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Hard Candy is the eleventh studio album by Americanmarker singer-songwriter Madonna, released on April 25, 2008 by Warner Bros. Records. It was her final studio album with the record company before a greatest hits album, Celebration, marking the end of a 25 year recording history. The album debuted at #1 in a record breaking 37 countries and was the 11th best-selling album worldwide in 2008 according to IFPI. The album was supported by the successful worldwide Sticky & Sweet Tour.

Lead single "4 Minutes" (a duet with Justin Timberlake) achieved worldwide success by topping the charts in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and other European nations. It became Madonna's thirteenth number-one single in the United Kingdommarker, a record for a female artist on the British charts. In the United States, "4 Minutes" peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Madonna her thirty-seventh top-ten hit and breaking the record previously held by Elvis Presley.

Background and release

Hard Candy was released on April 26 in Israelmarker and Australia (with many retailers chose to sell the album two days earlier). Throughout Europe, including Germanymarker, Irelandmarker, Austriamarker and The Netherlandsmarker the album was released on April 25. On April 28, 2008 the album was released in the United Kingdommarker, Brazilmarker and most other European countries, and on April 29, 2008 in the United Statesmarker, Mexicomarker and Canadamarker. The album was preceeded by its lead single "4 Minutes".

Musical style

The album, overall, has an urban pop vibe, while remaining a dance-pop record at heart. In the early stages of recording, Stuart Price, the producer of Confessions on a Dance Floor, described the new album as moving in an urban direction. It had initially been defined as having "a lot of producers from a lot of genres in there."

Pet Shop Boys were originally asked by Warner to write for and produce some of the album. Neil Tennant revealed they were contacted again the same week and told Warner had changed their mind. "We got told to forget it as they decided to shove her down the R&B route."

Timbaland, one of the featured producers of the record, referred to the album as being "like "Holiday" with an R&B groove." Justin Timberlake also defined the album as being "an R&B/pop/dance record." Upon release, The New York Times reviewed the album as "a set of catchy, easily digestible, mass-appeal songs."

The album features vocal appearances by Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West while the song "She's Not Me", features American guitarist Wendy Melvoin, best known as part of Prince's former band, The Revolution. Hard Candy features production by Timbaland, Timberlake, The Neptunes, Nate "Danja" Hills and by Madonna herself.

Promotion

Seven songs from the album were also made available during the week prior to the album's official release, a song a day downloadable via mobile phone. Beginning on April 21 and ending on April 27, these songs were distributed in order as follows: "Candy Shop," "Miles Away," "Give It 2 Me," "Heartbeat," "Beat Goes On," "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" and "She's Not Me". Additionally, Hard Candy and the "4 Minutes" music video were pre-loaded onto the Samsung F400 in Francemarker. A similar deal was made with Sony Ericsson, who offered the album alongside or pre-loaded onto its phones in 27 different countries worldwide.

Hard Candy was also streamed on MySpace four days before the United States release. Furthermore, the season finale of Ugly Betty's second season, "Jump," solely featured Madonna's music, "Candy Shop," "Spanish Lesson," "She's Not Me" and "Miles Away" all played, as well as the 2006 single "Jump." The Japanese television drama Change also featured "Miles Away" during the closing credits.

A teaser website was created by Warner Bros. called tick-tock.tv displaying an animated clock with Madonna singing "Tick tock" continuously from the "4 Minutes" song.

Hard Candy Promo Tour

To promote the album, Madonna embarked on the Hard Candy Promo Tour, the first venture as part of Madonna's new contract with concert promoters Live Nation with media content provided by "Frank the Plumber LLC". The show consisted of a 40 minute set featuring six songs, with dates in New York Citymarker, Parismarker and Maidstonemarker. During the performance at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, Justin Timberlake accompanied Madonna onstage for the performance of "4 Minutes" (he appeared on video screens for the further dates). Pharrell Williams also appeared on video during the performance of "Give It 2 Me." Alongside these and album tracks, "Miles Away" and "Candy Shop," Madonna performed a rock-infused version of "Hung Up," introduced by a few bars from " Satisfaction". "Music," was also remixed using a sample of Fedde Le Grand's "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit."

In an interview with the BBC, Madonna stated:

The April 30 New York set was shown live via MSN in association with Control Room and Live Nation. The May 10 Maidstone concert was shown live on BBC Three and later a special program Madonna Live at Radio 1's Big Weekend was shown on BBC One, both including interview footage with Jo Whiley. Highlights of the show were also shown all that week on BBC Interactive. The Maidstone show caused controversy with Madonna's use of swearing causing complaints to be made to the BBC.

