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Madonna - Ray Of Light.....3rd March celebrates 15 years!


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Old 02-03-2013, 22:44
Josh Pinder
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15 years ago the album Ray Of Light was released unto the (drowned) world...time has FLOWN by! I was just turned 6 at the time and remember the summer having it in the car all the time (eventually in time i bought my own copy) but it brings so many memories.....i think for me i have it as my third favourite album interchanged with American Life and COADF in the same position (always find it tough to rank the third position album...LAP is my all time fave and Erotica holds second FIRMLY).

first memories....well i remember her performance on the Lottery with Frozen and being just so fixated...and very much freaked out by it too (kinda like when i saw Alien or Blade Runner for the very first time...a scary beauty) along with the Frozen video by Chris Cunningham too....the performance is here...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQChu-ddjbE

of course Ray Of Light was such an interesting album in so many ways....it is a HYBRID, it personifies an era where Hollywood was shaking a lot up (American Beauty, The Matrix, Fight Club, the Scream Franchise.....the film industry was self aware and mixing it up a lot) the media was at an all time high...the paparazzi and the death of Princess Di shook the world...even i was in tears at that point! absurd but so raw...and of cours emusic was seeing Bjork, The Prodigy (signed by Madonna with her own company Maverick records for US audiences) Daft Punk were going from underground to mainstream....and the "popular trend" was the rise of Bubblegum/Teen Pop...Nsync, Bakstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Destinys Child and indeed a miss Britney Spears! so for Madonna to pull a complete opposite on "what is cool/popular" and make something which was and is "so cool and eventually popular" was considered something awe inspiring especially since being "written off" after Bedtime Stories and venturing into Evita/musicals for a more "soft" image for 4 years running....i mean who could expect a massive turnaround?

The very fact that by late 1999 she already had achieved critical and commercial recognition to rival the Like A Prayer album...it sold and was well recieved as much....almost a decade later and stil reaching that status and FINALLY despite several times snubbed (due to controversial messages/media/hysteria and never wanting their hands dirty) the grammys FINALLY recognised Madonnas talents (LAV, TB and LAP were previous holders of the Best Pop Album, Album Of The Year award but were snubbed due to controversies within each era...very unfair considering what gets nominated...and wins now!) and further garnered her a new lease of attention, focus for the future

Speaking of which Madonna herself was very self aware....she absorbed the current media crisises (crisees?) into her work, she absorbed the adapting world, she absorbed her personal cultural shift...embracing Kaballah, becoming a new mother, reflecting on where she has been and where she is going...it paints a collage...even in her look and manner its striking (as every Madonna reinvention is) intense but also left-of-centre...lets take a look at the videos across the album/era

Frozen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS088Opj9o0

Ray Of Light

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4tD8dy9Reg

Drowned World/Substitute For Love (look closely here!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEItzaWmSwY

Power Of goodbye

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHydngA5C4E

&
Nothing Really Matters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAVx9RKaLPU

watching these 5 videos are like pieces of the puzzle that makes up the album...the media, the orient, the ambience, the trip hop/psychadelia and the idea of fast paced neon-futurism it is all there and then some....the blur of Indian tribal feel/the Orient blended it with House/Trance/Electronica scopes is something to behold....

if you have heard the album, experienced it all....please share...if you havent here is the album....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TaTG_77BKw

And share ideas....is it your favourite, where do you rank it, how do you feel 15 years on? how does it stand now?....feel free to add away...post your fave moments, live eprformances etc.
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:50
wizzywick
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Sadly Josh, while Ray of Light was superb at the time, it is an album I rarely listen to now. I think it's up there with her best, but it does sound dated in comparison to some of her other stuff. I also get bored when hearing it. Unlike COADF which I still get lots of pleasure from when listening.
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:55
Josh Pinder
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Sadly Josh, while Ray of Light was superb at the time, it is an album I rarely listen to now. I think it's up there with her best, but it does sound dated in comparison to some of her other stuff. I also get bored when hearing it. Unlike COADF which I still get lots of pleasure from when listening.
Thats why we are all diferent Wizzy...i wont attack ya for it unlike others whenevr i seem to say "i play True Blue the least and its my least fave" and then i get a plethora of "why the f-ck is it your least fave??" it just is mate chill, i stil lappreciate it but hey

