Madonna’s ‘Hard Candy’ Turns 5: Stan & Deliver

Name: Alex Hawgood | Location: New York, NY

8. Beat Goes On (feat. Kanye West):  It’s fitting that Pharrell Williams told Rolling Stone that the first discussion he had with Daft Punk about collaborating on Random Access Memories happened at a listening party for Madonna’s “last album” (presumably he is referring to Hard Candy and not MDNA).

Because while the late ’70s/early-’80s disco bounce of “Get Lucky” feels fresh on today’s iTunes chart, it’s practically the same vintage sonic terrain Pharrell covered with Madonna on the tracks he produced for Hard Candy five years earlier, including “She’s Not Me” (complete with Wendy Melvoin from Prince’s legendary band The Revolution on guitar) and “The Beat Goes On” (the title being a reference to The Whispers‘ disco anthem “And The Beat Goes On” from 1980).

While critics rolled their eyes at M-Dolla for jumping on the Timbaland-inspired “urban” bandwagon of the mid-2000s at the eleventh hour (tick tock, tick tock), Pharrell bucked convention for “The Beat Goes On” and rewound the clock to back in the day when disco and funk were giving birth to both hip hop and the type of carefree electro-pop that filled her eponymous debut, Madonna, in 1983. (See also: her use of Keith Haring’s graffiti characters in a backdrop from her Sticky & Sweet Tour.) Pharrell’s shimmering, thumping production — is that a triangle I hear? — offers Madonna the perfect groove to wax bombastic about the cathartic pleasures of dancing (for inspiration, one assumes). By the time Kanye West shows up unexpectedly for his rap at the end, you have no choice but to heed his call to get down, beep beep, and get up outta your seat.