Jump to content

Was Anyone Else Caught Off Guard by Hard Candy?


Recommended Posts

Listening to Revolver right now (HORRIBLE vocal mixing by the way :hearno: I mean, amateur level) and just reminiscing on past Madonna eras while listening to Celebration and, well....

Was anyone completely caught off guard by Hard Candy? After Confessions, there were so many routes of music that still seemed unexplored for Madonna and yet ones that could be cool....but then...she suddenly did something that she had never really done before. She released an album that sounded a little dated already.

Everything about Hard Candy to this day still just feels so un-Madonna. I know this era is hotly debated by other Madonna fans, but I really do see Madonna as having had two eras -- 1983 - 2007 and 2008 - today and wonder if other Madonna fans feel this way. It's been so weird being in the fanbase as someone who discovered her around the time of Live 8, right before Confessions, and knowing what she was celebrated for and did at the time vs. how a lot of people perceive her today, as well as how she presents her art.

For the ones who agree, what do you think changed? Was Guy freakin Ritchie really the trigger to all of it, or were there other factors?

To clarify, I love everything she releases to this day. But I certainly feel like some of the magic Madonna always had started to disappear around Hard Candy, and I've always wondered if I'm the only fan who feels this way.

Anyways, please discuss :Madonna052:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 50
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

The whole aura surrounding her even watching videos from the era seem to be different.  The MDNA era (briefly) felt more in line with 1983-2007 than Hard Candy did. I think it was because she was tapping into a market and sound that was already near the end of its shelf life so there was nothing special behind it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She worked with people with bigger egos than hers and, for the first time, she felt like a guest on her own record.

Too many duets. We hear JT, Pharrell and Timbo WAY too much on the tracks.

And I feel like they shouldve gone with Candy Shop with a first single.

We mightve gotten some really cool mixes for that track.

It's the only tour of hers I havent seen.

She was on a roll from Ray of light to Confessions. This just brought everything to a screeching halt.

The album isnt bad. I just think her collaborators didnt listen enough to her input and her influence on the tracks was diminished.

It's the only record I dont go back to somehow. I keep forgetting it exists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe a part of that disillusion has to do with the fact that Confessions was such an incredible concept album. Even if you only consider the music, .... that record tried exploring a lot of interesting topics lyrically and really found a great balance in making older, disco-esque musical elements sound more fresh. Ideas such as the non-stop-mix were really thought-through.

She spent a lot of time on these conceptual ideas for the musicals, but she think that she left a lot of the production in the hands of Stuart Price. He also has a great story-telling quality  but he also seemed to challenge her.

Hard Candy was on the other hand hardly a challenge. It could have a much better record, but, although most people will argue that there is always a simplicity to her lyrics is always rather low, but Hard Candy did not explore the same depth. 

Dance 2Night always felt like she came up with a cool title first and tried to make a song afterwards. I similarly imagine that songs like Heartbeat, Candy Shop (althought it could be cool) and Give It To Me had more a sort of tour performance in mind. She's Not Me is a real clever song , but I guess she also just thought about the opportunity of an ironic interpretation for a self-referential tour performance.  4 Minutes could have been a cool concept for a 'peace song' but it was just too abstract and "meta" to translate it to a song or a workable concept.

I'll wont refrain form killing some of my darlings: Miles Away is a great song, I love it to death, but it seems as if she is not as present in that song as she was in "Sorry" and even later would be in "I Don't Give A". Just before the divorce, she did really gaven us the impression that "she just woke up from a fuzzy dream". It feels half-baked  I do also found some  "Devil Wouldn't Even Recognize You". While it still has the essential Timbaland sounds,  I actually don't think that it really not overpowers the song. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was more disappointed than anything.

Had a friend who "knew someone in the biz" and he said Madonna's  going back to her roots and it will be like the first album,

R 'n B/dance and she sounds young again.

Then the album came out..... I enjoyed some songs but it didn't grab me then and it still hasn't. I never play the album in full and rarely listen to the singular tracks, except maybe Devil, Miles & Across The Sky demo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No.

