This is part two of my complete guide to Madonna’s albums. Part One you can find right here.
Ray of Light (1998)
Coming off the back of Erotica and Bedtime Stories, Madonna was, perhaps for the first time out of…erm, vogue with pop music on mass. She followed Bedtime Stories with a compilation album of classy ballads (Something To Remember) which did point at what she was listening to at least, with a Massive Attack collaboration opening the album. She then did Evita, which provided her with Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and You Must Love Me, both top ten hits. Two years of radio silence followed Evita, and it has been quite a while since a proper new album, and arguably as far back as 1989 since a great Madonna album.
Ray of Light is a big, bold, brilliant comeback album. Produced by William Orbit (Madonna is always at her best with a great producer to offset her) Ray of Light is a million miles from Bedtime Stories, and perhaps everything else she had done up to that point – despite previous attempts this is her smartest, most grown up record.
She certainly took some risks with it – despite having the obvious hit single of the title track lying around, she chose to announce her return with Frozen, a six minute, broken hearted trip-hop song. It was a masterstroke, it reached No 1 in the UK, and No 2 in the US. Madonna was well and truly back. Read the rest of this entry »