Setlist:
  1. "Candy Shop"
  2. "Miles Away"
  3. "4 Minutes"
  4. "Hung Up"
  5. "Give It 2 Me"
  6. "Music"


The album was further promoted by the 2008-2009 Sticky & Sweet Tour.

Singles

"4 Minutes"
The lead single, "4 Minutes", was released digitally on March 18, 2008, worldwide, and was physically released on April 19, 2008. The single features Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. It is currently the most successful release from the album, reaching #1 in twenty-four countries. The song peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. 4 Minutes went to number 1 in Irelandmarker in 2008, her first number one in 19 years there, since the release of Like A Prayer

"Give It 2 Me"
The second single, "Give It 2 Me", was released to radio on June 4, 2008, in Europe and June 24, 2008, in the United States, where it peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has gone to number-one in the Netherlandsmarker, Hungarymarker, Polandmarker, Romaniamarker, Spainmarker, Turkeymarker, and on the U.S. Dance and Airplay Chart. It also reached the top 5 in seven other countries, and the top 10 in eight other countries, such as the United Kingdommarker, Canadamarker, Germanymarker and Mexicomarker. It had only moderate success in Australia, reaching #23, while in Japanmarker, only the top 40.

"Miles Away"
The third single, "Miles Away" was released to US radio on October 13. It was released digitally in Europe on October 17 and worldwide on November 24 when it was also released in various physical formats. Many Canadian radio stations had already begun playing the song before that date and the song started moving up the Canadian Hot 100 chart and peaked at 23. On July 17, 2008, a promotional single of "Miles Away" was released in Japan, where the song had increased airplay and digital downloads. The song has failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it has topped the Hot 100 Single Sales and Hot Dance Airplay charts. In the UK, "Miles Away" peaked at no.39 and was Madonna's lowest charting single since 1984.

Reception

Critical reception

The BBC's Tom Young was one of many critics to praise the record stating that;"In essence, the album is not the hip hop tribute many had feared, but an urban extension of 2005's Confessions On A Dancefloor. The disco still rules supreme (just listen to the funk-overload of Dance 2Nite) and the dancefloor remains Madonna's sexual playground. Yet, with Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Nate 'Danja' Hills and Pharrell Williams at the helm, the RnB edge is added. Williams' breathy punctuation and tinny percussion spill over from the album's opener Candy Shop and Timbaland's distorted bass beats make for wonderfully messy melodies, particularly on the superb climax, Voices – Madonna's most haunting sound since Frozen."

As with Madonna's 2005 effort Confessions on a Dancefloor, the album received mostly positive reviews. Reuters noted: "As parting gifts go, Madonna's 11th studio album — and her last before she exits long-term record label Warner Bros. — is unusually generous, if early reviews are to be believed. [...] Released internationally this week, and hitting U.S. stores on Tuesday, Hard Candy scored solidly among rock critics." Rolling Stone said that Hard Candy is the work of "a songwriting team of American chart royalty" that help "revisit her roots as an urban-disco queen." The Observer wrote that "whenever Hard Candy threatens to get boring, something always happens to recapture your interest."

The album was however still criticized for being "an attempt to harness the urban market", with Mark Savage, of BBC Music, writing that "Timbaland's tracks are frequently reminiscent of his (superior) work for Nelly Furtado" and later stated that "if a handful of the tracks had been delivered to more producers with a touch more subtlety, Hard Candy could have ranked alongside Madonna's best." The Times felt similarly, noting that while "Hard Candy is no disaster", the album's producers have "already done the same thing with Nelly Furtado, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani." The Independent said that the album reflects "how a once diverse talent has ossified into simply satisfying the sweet tooth of functional dance-pop." PopMatters wrote that the album "is overpopulated with recycled pop that is indistinguishable and artificial, something Madonna’s soothing arpeggiating vocals cannot alleviate". Allmusic panned the album and wrote, "Hard Candy is as a rare thing: a lifeless Madonna album."

Chart performance

The album debuted at number one in thirty-seven countries worldwide: Australia, Austriamarker, Belgiummarker (Flanders + Wallonia), Brazilmarker (international), Canadamarker, Chilemarker, Czech Republicmarker, Croatiamarker, Estoniamarker, Denmarkmarker, Greecemarker, Finlandmarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Hong Kongmarker, Irelandmarker, Israelmarker, Italymarker, Japanmarker (overall + international), Mexicomarker (international), Netherlandsmarker, Polandmarker, Portugalmarker, Philippinesmarker, Singaporemarker, Slovakiamarker, Sloveniamarker, Switzerlandmarker, South Africa, South Koreamarker, Spainmarker, Swedenmarker, Thailandmarker, Taiwanmarker, U.A.E.marker, UKmarker, USAmarker

During its first day of release in the Netherlands, Hard Candy sold over 60,000 copies, earning a platinum certification. The album also received a Gold certification on its first day of release, selling over 15,000 copies. Furthermore, after only two days of release, Hard Candy debuted at number one on the French albums chart, selling 38.000 copies. It also debuted at number one on the Oricon weekly album chart in Japan, selling about 55,462 copies, retaining that position for a second week due to an increase of sales to almost 80.000 copies.