I really don't get why this era is such a hard one for so many fans to 'get'. Probably because I personally don't worship at the alter that is Confessions. That said, interesting points above, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the previous era was certainly something special to many fans, and has since been glorified into this untouchable thing. And particularly with those that seem to think M is disco, disco, disco. Yeah, I know, that will piss some folks off, but as the years go by, it becomes that much more obvious. And yet, all her music up until then (and since) had shown she really is so much more than just that. Don't get me wrong, it was a very special era, but she really is more than just 'Confessions'. Just as she is more than just 'Blond Ambition' and 'Vogue' and 'Ray of Light'. :Madonna004:

The irony is that Hard Candy is pure dance, through and through. It's just another take on it. It's rooted more in American R&B and funk-influenced dance (aka the Black/urban tradition) vs the more Euro-influenced sounds of the previous record. Ok, so it wasn't the most cutting-edge sound at the time, but that rhetoric itself regarding M and her music (in my opinion) has also been somewhat romanticized over the years. A great deal of her work at commercial/critical peaks has always essentially been 'of the moment'. She's just more often executed it better than anyone at any given time. That said, it's still an incredibly solid record that personally has much more replay value than the previous. And lastly, it's rooted in the very music that started her out on that first record. It is the 'return to her roots' more than Confessions ever really was.  :Madonna003:

In the end, it was just part of the continual evolution that is 'Madonna' the artist. It was also clearly time for her to "exorcise the demons" of what she was going through. Not to mention what it was saying (visually and musically) about a woman her in 50s. Performance-wise it was unmatched - she was an absolute beast. Incredible promo concerts. And quite frankly, one of her greatest tours that solidified her as the touring beast (#1 number for a female/solo), and proved she was capable of doing something in her 50s that very few, if any, of her peers (male or female) could ever attempt to do on stage. :Madonna054:

I may be in the minority...so be it. I LIVE for funky, R&B Madonna.

Her sugar will forever be raw.

Long live Hard FUCKING Candy. :smokey:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listening to Beat Goes On demo, my guess is that she did feel inspired at first to explore new routes, but as her marriage with Guy Ritchie became strained as the year where she started recording the album went by, my guess is that she just ended up burned out, became insecure about putting new ideas in the table and nothing's been the same ever since.

Or maybe, that's what she wanted all along. To make a fun, simple album and go back touring. And yes, she was late to the trend, but the earliest leaked demos are from Feb-Apr 2007, and during that time I imagine producers like Timbaland and Pharrell were booked and busy, so that might've slown down the recording process. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anything after "Confessions" and "The Confessions Tour" was going to be a hard one. How do you follow two monster hits like those?

I like "Hard Candy". It's not the R&B, urban album that lots of fans like to say it is. It's a pop album and in part it reminds me of the debut album, actually. But it's also a very mid 00s pop album, so she was a little bit late to that sound.

She was clearly super inspired by Gwen Stefani solo albums but of course she would never admit that. Even the opening of the "Sticky & Sweet Tour" is the same opening as Gwen's first solo tour. Fair enough, Gwen Stefani was super inspired by Madonna, so I guess Madonna was just borrowing back? :lol:

And then life happened too. The marriage was ending, a new phase with Live Nation about to begin for her... when you know you're quitting your job the last weeks are always a little bit "meh". And her promotion of the album was a little bit like that.

Also, "Hard Candy" lacked a stronger visual direction. The album cover was amazing (I still remember the shock haha) but the rest? I still think this amazing first official teaser should have been the direction for the album, visually:

Sexy retro was the way to go.

Are you getting hard... candy? That was PERFECT.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Outdated music by the time of its released (the RnB/Timbaland glory era was coming to an end) - Nelly released hers just in time two years before 

Horrible artwork that makes you wanna shut down your computer or get out of the shop in case you planned to download or buy it.

