Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released in early 1998 by Maverick Records. A stylistic and aesthetical departure from her previous work, Ray of Light is an electronica and techno-pop record which incorporates multiple genres, including ambient, trip hop, psychedelic music and Middle Eastern music, while also seeing Madonna singing with greater breadth and a fuller tone. Mystical themes are also strongly present in both the music and lyrics, as a result of Madonna embracing Kabbalah, her study of Hinduism and Buddhism, and her daily practice of Ashtanga yoga. After giving birth to her first child, Madonna started working on the album with producers Babyface and Patrick Leonard. Following failed sessions with them, Madonna pursued a new musical direction with English producer William Orbit, which resulted in a much more experimental sound being produced for the album. The recording process was the longest of Madonna's career, and she experienced problems with Orbit's hardware arrangement which would break down and cause delays until it could be repaired. Upon release, the album received widespread critical acclaim, with reviews praising the singer's new musical direction, Orbit's complex, innovative and experimental production, and Madonna's writing skills. Referred to as her "most adventurous" record, Ray of Light has been noted for its introspective, spiritual, and religious nature with Madonna's vocals also being commended. Retrospectively, the album has continued receiving critical acclaim from contemporary critics and is often considered to be her best album. On top of this, the album is frequently cited by critics as one of the greatest mainstream pop albums of all time. Ray of Light won four Grammy Awards from a total of six nominations. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with the biggest first-week sales by a female artist at the time. It also peaked at number one in 17 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and charted within the top-five in most musical markets. Worldwide, Ray of Light has sold over 16 million copies and is one of the best-selling albums by women. Five singles were released from the album, including the international top five hits "Frozen" and "Ray of Light". The album's promotion was later supported by the Drowned World Tour in 2001. Music critics have noted the album's influence on popular music, and how it introduced electronica into mainstream pop culture in America. They also noted Madonna's musical re-invention which helped the 39-year-old remain contemporary among the teen-marketed artists of the period.Wikipedia
A whole lot of investment for a maximum of 15 minutes pay-off. You can certainly die before listening to this one, and in all honesty, at 1 hour 6 mins in length, there is a good chance that you might.
Top tier mid-career Madonna. Confident, composed, and coooool
I was pleasantly surprised by this, as downtempo stuff usually isn't my bag. And it is long, though the beauty of the production can't be overstated (Actually, maybe it can when the cheesy strings come into Little Star.) Madonna's voice doesn't have much zing to it here, but if it did the whole album would have to be retuned to it. She takes you through the hour of music, and the melodies are pretty if not very hooked, and the calming effect of the music is undeniable. I tend to prefer my trip-hop with more of the mentioned zing, but Madonna is absolutely my bag.
The last good Madonna album according to my wife
lazy disco-y lushness
Still remember that after a sequence of rather mediocre albums -say anything after Like a Prayer and this albums- and a string of singles that were good but not great (except This Used to Be My Playground but that was with Shep Pettibone again) ..suddenly ..Frozen was released and after that: the Ray Of Light single and then Substitute of Love and the Power of Goodbye.. in short: the best 4 pop singles of the 90s, seemingly out of nowhere. So bought the album but felt a bit disappointed as it was made in the same way as in the 80s: great singles (*****) some (very) decent albums tracks (***/****) and some filler (*/**). Think True Blue or Like A Prayer. Still feel the same after listening to it again today. The 4 singles and the William Orbit contributions are as fantastic as ever, just like a couple of other tracks, but overall it falls short to be of 5-star, just like True Blue and Like A Prayer (to compare, for me, her first album and Like A Virgin are both 5-star).
Good memories from MTV in the 90's https://youtu.be/SnUu2E1pjm0
i can appreciate it but i'd never listen to this kind of music willingly. also no 13-track album should be over an hour
Just look how quickly rich and gauzy becomes "deep" and "meaningful", the shorthand for which is--sigh--an Indian song. I note William Orbit is credited on that. It appears not even the best artists were immune to 90s ambient wank.
A little like OG Lana Del Rey. Cool electronica style.
Easily the best Madonna album.
Como no iba a estar Madonna en esta lista. Aunque no me esperaba este disco, muy bueno para volver a esos maravillosos 90's.
This album is without a doubt the singular high watermark for 90s American pop, and potentially Madonna's entire career. Between her other albums, I struggle to pick a favorite between Ray of Light, Madonna and Like a Prayer.
