Monday, May 19, 2008

Collectibles #23: Madonna Hard Candy (2008)

This has got to be, hands down, the lamest limited collector's edition EVER. I mean, if its is a promo item, having a pack of candies to give away together with the album is fine. But to actually include a pack of candies inside the package and call it a Limited Collector's Edition just reeks of laziness and smells of the record label trying to make a quick buck.

What am I supposed to do with the pack of candies? Collect it until worms come out? It's meant to be a COLLECTOR'S item for goodness sake, and the candies actually expire in February 2010. So dumb and so lame. If they produced fake candies, it might still be acceptable, but to take the album title, Hard Candy, so literally is just plain dumb. And they sell this for $39.90.

The collector's edition of Madonna's previous album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, was actually pretty good. I'll probably do a post on it in future. Madonna has always had quite good collector's editions, but this one is a big letdown.

That aside, this is Madonna's 7th chart-topping album, and she now trails Barbara Streisand by just one. This is Madonna's last album under Warner Music, and when she releases her next album under Live Nation, you can be sure they will pull out all the stops to ensure that Maddy gets her 8th number one.

This album features production by some of the proven hit-makers, Timbaland, new best friend Justin Timberlake and old friend Pharell. It's a departure from her past few albums, where she mostly worked with relatively unknown producers and elevating them into the mainstream. I guess you could say that Maddy is desperate for hits so that she can leave Warner with a bang.

Anyway, first single, 4 Minutes, has done exactly that, hitting the top of the UK singles charts, but narrowly missing the Billboard Hot 100. It's everything you expect from Timbaland and JT, and it features pretty much recycled beats and vocal add-ons. Nevertheless, that's the formula for success and it's a catchy song worthy of its success. However, it doesn't break new ground.

A quick run through of the album gives rise to the following tracks that leave an impression on me. Give It 2 Me (not the one produced by Timbaland on his own Shock Value album), a Pharell produced song, stands out for its catchy synthesizer riff; She's Not Me has a nice bassline; Beat Goes On, featuring Kanye West, is pretty catchy too. The rest of the tracks probably need more spins to get stuck in the head, but hopefully they rise above being generic Timbaland B-sides.

Being a Special Collector's Edition, this package contains 2 bonus tracks - 2 remixes of 4 Minutes. Once again, it's lame because they should have featured at least one track that is not available on the normal release of the album, like a Japanese edition bonus track. Throwing in a remix is such a lazy way of "rewarding" the fans.

All in all, this is a very unsatisfactory package and you should probably give it a miss and save your money by getting the regular edition.

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