+

And finally, sad reality but it's really difficult in this world for a 50 yo white blond woman to have successful urban/rnb/hip hop records. Try to name one... good luck with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It Just wasn't for me or my taste bedsides a few gems. I like Devil Wouldn't Recognize you (Probably because it was actually written in part by Pat Leonard for that Musical Hello Suckers she was contemplating) Lyrically is a great song. Production wise it sounds a little like What it feel's like for a girl,  8 years later.😏

I like the Beat goes on, I like Miles Away (Even if its sounds pretty much like Timberlake's 2006,  What goes around comes around and Give it to me is OK, But It Don't think it's a good Tour Closing Song. That's pretty much it. After confessions success and Tour, It was a high bar to hit again. I hate the Artwork. It completely sets her up to be mocked🤦‍♂️which I don't like to see. They could have come up with better Artwork I'm sure any of US could. Its just looks ridiculous. I don't think it's her worst album, for me that goes to MDNA which I only like TWO Songs! {Love Spent and Falling Free). The rest I would even bother with I think its also the worst tour she has done, But I really like Rebel Heart and I have slowly warmed up to Madame X some 2 years later. Its is something very different and at least its fresh, I will Buy that tour in whatever version comes out. For some reason I've been listening a lot to Medellin, Its really hooked me in, better late than never I guess🤷‍♂️. Maybe its the Spanish/Latin element. I always love when M goes That way. I'm not even Spanish. But I do Love Their Food! 😘 (La Isla, WTG, WIFLFAG Etc).💖la isla bonita madonna GIF

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all ... It was FUN. Really fun and enjoy.

Dancing Queen throw away the crown. Candy shop choreography is so fun. And Music, Beat goes on and others too. She didn't take herself so seriously - Thank God! and Tour was a great success. When I listen Dance 2night, I feel like RedOne inspirated  on Poker Face or Just Dance.

Second ... It's a health and sports era. It's not intelectual and sit your ass down era. It's really Move on Ass! COMING OUTof the comfort zone. Run or Dance whatever...

and Final ... I love how songs sound on tour.. live arranged... '70 sound feeling and inspiration of old music.

Pimp segment, Rave, The Neptunes and Timbo ... this is a Star Era.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, VogueMusic said:

The irony is that Hard Candy is pure dance, through and through. It's just another take on it. It's rooted more in American R&B and funk-influenced dance (aka the Black/urban tradition) vs the more Euro-influenced sounds of the previous record. Ok, so it wasn't the most cutting-edge sound at the time, but that rhetoric itself regarding M and her music (in my opinion) has also been somewhat romanticized over the years. A great deal of her work at commercial/critical peaks has always essentially been 'of the moment'. She's just more often executed it better than anyone at any given time. That said, it's still an incredibly solid record that personally has much more replay value than the previous. And lastly, it's rooted in the very music that started her out on that first record. It is the 'return to her roots' more than Confessions ever really was. 

That's so true. I also feel Hard Candy has aged much better as an album than some might've expected at the time of its release. Confessions was the last time Madonna was so universally loved, commercially successful and critically acclaimed all at once and I think that helps romanticise that record/era. Some mediocre lyrics aside, I personally much prefer Hard Candy's sound and production and listen to it way more often than Confessions. Having said that, I do remember thinking back in the spring of 2008 that she doesn't sound like "Madonna" but then again, I thought that too when I first heard Erotica. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hard Candy was the first time Madonna felt contrived and uncool. I think that’s basically it. She wasn’t trying hard enough yet made it look like she was trying too hard. A reverse era if you will. 
It felt like the first time the curtain had been pulled back on the wizard of oz and we just saw Dorothy  frantically pulling and pushing any lever and knob she could. Pharrell, Timba and Timber were her Tim man, lion and scarecrow. 
She was lost and it took the best part of a decade to find her red shoes again… and when she did most of the glitter had worn off. 
 

