madonnalicious was fortunate enough to attend the UK playback for Hard Candy in East London earlier this evening with about 100 other members of the press.
Behind a non-descript door near Spitalfields market, UK press, TV and internet journalists gathered to listen to Madonna's new album. Once checked in at the door, all mobile phones were taken away and champagne handed out in return!
The playback took place in a large loft-type space, with many sofas and comfy chairs, cushions and LCD televisions, on every table there were candy canes and jelly beans - and large lollypops spelling out M-A-D-O-N-N-A H-A-R-D C-A-N-D-Y, many of the journalists snapped up these goodies.
Handouts of the album tracklist were handed out to everyone and then the playback started with the name of each track was displayed on the many LCD screens - and at the end the 4 Minutes video was also played.
As everyone left, they were handed a Hard Candy goodie bag which contained copies of Dazed and Confused, Elle, Q and Vanity Fair (May editions with the Madonna covers), a set of four Hard Candy collectors postcards, candy canes, a Hard Candy lollypop and some Madonna Hard Candy's which would spell out her name and the album title if you dared open the packet!
And the album you ask? For those who were worried Madonna has ventured too far into RnB, fear not - although some songs contain the RnB beat, the way Madonna sings her lyrics over the top tends to make the songs recognisably 'Madonna'.
Far from being just an RnB album, madonnalicious felt a definite early 1980's club disco/electronic vibe to the album, and it felt like Madonna was going back to her beginnings (with a little RnB added on top!).
The second single Give It 2 Me will be an excellent club hit - in it's funky club/disco stomper way - it even contains a very similar bridge/break to Thief of Hearts.
For those fans who previously heard The Beat Goes On - prepare for a surprise - the song is so different madonnalicious even thought the wrong track was being played. Only the chorus (barely) survives, and there are new verses and a new rap by Kanye West.
Other standout tracks include 4 Minutes, Miles Away, She's Not Me, Incredible, Devil Wouldn't Recognise You and Voices.