i agree in that Ray Of Light does have that "era" of late 90s "change" feel about it and it brings so many memories with its sound too that echoes back...but also i feel the fact that it didnt conform to the "trend" of the late 90s it has so much timelessness to it too...Madonna, Leonard teamed up with Orbit really made for soemthing magical i feel and very different...it is funny you mention COADF too Wizzy as i get that energetic yet calming feel with that too...a beautiful blend
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:55
Hav_mor91
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Sadly Josh, while Ray of Light was superb at the time, it is an album I rarely listen to now. I think it's up there with her best, but it does sound dated in comparison to some of her other stuff. I also get bored when hearing it. Unlike COADF which I still get lots of pleasure from when listening.
I agree it's one of those albums that sounded better at the time and the critical impact and impact on poipular culture has perhaps sustained it more than the music itself. That isn't to deter from what is a fantastic and flawless album that is a spiritual as it is pop and its like yousaid JP that hybrid of so many things that awards it greatness.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:00
Josh Pinder
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I agree it's one of those albums that sounded better at the time and the critical impact and impact on poipular culture has perhaps sustained it more than the music itself. That isn't to deter from what is a fantastic and flawless album that is a spiritual as it is pop and its like yousaid JP that hybrid of so many things that awards it greatness.
Totally i feel like the grammys and that reception was like 15 years of hard earned work and it was a make up for it...while she recieved attention everywhere else...the grammys were always a fickle bunch!

And yeah i do agree in that some sounds can be repetetive perhaps at times....which is why i get gutted when follow up Music gets knocked a lot when in many ways it shook so much up in sound and scope too....deserved its own respect but alas...power of Madonna for ya

but ROL was a massive gamble...and as she always says "she never knows whether it will be a massive success or total failure" luckily she still hasnt had any of the latter....and thankfully here it was mostly the former.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:05
Theshane
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I will say that, although I think Madonna is piss, Drowned World is the only Madonna song I own. I thought and still think it is a brilliant record.
It might have been something to do with her slow motion bra less running in the video. And it being kind of brilliant.
Personally its the last decent song she did.
But then I think Borderline is the best thing she's done .
Maybe I never her forgave her for ruining Dick Tracy
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:07
Hav_mor91
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Totally i feel like the grammys and that reception was like 15 years of hard earned work and it was a make up for it...while she recieved attention everywhere else...the grammys were always a fickle bunch!

And yeah i do agree in that some sounds can be repetetive perhaps at times....which is why i get gutted when follow up Music gets knocked a lot when in many ways it shook so much up in sound and scope too....deserved its own respect but alas...power of Madonna for ya

but ROL was a massive gamble...and as she always says "she never knows whether it will be a massive success or total failure" luckily she still hasnt had any of the latter....and thankfully here it was mostly the former.
So true this year proved to me it might not be the all knowing body they think they are

And i think ROL is perfect in that you hear it and it takes you back its sound may not be timless no the context in which it was created but the main ideas hold it together and that is what keeps it going. Music again of its time a weaker extension of ROL again great ideas if not as consistent strong or exciting. but again a gamble like Rol i think after years of playing it safe she had nothing to lose and went **** and thus Madonna the artist reemerged
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:13
Josh Pinder
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what i personally dislike is this whole "comeback" attatchment....it by far is not anywhere near a "comeback record" i always think that tag is cheap and sell out in style...i mean marketers use it when they say "its not as good as what they did in their heyday...but its more commercial than their last three albums and u may like a handful of songs" to sell it...Madonna went nowehere in terms of status and power...i mean heck she, Princess Di and Marilyn Monroe are the most photographed and talked about women of the 20th Century,,,,so with all that if anything it just simply heightened everything in that period of time too...its how she uses her POWER her artistry and creativity...something we do need more of and yearn for more

and totally....the grammys are not a be all and end all...while i dislike him Morrisey is true...acts like Beyonce and Bieber and whoever they get all these awards from grammys and they have minimal/nowt to offer the world and true artists rarely get recognition...its annoying!
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:16
Josh Pinder
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I will say that, although I think Madonna is piss, Drowned World is the only Madonna song I own. I thought and still think it is a brilliant record.
It might have been something to do with her slow motion bra less running in the video. And it being kind of brilliant.
Personally its the last decent song she did.
But then I think Borderline is the best thing she's done .
Maybe I never her forgave her for ruining Dick Tracy
thanks for the comment Theshane...and while i wholly disagree with so much there i do agree she has lovely bosums and Drowned World is a sublime song and indeed video..and have loved every live performance of it to date...her Confessions one in particular is sublime!

