Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hard Candy

I know I risk losing all credibility by reviewing the new Madonna CD, but if Pitchfork can do it, so can I. And I am a fan, especially since her 1998 career-turning album Ray of Light, which saw her abandon the mainstream producers she had previously worked with (Shep Pettibone, Babyface, etc.) in favour of cutting-edge electronic/house producers, like Mirwais and William Orbit.
     Dissapointingly, Madonna has returned to mainstream production on Hard Candy, albeit with a hip-hop slant, handing the reigns to acknowledged hitmakers Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell. And while this decision will undoubtedly sell her tons of records and return her to the top of the charts, it has made for a far less interesting record.
     I’ll give Timbaland credit for creating a sound — filled with retro synths; jumpy, minimalist beats; and beatbox touches — but it doesn’t work for me. It just sounds dated and lazy. Too bad — there are some good songs on Hard Candy (“Miles Away,” “She’s Not Me”) that would have sounded much better in the hands of more innovative mainstream producers, like Mark Ronson or Danger Mouse. All in all, a hard sell. C
Madonna: Candy Shop (mp3)
Madonna: Miles Away (mp3)

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