There seems to be this wave of mostly late 20’s fans reassessing the album as some sort of visionary misunderstood record as per Erotica and American Life that was ahead of it’s time before the Pharell induced disco revival of 2012/13. 
No ladies, it’s an old sound and even a stopped clock is wrong twice a day. 
It’s a Frankenstein of a record in truth. If people enjoy it then power to them. That’s the beauty of music,  it the real tea if we’re being honest is it’s well below Madonna’s quality control and was the start of her commercial end where sales and tour numbers, piggy backed of the shine of the powerful Confessions era. 
Sorry bout it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sorry to burst some bubbles but i hate that whole era :( the sound the look that dreadful hair.... she was more housewife gone pop star than anything else. And if you listen to the demos from pharell and others she had litterly no input in that record at all, she just resang them. sadly that didnt change much for MDNA. I felt her soul coming back at Madame X (which i love dearly)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, dead or alive said:

I think I'm one of the few people who has always loved this album lol.

Not really the image she released during this period but just the music.

Special mention to Heartbeat  :luv:

well thats totally fine! everyone has different taste and different favs ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, dead or alive said:

I think I'm one of the few people who has always loved this album lol.

Not really the image she released during this period but just the music.

Special mention to Heartbeat  :luv:

The image was horrible. The album was great. (Except candy shop and Spanish lesson)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As always, with the new era, I didn't like at first. Confessions was a great era and didn't like the new direction (the same happened to me from "Erotica" to "Bedtime Stories"). But now I must admit that I like "Hard Candy" very much. The problem for me was just the change of style. But this always happened to me with Madonna. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, steady75 said:


It felt like the first time the curtain had been pulled back on the wizard of oz and we just saw Dorothy  frantically pulling and pushing any lever and knob she could. Pharrell, Timba and Timber were her Tim man, lion and scarecrow. 
She was lost and it took the best part of a decade to find her red shoes again… and when she did most of the glitter had worn off. 

 

This is the best explanation of what happened to Madonna - and it's so very sad to read because she deserved better and I don't know if it was her own ego, the divorce and the lack of confidence that came with that, or the end of her career with Warner Bros -- a group of people that had done a lot of RIGHT for her and the handling of her career. 

It's terribly sad.

I do enjoy these songs more now than when they came out.

I just remember listening to the radio a lot back then during the day while working and hearing 4 Minutes against Touch My Body (Mariah) and Romeo & Juliet (Swift) and it just seemed like the older ladies were being exited and a whole new wave of pop was coming in to take over.

I also remember one fucking terrible interview to promote Hard Candy on 106 & Park and it just felt like the interviewer had no idea who Madonna was. "So I hear you've had a lot of hit singles!" type of thing and she as like, WHAT THE FUCK .. it was the first time in my life I'd seen someone not know who she was or what her career was about. It felt sad .. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it has anything to do with the Hard Candy album itself, but rather Madonna's fear of being irrelevant.

That fear began in 2003, when she realized American Life flopped, resorting to raising her image by doing a duet with someone who was beginning to overshadow her: Britney Spears, and by doing a greatest hits tour: the Re-invention Tour.

Because of that fear and although Confessions on a Dance Floor was her return to the top after Music, starting in 2008 and coinciding with the decline of her marriage, Madonna begins to make bad decisions, such as breaking with the company that in a way, she was dictated by the way forward: Warner.

Before 2008, Madonna surrounded herself with producers unknown at that time by the general public, and she made that sound her own (Shep Pettibone, William Orbit, Mirwais, Stuart Price ...). However, as of 2008, Madonna desperately seeks to surround herself with the sound that is trending at the time, and the worst thing is that she does it late. Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Martin Solveig, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Diplo, Avicii ... all of them impregnated the successive albums of Madonna with her own styles and sounds, being totally recognizable by the general public. And for the general public and not for a fan, listening to Bitch I'm Madonna, i.e., is like listening to one more Diplo song, but not one of his best songs.

With Madame X, Madonna wanted to re-experiment and be influenced by the cultures of other countries and her own instincts more than other producers. But it is evident that she is far from going back to being who she was, musically speaking.

Just my opinion. But I still love every little thing that she says or does, even showing her nipples on a pub (well, thanks God, she finally took off that horrendous ass!! lol)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Write here...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...