And Borderline i agree is a great song and a favourite too

as for Dick Tracey it is one of my favourite movies and i think she was ELECTRIC as Breathless Mahoney! adore the Im Breathless album too....my fave era 1989 - 1991 the Retro/COmic/Coolness was so very IN
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:22
Hav_mor91
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what i personally dislike is this whole "comeback" attatchment....it by far is not anywhere near a "comeback record" i always think that tag is cheap and sell out in style...i mean marketers use it when they say "its not as good as what they did in their heyday...but its more commercial than their last three albums and u may like a handful of songs" to sell it...Madonna went nowehere in terms of status and power...i mean heck she, Princess Di and Marilyn Monroe are the most photographed and talked about women of the 20th Century,,,,so with all that if anything it just simply heightened everything in that period of time too...its how she uses her POWER her artistry and creativity...something we do need more of and yearn for more

and totally....the grammys are not a be all and end all...while i dislike him Morrisey is true...acts like Beyonce and Bieber and whoever they get all these awards from grammys and they have minimal/nowt to offer the world and true artists rarely get recognition...its annoying!
I actually think M was very shrewd and clever she ahd something to say and was lucky enough to say it in that period. Dian had died in tragic circumstances and the world at large was retreating from that Hollywood glamour and looking inward. It was the time of ambient chill out, trip-hop, electro, and spiritualism and Madonna had success as she wasn't embracing or creating she was part of something bigger that she in turn impacted on something i think she never has done since or would do again as the time of release was a culturally weird time a gentle hush and a lull before the teen pop boom.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:26
Theshane
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thanks for the comment Theshane...and while i wholly disagree with so much there i do agree she has lovely bosums and Drowned World is a sublime song and indeed video..and have loved every live performance of it to date...her Confessions one in particular is sublime!

And Borderline i agree is a great song and a favourite too

as for Dick Tracey it is one of my favourite movies and i think she was ELECTRIC as Breathless Mahoney! adore the Im Breathless album too....my fave era 1989 - 1991 the Retro/COmic/Coolness was so very IN
It was obvious she'd picked up on the Bristol Beat thing. The whole Massive Attack trip hop thing.
The reasons I didn't like it was because, personally, Massive Attack and Tricky and Portishead, were making far better more interesting records. It was like those guys were the Oranges to her Kia Ora.
And hey, Madonna issues aside, I flicking love Dick Tracy. It's possibly the most comic book like comic book adaptation I've ever seen, like Ang Lee's Hulk. But that's a film forum topic. Anyway ignoring the last thing i said, Body of Evidence. The later is mostly for the same reasons I like the Drowned World video. Just with less clothing and more wax.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:29
Theshane
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I forgot to say, going back to Borderline, that is one of my most favourite choruses on a song ever. Really seriously I think its one of the best. No idea why. It's a gut thing.
Although to paraphrase Highe Fidelity, I've been listening to my gut all my life and I've come to the decision my gut knows shit.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:45
Josh Pinder
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gut feeling tends to be a way forward....i tend to speak from the soul a bit more...cos im freaky like that

but it is a defiitely each to their own world...and i always love an explaination and an insight into why/how you think/feel these things....thats why i love music and art etc the way i do....

speaking of Tricky and Massive Attack and Portishead...again so of an era...and am so glad Madonna KNEW of them too to cite such influence...wished theyd worked together more often...but still Massive Attack on her beautifu rendition of Marvins I Want You was so intense and trippy! wiched Massive Attack and Madonna worked together again ..never say never....but yeah it encaptured that Ambience direction withn the album i adore.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:51
chrissielatham
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My favourite Madonna album - 15 years

Oh gosh memories of Frozen, Ray of Light, The Power of Goodbye and the brilliant Nothing Really Matters

Loved all the videos to these songs too!

15years............
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:58
Josh Pinder
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My favourite Madonna album - 15 years

Oh gosh memories of Frozen, Ray of Light, The Power of Goodbye and the brilliant Nothing Really Matters

Loved all the videos to these songs too!

15years............
it is so scary how time flies by...its darn INSANE!

And ttally...it does reinvoke memories of childhood and yes the way the rhythms still hold up and lyrics and her vocals.....it is magical!
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:07
chrissielatham
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Josh help me out, was Ray of Light a sort of comeback album for her? I remember when Frozen went to number 1 there was so much hype because Madonna was 'back' but she hadn't really faded had she???

I remember around 1995/6 being in love with the Something To Remember album, You'll See, Oh Father and One More Chance
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:34
Josh Pinder
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Josh help me out, was Ray of Light a sort of comeback album for her? I remember when Frozen went to number 1 there was so much hype because Madonna was 'back' but she hadn't really faded had she???

