"Hard Candy" confirms Madonna's flair for music... and business
Friday, 25 April 2008

AFP, PARIS - Madonna takes music stores worldwide by storm in the next few days with a new hip hop-influenced album "Hard Candy", her last on the Warner label before taking up her astronomical contract with US concert promoter Live Nation.

The record hits shelves in Europe on Friday, the artist's native United States on April 29, and the rest of the world on April 28. Announcing "Hard Candy", Madonna described the title as "a juxtaposition of tough and sweetness."

The oxymoron sums up her undeniable artistic flair on the sweet side and hard-nosed businesswoman's acumen on the other. In her 11th studio album, Madonna, who turns 50 on August 16, shows both she can adapt to the times and get the right people on board.

After using Britain's Stuart Price for her last album, neo-disco "Confessions on a dance floor", this time round former N-Sync singer Justin Timberlake, as well as hip hop stars Timbaland and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, wrote and produced the 12 tracks.

All three are tops in hip hop and R'n'B urban music, and as producers Timbaland and Pharrell Williams have made one of the best sounds yet over the last few years.

The Material Girl's last album offers little surprises. Though the lyrics are run-of-the-mill, the tracks work due to remarkably good production and a contemporary feel marked by a Timbaland/Neptunes sound.

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