Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hard Candy hits my ears! And I LOVE it.

New record is in my hot lil' hands! This time it’s really an album, too. With breaks in between totally different-sounding songs!

And, I really mean it. A NEW sound is all over this thing. Which, has always been Madonna’s strongest skill: finding the hottest, most exciting, most modern sound to dance to out there and making those creators her collaborators. This time she’s “gone American” for the first time since pre-Ray of Light era. It’s more U.S.-clubby than she’s been in years. It actually took me a while to warm up to that sound (as opposed to her Anglophile ways of recent years). But, it’s Madge and she (as ALWAYS) makes it her own and makes it *quality*. They are the kind of dance tracks that take you by surprise—in a Beck/Dust Brothers sort of way, even.

Drugs and music and exercise and love and lust make you *forget about your problems* (she told us on the last album—straight up!) She brings that message home--and hard-- on this disc. To borrow from one of the best Six Feet Under philosophies—it cuts out the STATIC in your brain. Static, like the steady, ever-present *buzz* in your head—a stream of thoughts and nagging questions and anxieties that distract us every day from the moment we get up to the thought filled-moments after our head hits the pillow at night. That abandoning-worry vibe runs beautifully throughout these uplifting dance ditties. Songs of total Ambition Seminar from Madge 101, songs of mega ego, spiced with jealousy…. Sex songs are even back. Mmmm, and she still sounds hot and frisky after all these years.

Although Madge is not without (musical) sin …pretty much ever, for me…(well, the mid 90’s were a bit muddled, weren’t they??) she really has remained constant and damn strong in making music to get down to and get joyful to. She has never gone off and done sumthin’ stupid like make a record totally out of character that ya couldn't dance to. (OK, except for that ballad album crap and Evita…and Erotica—sort of.) This is just riding that road even higher. I take great comfort in that. Even though she's a bit of a dictator mogul, self-absorbed in every way, she still finds the heart and the time to get inspired and keep writing songs. Songs that don't disappoint.

She is hell-bent on getting her listeners to shake away their doldrums. From “Everybody,” her first real single—a call/cry for every-fucking-body to get up and dance and do your thang, to “Heartbeat” on the new record, a love letter to the joy of dancing. In fact, the whole of Hard Candy is a (yet another) love letter to shakin’ it. And, on my favorite track so far, “Give it 2 Me,” (yeah, Madge is now doing that Prince thing. Heh.) she calls for you to get up off of your ass and be as ambitious as the Lady Madge. Be like me, she suggests—“Give me a bass line and I’ll shake it/give me a record and I’ll break it.” it’s fucking great. Energizing and inspiring like the best music should be.
*WARNING*: there is the worst little blemish on this fantastic song, and it's a DAMN shame. A break from the song that has her chanting "get stupid, get stupid" in that really, really lame Gwen Stefani-way. I like Gwen, but that annoying, sing-songy bullshit (is it supposed to be annyong on purpose??) really brings me down.

It’s stuff like this that affects me in the most mood-lifting way. It’s a formula that Oasis and Bruce both use and it’s never-failing.
I will have more to report soon....I haven't even listened to it twice all the way through yet. Damn.

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