ну бест оф зэ бэст оф зе бест!!!! виллиам орбит лучший
Pop + eurotrance & Madonna
This was great 90s pop, Madonna voice is incredible
A definitive Madonna album. Madonna has constantly reinvented herself with each new album. And through her career until Confessions, she successfully took modern technology and made it her own unmatched by anyone else. Madonna's work has always been tied to synths and electronica, but you can hear the evolution of music in her albums. In Ray of Light, she modifies her Erotica dance and Bedtime Stories R&B strategies with the rising techno scene, which was never that big until Madonna slapped her label onto it. This is an electro-pop masterpiece. It is incredibly well produced, with innovative techno effects that make tracks suitable for dancing, studying, or sitting back and having a drink. Her vocals are mostly influenced while her last two albums, soft and sexy, reflecting the speed and subject matter of the lyrics. Just hear how perfectly entwined her vocals are with the techno sounds in "Skin", I can't believe how perfectly they blend together. There are plenty of perfect tracks on this album. "Drowned World" is such a surreal and sad reflection of her relationship with fame. "Nothing Really Matters" is the friendliest for newcomers and old fans. "Ray of Light" is a perfect dance track, although I admit it sticks out from the other tracks. "Frozen" is like listening to a movie, with dramatic build ups, tense effects, orchestral strings, and spacious yet gloomy vocals. And most of the non-singles are suitable for any dance mix. My only two complaints are that it's super long, and the last few tracks feel like bonus tracks, belonging to Bedtime Stories. I get that dance tracks should be long, 5 minutes, but softer tracks like "Little Star" could be cut a little or just entirely. It's hard for me to decide which Madonna album is my favorite. But I can definitely say this is the one with the least flaws, and combined with its influence and outstanding production, it's one of the best pop albums out there.
I am a Madonna fan. This album is one of the ones in my normal circulation of 10or 20 albums that I listen to on a daily basis and it is GOOD.
Whenever there is a phase in Madonna's career, no matter how brief and noteworthy, it all serves a use for a section of the fanbase to hang their hats on. Ray of Light is the culmination of a return to the public's good graces that began with Bedtime Stories and peaked with her starring role in Evita. Crafting compositions about enlightenment and motherhood, this is Madonna's most mature outing; a record that positions her as a sage for all things groundbreaking and revelatory (not that she wasn't beforehand). Sooner or later, she'll slide back down into dangerous waters of irrelevancy but, for a while, Madonna became someone to love again. This album is proof.
p829. 1998. 5 stars. Madge on top form. Not a weak track on this. Excellent production. Still sounds great 20 years on.
Very surprised how good this was. Sound very trippy
What a brilliant idea to bring in William Orbit as a producer. It’s a match made in heaven with Orbit laying down the catchy but innocuous rhythm tracks and Madonna composing songs over top of them. The album would have sounded super-fresh and club-ready upon release. The first 2 tracks are subtle, not immediately catching your attention and then the title track slaps you in the face. “Skin”, “Sky Fits Heaven” & “Froze” are also classics. Even the mellower ballads are made interesting, listenable and Everything-But-the-Girl-ish by the production.
Madonna always surprises with her creativity: all her albums are different from each other, both in lyrics and melodies. This all ensures that she remains active and extremely interesting over time. This album is no exception, all songs are great and take you on a mystical journey of that time (she changes too, just like Madonna). I still prefer the Madonna of the 80s, but it is undeniable how great this album is.
disco maduro de madonna? fuck I'm in
The album where Madonna remade herself and brought EDM to the mainstream. Solid stuff. Best track: The Power of Good-Bye
Hyvä levy, positiivinen levy ja näin. Vähän nuo intialaiset kikkailut välissä pisti harmittamaan, mutta kokonaisuutena positiivinen, hyvä levy. Madonnasta oli kuva ehkä hieman enemmän joko kasaridiscon tai myöhemmin hieman modernimman discomusan esittäjänä, mutta tämä oli aika rauhallisen miellyttävää musiikkia. Nelosen arvoista menoa!
Great pop with an ambient/trance twist
A nice return to form.
Of the Madonna albums I've listened to, this is definitely my fave. Love that William Orbit production, and I'm a sucker for electronica with world music blended in. Fave track - it always used to be "Frozen", but this time around the title track really jumped out at me. It's quite a tune! Got me pretty energised!
A stunning pop record with incredible diversity. Definitely electronic-based, but I’d argue brings a fair amount of alternative rock to the table as well. Unfortunately drags a bit in the second half. STANDOUTS: -Drowned World / Substitute for Love -Swim -Candy Perfume Girl -Skin -The Power of Good-Bye
Didn't expect this from Madonna
I forgot just how beautiful madonnas voice is. I grew up on OG Madonna and when this album came out, it was “weird” but so Madonna :) I didn’t listen to it much because I was so nostalgic for her old stuff. I realize now just how ahead of our time this sound was. It fits way better into today’s music. <>.