Hard Candy also debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, where Madonna joined a select group of artists to achieve ten number one albums, behind Elvis Presley, with eleven, and The Beatles, with fifteen (though Madonna's tally includes the Evita soundtrack album which is a cast recording rather than a Madonna album). Madonna achieved a similar feat in Australia, where it became her seventh album to reach number one on the ARIA Albums Chart. The album was certified gold in its first week and eventually went Platinum "4 Minutes" has also remained in the Australian Top Ten for over eleven weeks.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Hard Candy sold 100,000 copies in the United States upon its first day of release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with over 280,000 copies sold. Hard Candy became her seventh number one album, making her the female artist with the second most number one albums, behind only Barbra Streisand. It was certified Gold on June 4, 2008, a month after its release. In Latin America the album was also well-received, reaching number nineteen on the Mexican Top 100 Albums chart based on three-day sales alone, and after three weeks in the chart, the album had peaked at number three, it has been certified Platinum. In Argentinamarker, after debuting at number-four based on shipments, it climbed to number one.

In New Zealandmarker, Hard Candy debuted and peaked at number five on May 5, 2008, and stayed on the chart for just nine weeks.

Formats

  • CD — containing the 12-track album.
  • CD Japanese Edition — 13-track edition including the bonus track "Ring My Bell".
  • CD Limited Collectors Edition Candy Box — 14-track edition containing the album, two exclusive "4 Minutes" remixes in a hinged DVD-sized "Candy" box with a 16-page booklet and approximately 35 Starlite Mint candies packaged in clear cello bag.
  • CD Philippine Edition — Disc available in blue ripple and a rare pink ripple (first pressing only).
  • LP Limited Edition — full length 12-track album on two pink & white and blue & white "candy swirled" vinyl discs, plus a DJ Remix 12" (on black vinyl) with two exclusive-to-this set remixes of "4 Minutes" by Tracy Young and Peter Rauhofer, and a bonus CD of the album housed in a plain white cd sleeve, all housed in a three-pocket deluxe gatefold Stoughton jacket. A misprint was released in Europe mainly by the CD retailing store HMV. The misprint consisted of the original album (like the USA release) on 3 vinyl discs, but the colors of the vinyls themselves were plain pink and plain blue respectively. It is also said that en extremely scarce misprint of the plain blue and pink version exists of where side 1 of disc 1 plays the songs of an unknown rap artist instead of the Madonna songs that are supposed to be Candy Shop, Give it 2 Me and 4 Minutes.
  • iTunes Deluxe Pre-order version — 16-track edition containing the album, two "4 Minutes" remixes, bonus track "Ring My Bell", digital booklet and a "Give It 2 Me" remix.
  • iTunes Pre-order version — 13-track edition containing the album, digital booklet and bonus track "Ring My Bell".
  • Deluxe Digital version — 15-track edition containing the album, two "4 Minutes" remixes, digital booklet and a "Give It 2 Me" remix.
  • Digital version — 12-track edition containing the album and digital booklet.
  • Vodafone Exclusive — from April 21, 2008, seven tracks from the album were released at a rate of one a day counting down the week before the album was available. Each track remained live for 24 hours for download before being replaced by the next one.


Track listing

Additional notes
  • Executive Producer: Madonna
  • "Dance 2night": additional production by Demacio "Demo" Castellon


Bonus tracks

iTunes Deluxe Pre-order, Digital Download Pre-order, iTunes, Digital download (bonus track version), Japanese CD bonus track

Deluxe Digital Download, iTunes (Deluxe Version) 1

iTunes (Deluxe Version) 2

iTunes (Deluxe Version) 3

CD Limited Collectors Edition Candy Box

LP Limited Edition bonus tracks

Additional notes:
  • 1 available on iTunes in the United Statesmarker, Australia, Germanymarker, Francemarker, Greecemarker, Italymarker, Austriamarker, Portugalmarker and Switzerlandmarker
  • 2 available on iTunes in New Zealandmarker, Japanmarker and in all European countries (note: some iTunes regions have both Deluxe versions available)
  • 3 iTunes Japan has a second Deluxe version containing two remixes
  • "4 Minutes (Peter Saves New York Edit)" and "4 Minutes (Peter Saves New York)": remix by Peter Rauhofer for Unique Productions, additional production by Eric Kupper
  • "4 Minutes (Junkie XL Remix Edit)": produced, mIxed and mastered by Junkie XL in the Computer Hell Cabin, additional sound design by André Ettema and Sam Estes
  • "Give It 2 Me (Paul Oakenfold Edit)": remix by Paul Oakenfold, additional production by Ian Green
  • "4 Minutes (Tracy Young House Edit)" and "4 Minutes (Tracy Mixshow)": produced and remixed by Tracy Young, additional Production by Joseph Carrano
  • "4 Minutes (Rebirth Remix Edit)": produced by Demacio "Demo" Castellon, additional production and remixing by Vincent di Pasquale and Larry Grant


