In so many respects, it's hard to specifically identify why one song is appealing and why another isn't. One of my rules for living is as follows: There is no such thing as a bad song - rather those songs that I dislike just don't appeal to me. I say this because so much of what I listen to could be characterized by so many people as "bad music" or "fluff music" or simply inconsequential. However, they don't know how good it makes me feel when I listen to it. So I'm always a bit loath to judge someone else's taste, knowing full well that there's a good chance that their "bad music" makes them feel just like the music I listen to makes me feel.
The function of all that nonsense above was really for me to state that I have identified a key characteristic in some of the music that I really love. For me, it's all in the rhyme.
The best song on Hard Candy is "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You." Madonna deserves to be proud of that song. It has eked its way into my top 20 Madonna songs which is truly a feat considering it's a song from Hard Candy. Anyway, the rhyming structure in this song just kills me. Look at this part:
I barely couldn't, I barely couldn't recognize
I still played right into it
Who am I to criticize?
Somehow I'll get through it
And you won't even realize
Falling through your own disguise.
Now, let's forgive Madonna her rather questionable grammar (I barely couldn't recognize? Please.) and focus on the brilliance of all those "-ize" rhymes. The only way it could have been better is if she had found a way to use "tantalize" or "cauterize" (or any of the zillion words ending in -ize.) Certainly the music it the words are set to helps immeasurably - the minor key is another immediate hook for me, but it's that little part of the song that gets me every single time.
(The performance of "Devil" on the tour was almost worth the entire $160 admission price. I also want the sheet music so I can play the piano part.)
And don't even get me started on -tion rhymes, which "Celebration" does well, as does Pat Benatar's "Sex As A Weapon" - although I do take issue with rhyming "weapon" with "obsession" and "reflection." But it still works. Also do not get me started on the version of "Celebration" now featuring Akon. Dear Madonna, you do not need to rent rappers. They won't help anyway.