Saved Prior: None Off Rip: Drowned World/Substitute For Love, Swim, Ray of Light, Candy Perfume Girl, The Power of Good-Bye Cutting Edge: None Overall Notes: I really liked this album's vibes. 5 stars? No. But it was a very enjoyable listen despite nothing really happening. A clean 4.
Weaker 4, some of the songs were quite great, however I wouldn't mind if the was about 10 minutes shorter.
Not bad pero prefiero alguno de los anteriores
A really good, nostalgic electro-pop album. Singles like Frozen immediately bring me back to my childhood.
Album being delighted with thick bass with soft and gentle vocals.
мать навалила клубнячка 😎 На самом деле ну Мадонна, хули. До примадонны, канеш, не дотягивает, но марку держит. Отличная фоновая музыка для поддержания приподнятого настроения (кроме первого и финального трека). Особо сказать нечего, песни пустые довольно, как по мне. Слушаются и слушаются. Привлекают внимание только различные экспериментальные вставки, в один момент как будто даже атональный хор каких-то волынок появился, что я вполне бы рассчитывал бы увидеть на альбоме позднего Аукцыона, а не главной поп-певицы девяностых. Драмы довольно часто прикольные сбивки дают, ну и всё такое. За поиск разнообразия вполне могу семёру въебать, жалко ко второй части альбома интересных элементов становится меньше. как-то так, хз
flows really well, some songs better than others but good vibes
Madonna at one of her peaks. Is and was a good sound
pop perfection. I'd heard the titular track before but didn't know its name. more vibey than I expected. nice guitars. I liked the spiritual interlude, reminded me of the Beatles going 2 India. favs: Swim, Skin, Nothing Really Matters, Shanti / Ashtang
This actually bangs in places. Makes me want to be in an early 2000s action film. Could have been trimmed down a bit, but otherwise loved it.
My favorites: Drowned World / Substitute For Love Frozen Sky Fits Heaven The Power Of Good-Bye To Have And Not To Hold
Ya know not bad
ikonik olmuş fazlasıyla
Kolejna odslona Madonny na liscie, tym razem juz z okresu gdzie byla niekwestionowana krolowa popu, a jak to krolowe maja prawa do wszelakich eksperymentow i wyznaczania nowych granic muzycznych, tak wiec Ray of Light jest odsluchem o wiele bardziej zroznicowanym niz like a prayer, a nawet bym powiedzial, ze mniej popowo a bardziej elektronicznie, bo ludzmi odpowiedzialnymi za produkcje sa tu william orbit, patrick leonard i rick nowels, czyli szpece w dziedzinie tri hopu i szeroko pojetej elektroniki co czuc podczas odsluchu, bo plyta brzmi jak cos co mogl wypuscic moby, nie ma tutaj zbyt duzo zywych instrumentow, wszystko jest produkowanie elektronicznie co daje albumowi 2k00 feeling, ale zachowany jest dobry balans pomiedzy trakami wolniejszymi, a kawalkami z wiekszymi bpmami, jesli chodzi o szybkosc albumu, to pacing przypomina tutaj troche sinusoide startuje wolno, zeby osignac najwyzsze bpmy na sky fits heaven, po czym traczek inspirowany hinduizmem i joginizmem shanti/ashtangi, ciekawy i egzotyczny kawalek, bo jest on spiewany w hindi, a tekst pochodzi podobno z tekstow wedyjskich, reszta plyty utrzymana jest tez raczej w wolniejszym tempie, ktory pasuje do kontentu lirycznego jaki serwuje madonna, bo wydaje mi sie, ze plyta jest o wiele bardziej osobista niz poprzedni material ktory mialem okazje sluchac, wiele odniesiec do swojej malej corki, little star jest chyba nawet bezposrednim tekstem o niej do niej, ale odsluch sie troche dluzyl, bo jednak jest to godzina i szesc minut na 13 piosenkach, pomimo tego plycie nie mozna odmowic innowacyjnosci, bo o elektroniczny album popowy z tak pelnym wokalem, ktory jest jeszcze lepszy niz na like a prayer, a calkiem inny od tego ktory znam juz z mtviowej ery madonny z 2k10, jest on pelny a jednak lagodny brzmieniowo i jak kameleon dopasowuje sie on do elektronicznych beatow zaserwowanych przed producerke, ta sinusoida o ktorej mowilem wynika wlasnie z tego, ze praktycznie plyta podzielona jest pomiedzy trzech producentow, wiec kazdy odcisnal na nim pietno swojego stylu poczatek orbitowy, srodkowa czesc leonardowa i koncowka nowelsa, wlasnie dlatego piki plejkowe tez ida wedlug tej zasady po kawalku od kazdego, zaczynajac od poczatku popowa ballada o niezbyt popowym temacie, bo mordach i gwaltach, kolejny sky fits heaven napakowany kontentem joginskowym, bo chyba taka filozofie sobie ogarnela w tamtym czasie, ostatnim kawalkiem na plejke bedzie little star, czyli utwor o ktorym juz wspomnialem wczesniej, kolejny raz poznaje artyste na nowo przez spojrzenie z perspektywny innego albumu, a o ile nie jestem wielkim fanem elektroniki, tak takie jej polaczenie z spojnym kontentem lirycznym i wokalem topowym, jesli chodzi o muzyke popularna naprawde robi robote
very solid, enjoyed it more than I thought.
