Madonna has always applied a shrewd calculating eye to her music, frequently anticipating the next big trend on which to latch her hooky dance pop. With Hard Candy, some felt she took this too far, working for the first-time with proven producers like Timbaland, Nate Hills and The Neptunes to ensure the album would deliver a US-friendly modern R&B/pop sound. The results were markedly different than the Eurodisco feel of her last album, Confessions on a Dancefloor. The calculus worked, at least for awhile, as her duet with Justin Timberlake, "4 Minutes," was her biggest US hit in 7 years, but the album failed to score any subsequent hits, with "Miles Away" becoming her lowest-charting British single ever. Still, I rather liked the album, which managed to retain a Madonna sound at its core, despite the big-name production. She also rather boldly trotted out the problems with her soon-to-be-over marriage on "Miles Away" ("You're always have the biggest heart, when we're 6000 miles apart").
Best: 4 Minutes, Miles Away, Give It 2 Me, Beat Goes On, Heartbeat