In her early career, Madonna's music was at the forefront of a pop revolution' a generation of sound she helped define with her 1983 self-titled release and follow-up gems "Like a Virgin," "True Blue" and "Like a Prayer."
But much like the performer's 1998 release, "Ray of Light," and "Music" in 2000, Madonna's latest, "Hard Candy," bolsters already existing pop-dance trends instead of stomping new sonic grounds, but still manages to do it better than pretty much anyone else.
The first single from "Hard Candy," the Justin Timberlake-infused duo "4 Minutes," is sublimely fun and danceable, but a bit uninspired. The song, produced by Timberlake and current go-to producer Timbaland (Nelly Furtado, Ashlee Simpson, Beyonce among recent projects) is both catchy and contrived, although many of the album's other songs, especially the Pharrell Williams-produced "Give It 2 Me" and "Beat Goes On," performed with the smooth-as-ever Kanye West, work the formula better.
"Hard Candy" tastes a lot like other confections, but feels better in your mouth.