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Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ Turns 25: Songs Ranked From Worst to Best

todayFebruary 22, 2023

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It seems hard to imagine now, what with all the provocative TikToks, trap remixes and tour announcements in which she asks Amy Schumer how she licks a certain part of her husband’s anatomy. But there was a time back in the mid-1990s when Madonna appeared to be settling into adult contemporary respectability.

There was Something to Remember, the 1995 compilation that rounded up her ballads. A year later came Evita, the big-screen adaptation of a Broadway musical that saw her belt out Andrew Lloyd Webber-composed classics like “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” (and nabbed her a Golden Globe). Not to mention her mid-‘90s smash “Take a Bow” — a demure, lush love song co-written by Babyface that topped the Adult Contemporary chart and became her longest-running Hot 100 No. 1 ever.

Of course, they don’t call Madge the Master of Reinvention for nothing. Exquisitely co-produced by then-relatively unknown ambient maestro William Orbit, her seventh studio album, Ray of Light, proved to be her most forward-thinking, a vibrant amalgamation of trip-hop, trance, techno and countless other electronic genres that don’t necessarily begin with the letter ‘T.’

Heavily informed by the birth of her daughter Lourdes and her newfound interest in all things spiritual, Ray of Light undeniably restored Madonna’s reputation as the Queen of Pop. Not only did it notch the highest first-week sales by a female artist in the Nielsen SoundScan Era up until that point, but it spawned four Hot 100 hits, won four Grammy Awards and has sold 3.9 million copies in the U.S., per Luminate. It’s also generated 123.1 million on-demand official U.S. streams to date, according to Luminate.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary (Feb. 22), here’s a ranking of the career-defining record which proved that she could still very much dance.

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todayFebruary 22, 2023

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