Fun when it came out. Dated now but broken new ground for her at the time.
It's a William Orbit album innit, and a good William Orbit album at that. It just happens to have Madonna singing over the top. It probably would have been better without Madonna singing on it but then it probably wouldn't have made this list. So there you go.
Madonna reinvents herself again! I'm used to the OG pop Madonna but enjoyed this alternative electronica vibe. I would have personally chosen one of her earlier albums, but reading the Wiki it seems this album was groundbreaking at the time (I'm too young to remember!) As others have said, it was a tad too long, but who am I to argue with the Queen of Pop? I liked 'Frozen' and the title track the most.
At first, I was not really into it. But then the album picked up for me after a few tracks. Skin & Sky Fits Heaven are beautiful. Pleasantly surprised, as this is my first ever listen to a whole Madonna album.
Electronic dance pop. Surprisingly good time.
Her best and includes Frozen, a VFX job from yesteryear
Without the vocals it would sound like a cyberpunk computer game soundtrack, and I don't think the vocals take anything away from that.
Blown away by this one tbh. I like a lot of Madonna's big hits but found the couple of albums of hers that I'd listened to a bit samey and inconsistent This was a massive departure from anything I expected, the opening track set the scene so perfectly- sounded like Enya singing over a Trent Reznor instrumental. Then there's some exploration with trip-hop and big club bangers, with some fantastic sounding synths and a really wide range of instrumentation and grooves. It tailed off slightly for me towards the end, and did start to feel its length, but the mysterious and slinky closing track was another highlight. All in all a great album, very different to what I was expecting, and definitely something I'll revisit
Not what I expected from a Madonna album! It had its naff moments, but a few corkers and just generally a good time. I have been singing Ray of light non-stop for the last few days, which might just eek this one to a 4.
As much as I've enjoyed the "hits" of Madonna, never did I think I'd enjoy a whole album. TIL.
A very solid album. Like the production and more laid back vibe for Madonna
I love this album. I think it's a much more honest Madonna, post her 80s heyday and pre her 'gone a bit mad' era. The production is really good as well. Not all songs are brilliant but overall I do like it a lot
Classic Madge!! Absolutely lovely, great beats, perfect for dancing, interesting sounds, great melodies and lyrics. Sky fits Heaven is absolutely banging and of course Ray of Light what a banger.
I actually like the religiosity of this album, combined with the electronica sounds, which makes it kind of like a meditative trance of an album.
The singles from this album are absolute FIRE! I really enjoy this era of Madonna. The overall flow and point of view here is so cohesive and focused. She's still putting a very trite spin on all of the Eastern ideologies she's exploring, but it is an impressive feat of adaptation and growth for Madonna's music and artistry when you consider where she started. Even though I fucking hate electronica with the fiery burning of a 1000 suns, somehow I like it when it's been heavily distilled through Madonna.
Probably her best album. Her first album is massively underrated but sounds a bit dated. Having not listen to this one in ages, it's definitely got that late 90s sound in parts . 24 years old and yet feels like yesterday... Not listened to it in a bit so had forgotten some of the songs. A few listens in and it all comes flooding back She still doesn't get her dues as a songwriter.
a la madonna
She was veering dangerously close to a Fat Elvis period, only to successfully pull off something of a miracle. It was ahead of its time and blazed a new path for pop music. Further proof that Midge could always pivot and often times be vital.