Album credits

Production

  • Executive Producer: Madonna
  • Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 and "Ring My Bell": Produced by The Neptunes. Co-produced by Madonna.
  • Tracks 2, 5, 11, 12: Produced by Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Danja.
  • Track 9: Produced by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Co-produced by Hannon Lane. Additional Production by Demacio "Demo" Castellon.
  • Track 12: Co-produced by Hannon Lane.


Personnel

  • Vocals: Madonna
  • Track 2: Vocals by Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland
  • Track 8: Rap by Kanye West
  • Additional Vocals: Pharrell Williams
  • Tracks 5, 9, 11, 12: Background Vocals: Justin Timberlake
  • Recorded by Spike Stent, Andrew Coleman and Alex Dromgoole at Sarm Studiosmarker, London
  • Recording Assistants: Graham Archer and Nate Herwick
  • Mixed by Spike Stent and Andrew Coleman at the Record Plant, CA
  • Engineered by Anthony Asher
  • Tracks 2, 5, 11, 12: Recorded by Marella "Ms. Lago" Araica and Demacio "Demo" Castellon
  • Programmed and Mixed by Demacio "Demo" Castellon
  • Assistant Engineers: Julian Vasquez, Vadim Chislov, Graham Archer and Fareed Salamah
  • SCE Assistants: José and Joseph Castellon
  • Track 9: Recorded by Demacio "Demo" Castellon
  • Guitars: Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Dan Warner, Wendy Melvoin, Darrell Pearson and Monte Pittman
  • Keyboards: Hannon Lane and Danja
  • Drums: Timbaland
  • Bass: Darrell Pearson
  • Scratching: DJ Remo
  • Protools Editing: Ron Taylor
  • Strings: Stevie Blacke
  • Mastered by Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound
  • Photography by Steven Klein
  • Art Direction by Giovanni Blanco
  • Management: Guy Oseary


Certifications, peaks and sales

Worldwide- approx 4 Million album sales, 6th highest charting album WW.
Country/Region Peak

position
Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina 1 Platinum 20,000+
Australia 1 Platinum 70,000+
Austria 1 Platinum 30,000+
Belgium 2 Platinum 40,000+
Canada 1 Platinum 100,000+
Czech Republic 1 Platinum 10,000+
Denmark 1 Platinum 40,000+
Finland 1 Platinum 30,000+
France 1 Platinum 250,000+
Germany 1 Platinum 200,000+
Greece 1 Platinum 20,000+
Hungary 1 Gold 10,000+
Ireland 1 Platinum 20,000+
Italy 1 2x Platinum 230,000+
Japan 1 Platinum 280,510+
Mexico 3 Platinum 100,000+
The Netherlands 1
New Zealand 5 - -
Norway 2 - -
Poland 1 Platinum 30,000+
Portugal 1 Gold 20,000+
Russia 1 4x Platinum 80,000+
Spain 1 Gold 50,000+
Sweden 1 Gold 30,000+
Switzerland 1 Platinum 30,000+
United Kingdom 1 Gold 100,000+
United States 1 Gold 725,000+


Chart procession and succession

References

  1. http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/top50-2008.pdf
  2. http://madonnalicious.typepad.com/madonnalicious/2009/03/pet-shop-boys-asked-to-write-and-produce-hard-candy.html
  3. Mariah Madonna make Billboard chart history
  4. Give It 2 Me on world charts
  5. Miles Away charts
  6. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dxfuxzejldhe~T1
  7. .
  8. Charts.org.nz - Hard Candy New Zealand Peak
  9. Madonna's "Hard Candy" international chart positions
  10. ]
  11. The Nielsen Company 2008 Canadian Music Industry Report
  12. Ifpi.fi Madonna Findland Sales
  13. mahasz.hu - Arany- és platinalemezek
  14. http://www.irishcharts.ie/awards/platinum08.htm
  15. http://madonna-charts.com/hardcandy/hardcandy.htm
  16. Certificaciones
  17. IFPI Norsk platebransje
  18. Związek Producentów Audio-Video :: Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry
  19. http://2m-online.ru/news/detail.php?ID=5479
  20. http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/search.aspx



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