, dance journey), "She's not Me" (retro mixed with edge and a rather biting lyric) and "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" - which definitely shows the influence of Justin Timberlake in a good way.

"Miles Away" and "She's not Me" seem to comment on Madonna's own relationship with Guy and offer some rare insight into her own world while still maintaining an upbeat and commercial sensibility. Madonna, thankfully, might have moments of reflection - but she never loses the urge to dance and avoids the potential of being maudlin.

Overall, Madonna has given us hooks galore and seems to be doing an homage to her first, classic, self-titled album while also keeping things innovative and contemporary. Sure, she's using hit-makers of the day - but she's making them work for her and serve her own vision first. Bravo to Her Madgesty!

Lawrence Stern
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Mid-Life Crisis Album from Madonna, July 12, 2008
By 
Olga (Kansas City, MO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
Madonna has never been a remarkable musical talent; she has simply always been a remarkably astute observer and creator of culture. She is the consummate chameleon with the correct response to every trend. I have always believed there is a streak of true depth to Madonna, despite her comfort in the superficial, and that depth lies in her commitment to the principle of free self-expression.

Madonna has lost that depth and the kernel of her genius in this album. Her "self" never emerges through the carefully packaged, retro-dominatrix club motif. For the very first time, we have no idea what Madonna is trying to tell us.

"Hard Candy" attempts to draw heavily on vintage Madonna. The sounds are produced enough to be squarely within our decade, but the song packages are reminiscent of the mid-80s. Even the album cover, with its neon and leather, is 1985. And yet the impetuous, creative, but curiously soft-spoken young woman from 1985 who relished her ability to stir the public with sharp edges is now so entrenched within her cocoon of status as a politically correct, music-industry legend, she has no motivation to manipulate us with this album.

All we hear are formulas. All we see are the hottest names in the business floating around the album to entice us to associate Madonna with contemporary musical power. It is all package, and no substance.

If there is any message here, the message is, "I may be pushing 50, but I am still a pop star". Like the stereotypical middle-aged man enduring an obvious mid-life crisis with a poorly conceived purchase of a flashy sportscar, Madonna is not conscious here of the narcissism she is projecting.

When "4 minutes" was released, (an odd mixture of the trendy global consciousness in Madonna's conceptual style and Justin Timberlake, who is just there because he is Justin Timberlake), my first response was to realize how much better "Blackout" is, and how terribly ironic it is that I am hearing songs from Madonna instead of Britney because while Madonna is a shrewd and confident master of public image, Britney is mentally ill.

Here, however, in Hard Candy, the limits of disingenuous posturing are seen; for once, formulas and shrewd marketing cannot take sail without any vulnerable and real person behind the package clamoring for expression.
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Hard Candy -IMPORT
Hard Candy -IMPORT by Madonna (Audio CD - 2011)
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