I remember around 1995/6 being in love with the Something To Remember album, You'll See, Oh Father and One More Chance
Bah, like i said previously "comeback albums" are tagged that for commercial flagging....Ray Of Light was merely another defining moment....i mean she had non stop top 5, top 10 hits across the 90s anyway and her albums Erotica - STR were narrowly missed from the top (very narrowly...almost criminally!) it was merely a 4 year studio album follow up with a big amount of weight behind it which ensured commercial success on a bigger level...so not a "comeback record" but more of a "never write me off" album

And yeah STR had a corker handful of "new" ballads on there each of which went to the top 10 in the UK too
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:37
Josh Pinder
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having said that...there were some majorly EPIC "comeback records" my fave being Kate Bush and Arial in 2005 after 13 years away!

here is a Metacritic "list"

http://www.metacritic.com/feature/be...omeback-albums

so basically - marketing tool, a return to form after many flops, or merely so many years inbetween.
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:41
chrissielatham
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Bah, like i said previously "comeback albums" are tagged that for commercial flagging....Ray Of Light was merely another defining moment....i mean she had non stop top 5, top 10 hits across the 90s anyway and her albums Erotica - STR were narrowly missed from the top (very narrowly...almost criminally!) it was merely a 4 year studio album follow up with a big amount of weight behind it which ensured commercial success on a bigger level...so not a "comeback record" but more of a "never write me off" album

And yeah STR had a corker handful of "new" ballads on there each of which went to the top 10 in the UK too
Yes, I agree couldn't have put this much better myself! I loved this era of Madonna so much. I remember being completely entranced by the Frozen video! I love how this lady completely transforms and reinvents herself. Totally rocks it! The true Queen of Pop!
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:46
Josh Pinder
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Yes, I agree couldn't have put this much better myself! I loved this era of Madonna so much. I remember being completely entranced by the Frozen video! I love how this lady completely transforms and reinvents herself. Totally rocks it! The true Queen of Pop!
Definitely and cheers

Yeah and i do hope that after two more "neutral" eras in terms of visual./musical blend mash up we are ready to have a new Madonna reinvention musically and in imagery....i do hope so...she has experimented with wigs/looks recently...here is hoping!
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Old 03-03-2013, 00:46
Josh Pinder
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Plus there is no other....only one MADONNA!
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:01
chrissielatham
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Yep you are right! Only one! You've got this lady down to a tee! I like your style

Although not my number 1 favourite singer (that is Miss Cyndi Lauper) Madonna is a singer who has shaped and influenced my lovevfor music and can define specific eras of music in my life, she isn't someone who was there in music when I was younger and then faded away, but rather is constantly re-imagining herself. It's all like a long journey that her fans go on with her
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:48
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To be honest I think Ray Of Light is timeless. It hasn't aged at all so I am surprised to hear people think it has. A couple of the tracks probably sound old in production but so many could be released right now and be hits. Songs like Drowned World, Candy Perfume Girl, Swim, Ray Of Light and Power Of Goodbye are songs that will always be relevant because that sound is always around. Its a indie genre which there is always a market for. Unlike say dance or garage which usually comes and goes in trends every 10 years with different textures. I mean RnB is now dance. Indie will always be Indie. While there is electronica/techno in Ray Of Light its Indie at heart although not as Indie as Music was.

Ray Of Light was defo a moment where you had to be there to experience it however. It wasn't a comeback because she hadn't been away. Thanks to Take A Bow she had one of her biggest ever hits in America and Evita speaks for itself. She was still very much current. It was just a complete reinvention. Her first record since becoming a mother and many viewed it as Madonna finally growing up and entering the next phase of her career.. Frozen is one of the best videos she ever did but Ray Of Light was the one that took all the awards. The Power Of Goodbye is imho her best ever ballad and there isn't one track on the album itself that could be decribed as filler. Its truly a work of art. She finally won all the critics over. The buzz was totally unreal and she hasn't had that sort of success since. Although I lie, Music got just as much praise - 4 million sold in two weeks! thats how you do it! Thats why I get annoyed when I see her singing shit like Girl Gone Wild thesedays.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:07
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I love Sky Fits Heaven.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:25
Hit Em Up Style
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I love Sky Fits Heaven.
I love the tour performance of that

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53VzQxeZ0e8

I also think one of Ray Of Light's successes if down to Madonna's voice change. After 1995 her tone altered due to the intense vocal training she was made to undertake for Evita. Thats why I always put Madonna's career into two halves. While I think her best work is Ray Of Light and American Life, her voice was way better when it had that uncontrolled emotional rawness pre 1995 (see Sooner or Later and then compare it to this vocal for the best example of the tone change) however ROF and AL wouldn't work had it not been for Madonna's tone changing. So it worked out for the best.
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