A different side of Madonna that I had not known until now. Pulling inspiration from the rise of downtempo and trip hop sounds over in the UK, Ray of Light is a definite departure from her usual dance-pop that got her famous in the first place. This is a bold and rewarding move for her, in my opinion, as she utilizes her voice in a way that compliments the new electronic production. Producer William Orbit is equally deserving of praise, as his work in Downtempo on Strange Cargo 2 and 3 helped paved the way for the sound on Ray of Light. For how well-executed this album is, it still feels marred by tracks that could have been cut. "Shanti / Ashtangi" showcases Madonna's passing interest in Hinduism at the time, pulling from Indian pop in a way that feels more like co-opting than honoring. "Candy Perfume Girl" feels like it could have been a cut from an earlier Madonna song that was touched up for the downtempo sound. It leads to things getting overly long. The overall product is stunning regardless. I am fascinated by this move from Madonna, and have a lot of respect for her as a result. Absolutely worth being on the list.
absolutely beautiful, but not incredibly consistent, the great songs are amazing but there are quite a few skips imo
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Ray of light, Frozen, Nothing really matters
Better than a lot of pop artists today. Ok for background listening. A little to electro for me
Hey, her voice definitely got better in the 10-year gap between this and "Like A Prayer" so that's nice. I didn't hate this. In fact, I... I think I kind of liked it. I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you! The vibe here is solid. An hour is too much, though. It definitely wore me out by the end but it's still super solid overall.
That Shanti song can fuck right off to cultural appropriation hell but the rest of the album is solid. Not music I love but it all has a perfectly nice groove, perfect for focusing on work. Don't pay too much attention to some of the silly pop lyrics though.
I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but honestly this album was better than I thought it would be. For a pop album, it's very moody and introspective. The electronic music is not groundbreaking for the period, but it's also revolutionary compared to where pop was at when this album was released. The songs are consistently good, and I never felt like this album was pandering. The production is excellent and each song seems to flow into the next in a way that makes it really easy to put on and just listen to 4/5
petit bonus car album hivernal très bien tombé
Great mix of dance pop, bass-heavy club jams, world music and atmospheric electronica. The production is phenomenal and the music isn’t formulaic and cookie-cutter like a lot of pop music today. There’s some really cool choices and instrumentation. The songwriting is very strong too! Man, “Ray of Light” is an incredible song. One of those dance tracks that can turn your living room into a club. Impossible to resist. Highlights for me after the first listen or two: “Swim,” “Ray of Light,” “Candy Perfume Girl,” “Ashanti/Ashtangi”
Spiritual Madonna with trance tracks. I was never a huge fan of the song Ray of Light but have always enjoyed the album as a whole. Little Star was an ode to her eldest daughter, Lourdes, which always warms me, and Frozen is one of my favorite songs of all-time - I can listen to it on a loop & the video is spectacular. Solid 4.
This is pure nostalgia for me and it turns out may also have been the origin album for my new found love of Trip Hop. Ray of Light, Frozen, etc are among my favorite Madonna songs. Post-Evita Madonna with this album and Music is peak Madonna for me. Also, creeper - this isn't a 3, so SMD!
7/10. I liked all of this, but I wouldn't listen through the whole album again.
top 3 mejores discos de madonna este disco es increible tiene una produccion tremenda un uso de los sintetizadores inmejorable combinado con unos breaks de bateria que aportan mucho al disco y a la atmosfera del mismo tema favorito:skin
Really enjoyed it. 2 bangers of singles and the filler was alot better than expected
Wow... Creative, engaging, satisfying, this album caught me off guard and then some
Very consistent cohesive album. I liked it.
Can't say I've ever listened to a full Madonna album before, this is really good! Great dance music, lush soundscapes, great voice, great beats, I'm impressed. No wonder people like her so much. It's a little too long though.
Definitely a bit of a surprise. I was very aware of most of the singles on this album and have heard, and played, them quite a bit in my life. Frozen, Ray Of Light, Power Of Goodbye are one by one incredibly strong songs, written by a very talented songwriter. The album might not be strong throughout - there's certainly some filler on here and the album could lose some minutes - but it also has a few songs that might just be the best Madonna has released in her career, especially the very danceable tracks 'Sky Fits Heaven' and 'Skin' A solid 4*
6.5/10 FT: Frozen
Part white lady spiritual, part trip hop. Way too long. I enjoyed it at first but an hour is way too much of this. Favorite tracks: "Candy Perfume Girl", "Skin"
Fine pop, it did seem a bit...overindulgent.
Madonna. Kind of a middling Madonna album. It was okay. Ray of Light was pretty good. Everything else was kinda whatever? It's Madonna, what else do you want?
First time listening to a Madonna album and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked the production and most of all I didn’t expect it to be so personal and mature. Its an okay 90’s pop album but has too much misses. 6.2/10
Decent album, but not Madonna's best.
Pretty good album very late 90s with some of the electronic music of the day. Singles are great but rest of the album is mostly ambient and nothing too mind blowing