Critics Sample The Product Of Madonna’s Last Day Of Work At Warner

Dan Gibson | April 28, 2008 1:00 am

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. Under consideration today is the new album/contract killer by Madonna, Hard Candy, which hits stores tomorrow:

• “The dance floor — not the pulpit, not the art gallery — is Madonna’s truest home, and it’s a good place to shake off pretensions and excesses. Her grand statement on “Hard Candy” is nothing more than that she’s still around and can still deliver neat, calculated pop songs. Madonna has had more profound moments — “Like a Prayer,” “Ray of Light” — but not every pop star is cut out for full-time profundity. This time around, concocting new ditties that will have her arena audiences singing along, she was smart to stay shallow.” [NY Times]

• “Hard Candy is a let-down after 2005’s triumphant Confessions on a Dancefloor. Still, your disappointment is tempered by the certainty that there’ll be another Madonna album along in a bit, and it would be a foolish man who wrote off her chances of scaling the heights again. “I can go on and on,” she sings on a track called Heartbeat. Twenty-six years into her career, who would doubt it?” [Guardian]

• “Pop has never been about raging originality, but “Hard Candy” sounds like the least original Madonna album yet. It’s not just the predictable lyrics about sex, dancing and more sex (lots of songs about doing “it” ’til dawn). Those of us who listen to Madonna for the tunes can be thankful that the self-help bromides and political pronouncements that clogged up some of her recent albums are long gone. The real problem is that Madonna sounds downright modest. In the past she was first among equals. But by deferring to her collaborators (it’s telling that she takes no co-production credits), she sounds like just another pop mouthpiece. [Chicago Tribune]

• “The beats are tired and over-familiar: each producer sounds as if he is doing an impression of himself. Nor do any of these boys seem to have the emotional maturity to draw anything deeper out of a woman who must surely have something to say at this point in her life. Madonna sounds muted and lyrically guarded – sometimes even downright sad and lonely. Most importantly, Madonna has always understood what makes a body want to move. Heartbeat and Dance 2night try desperately to evoke the joy of the disco, but it’s too contrived to get you on your feet, and the whole thing falls flat.” [Daily Telegraph]