Hard Candy


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Bob Smithouser
Paul Asay

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Young fans are told to aggressively pursue their ambitions (“Beat Goes On”). “Dance 2Night” says, “You don’t have to be beautiful to be understood/You don’t have to be rich and famous to be good.”

Objectionable Content

The cover photo (we censored it) and liner notes show the 49-year-old singer wearing skimpy dominatrix garb. Sweets provide a sticky metaphor for sexual pleasure and temptation on “Candy Shop.” Mild profanities and crass slang pop up, as do several s-words. An ecstatic, “Like a Virgin”-style loss of sexual innocence is the focus of “Incredible.” Fans are urged to say whatever they like and do whatever they feel (“Beat Goes On” with Kanye West), as well as play by their own rules with no regrets (“4 Minutes,” “Give It 2 Me”). On “She’s Not Me” a woman being two-timed imagines her man waking up next to his lover, who has sex with him in the shower. The singer invites clubbers to watch her “booty” as she grinds on the dance floor (“Heartbeat”). Her “Spanish Lessons” emphasize erotica. One of several dance-as-sex analogies appears on the steamy “Dance 2Night,” which finds a woman asking her partner, “Do you wanna take it further?”

Summary Advisory

Among the teasing treats in Madonna’s “Candy Shop” is Turkish Delight. Ironic, no? Let Edmund’s inability to resist Narnia’s White Witch be a warning to anyone tempted to sample this pop icon’s Hard Candy.

Bob Smithouser
Paul Asay
Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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