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Ray of Light

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Audio CD, March 3, 1998
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Ray of Light + Confessions on a Dance Floor + Music
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Never underestimate Madonna's power of persuasion: By nearly all critical accounts, Ray of Light, Madonna's first album of new material since 1994's Bedtime Stories, and her first since motherhood, is her richest, most accomplished record yet. While Ray of Light is being tagged as Madonna's big leap into electronica, it's important to note two things: First, her music has always had close ties to dance culture, and, second, her collaborator William Orbit is no Chemical Brother. Though it has all the latest blips, bleeps, and crackles electronica has to offer, Ray of Light is still largely an adult album, completely within Madonna's realm. Still, Orbit's tasteful sonic constructions provide Madonna with her most adventurous, hippest musical backdrop ever. What's more, the arrangements and production are understated enough to highlight an even bigger development: Fresh from singing lessons on the Evita set, Madonna's vocal range, depth, and clarity have never been stronger. But larger pipes don't necessarily make for deeper, truer music. Never a master lyricist, Madonna's words have worked best when they've practically been slogans ("Vogue," "Express Yourself"). This time she goes for more emotional depth, and even tries her hand at ethno-techno-mysticism ("Shanti/Ashtangi"). She largely stumbles, however. The tone conveyed on songs like "Nothing Really Matters" is a self-centered pat on the back that belies her claim to a newfound altruism. It's enough to make you wonder, now that Madonna's given up being our material girl, if maybe she's set her sights on becoming the center of our spiritual world too. --Roni Sarig

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Drowned World/Substitute For Love 5:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Swim 5:00$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Ray Of Light 5:21$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Candy Perfume Girl 4:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. Skin 6:21$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Nothing Really Matters 4:29$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. Sky Fits Heaven 4:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. Shanti/Ashtangi 4:28$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. Frozen 6:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. The Power Of Good-Bye 4:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. To Have And Not To Hold 5:22$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Little Star 5:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Mer Girl 5:31$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 3, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: March 3, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002NJS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (887 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,247 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By John Jones on January 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Family matters have always been a good forum for Madonna. After all, 1989's "Like a Prayer," dealing with the breakup of her marriage, her mother's death, and her complicated relationship with her father, shattered the notion that Madonna was an artist best relied on for singles; the deep and expressive set made for a mature album that could be enjoyed from start to finish. Unfortunately, subsequent recordings weren't as sharp: "Erotica" and "Bedtime Stories" definitely had their moments but just as surely had their share of filler. Luckily for us, "Ray of Light" picks up on the flip side of "Like a Prayer": this time around, Madonna's the parent, and the topic of family provides a springboard for musings on love versus fame and what a grown adult considers truly important. Adding to the mix is her collaboration with electronica producer William Orbit, making "Ray of Light" one of the most mature and satisfying albums of dance music you're likely to ever hear.
And while the opening track gets things off to an unexpected start with a hypnotic slice of slow rock, the lyrics of "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" set the pace of the record: "I traded fame for love/without a second thought...I found myself in crowded rooms/feeling so alone." Halfway through the song the music backs off and Madonna distances herself from side-effects of fame: "no famous faces, far off places/trinkets I can buy/no handsome stranger, heady danger/drug that I can try." As the list continues the decibel level grows until both Madonna and her music are at an in-your-face level, clearly declaring that fame may be nice but enough is enough.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By JGC on August 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is Madonna's work of art. And this CD is the very best collection of any music she has ever produced since "Erotica." Madonna's lyrics are beautiful and strong because even after 9 years it still stands the test of time. It's completely impossible for this CD to be dated; with the electronica feel to it and fast moving dance numbers, such as the title-track this CD was way ahead of its time. Even in the double-00's "Ray of Light" is still very important as both a dance record and a record of reflection and interpersonal renewal.

Besides the song, "Ray of Light," I also adore "Frozen." This was the perfect song to be the lead-single because it mixed both the old and new Madonna into one. "Frozen" also helped resonate a steady flow of continuity.

I also love the song "Shanti/Ashtangi." In this song Madonna sings a very pretty melody in Sanskrit that is both unique and uplifting. I don't know what she's saying but I do know that I want to keep listening. I wish she would have done an entire CD like this (although she did release a similar song, "Music's" B-side, "Cyberraga" in 2000.)

Some of the other truly magical tracks on this CD are: "Swim" "Skin" and "Sky Fits Heaven." These songs are like pieces to an intricate quilt that come perfectly together. "Ray of Light" is almost like one big tune because all the songs on this CD live as one in perfect harmony.

Why is this CD so perfect? Because it mixes the old with the new. It includes a very young sound that still sounds familiar and welcoming. "Ray of Light" totally reminds me of Madonna's two other greatest masterpieces, "Erotica" and "Like A Prayer."

This is the Madonna that I truly love because this CD was so unique and artistic.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on August 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Madonna has managed to manipulate the media with her outspoken nature and undeniable wit. She has also kept people in suspense by constantly changing her look. People have wanted her career to end, but she is still around and will be around for a long time. Also, some Madonna fans aren't sure that they like her new sound. Do not underestimate Madonna, for she has always managed to surprise us.
Ray of Light is the most artistic and creative album Madonna has ever recorded. Instead of trying a new look (although she did), she decided to try a new sound. Ray of Light is filled with electronic music and edgy dance songs. The result is brilliant. Her voice is stronger than ever and her sound is a lot more refined -- very different from the pop ditties she recorded in the past. Yes, she is not as outspoken as she used to be, but then again she has evolved as a person and as an artist. I love "The Power of Goodbye"; the lyrics are very touching. I also like "Ray of Light," "Frozen," "Nothing Really Matters," and "Skin." The songs have a common theme: spirituality and self-discovery.
I urge you to purchase this incredible CD. And for all of you reluctant Madonna fans out there: Madonna is better than ever. Give this CD a whirl.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel González on July 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
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