After the disco nostalgia of her Confessions On A Dance Floor album, Madonna was determined to work with the contemporary R&B hitmakers of the moment for her follow-up, 2008’s Hard Candy. The decision to team up with Justin Timberlake, his producer Timbaland and Pharrell Williams raised eyebrows for some: did the “Queen of Pop” really need them to continue her trailblazing longevity, or was this just another foray into a genre that had always run alongside her career?
Listen to ‘Hard Candy’ here.
“I needed to be inspired and thought, Who’s making records I like?”
Long established among the best Madonna songs, when early hits such as Everybody and Holiday first rode the airwaves, many assumed Madonna was a Black artist emerging from New York City’s vibrant club scene. After the controversial Erotica album, she repositioned her sound and image with the help of Babyface and Dallas Austin on 1994’s Bedtime Stories, so Hard Candy, issued as her 11th album, on 19 April 2008, was really nothing out of the ordinary, though no one would accuse Madonna of relying on an established formula.
Selling a solid four million and topping the charts around the world, Hard Candy served as the launch platform for Madonna’s most successful global tour to date, the phenomenal Sticky And Sweet Tour, which ran for a year with more than 80 shows generating more than $400 million.