Madonna – Ray Of Light Album – 1998

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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 ambienttrip hoppsychedelic 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. 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 universal 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. It has continued to be critically acclaimed by 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.[1] 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 many countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and has sold over 16 million copies worldwide.

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.


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