AOTY 2019

Ray of Light

Madonna - Ray of Light
Critic Score
Based on 6 reviews
1998 Ratings: #14 / 92
User Score
Based on 418 ratings
1998 Ratings: #7
March 3, 1998 / Release Date
LP / Format
Maverick, Warner Bros. / Label
Pop, Dance / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
Entertainment Weekly

Throbbing yet meditative, Ray of Light is an adult’s version of dance music, with the dark timbres of Madonna’s nearing-40 voice its resolute center.

90
AllMusic

Her most mature and restrained album, which is an easy achievement to admire, yet not necessarily an easy one to love.

80
Rolling Stone

Ray of Light sums up the best we can expect from Madonna at this late date: overly arty, occasionally catchy, confused, secondhand, infuriating and great fun in spite of herself.

80
Slant Magazine
Orbit's cycles of analog synths and electric guitar licks perfectly supplement the elasticity of Madonna's then-newly-trained vocal chords.
80
NME
This is quite clearly a record with something to prove.
luvmelancolie
98
Real ARTPOP
musicmagpie55
90
Ray of Light is Madonna's near-masterpiece and one of my favorite albums of all time. Beyond having some of my favorite Madonna singles ('Frozen,' 'Nothing Really Matters,' the title track), the album is a wonderful reflection on pop's spiritual potential. Time collapses as Madonna considers her past and her future through the sounds of the present; she transforms the dance floor into an asylum from trauma. It is Madonna's most ambitious and personal record, a sparkling jewel at the top of the ... read more
RakkSmells
88
[Genre: Dance]

So to answer my question on whether the "dance" music was square dancing or break dancing... I guess it's neither?

Well I can't say I expected that! On Ray Of Light, Madonna incorporates elements of drum and bass and trip hop, and most of the time it sounds great! The combination works surprisingly well with her voice, and while sometimes it can feel dated (and also a tad bit long) it doesn't really matter a lot since I enjoyed this album quite a lot.

favourite ... read more
EMR
47
The pop queen flirts closely with 90s electronica, trip-hop and even drum n bass on her most celebrated release, Ray of Light. The whole thing is very well produced and breathes with the same kind of peace and comfort that she preached after discovering kabbalah, leading to a very zen-like overall sound. The problem, though, is how the vocals are layered in the mix, not rarely buried inside the bright instrumentals and performed in such monochromatic, comfortable way it gets difficult to ... read more
Aquarium_Drunk
74
So I guess this is what a 1998 artpop album sounds like. The production choices are interesting and it's cool to see Madonna pushing some boundaries but the studio trickery on here all sounds a little dated in 2019. I don't think the technology was really there yet to deliver exactly what Madonna wanted. However, it is still really impressive for the time,
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Year End Lists

#19/Pitchfork

Track List

  1. Drowned World/Substitute for Love
  2. Swim
  3. Ray of Light
  4. Candy Perfume Girl
  5. Skin
  6. Nothing Really Matters
  7. Sky Fits Heaven
  8. Shanti/Ashtangi
  9. Frozen
  10. The Power of Good-Bye
  11. To Have and Not to Hold
  12. Little Star
  13. Mer Girl  
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Added on: July 7, 2013