NEW MUSIC EAR 1990s - MADONNA - "RAY OF LIGHT"
DROWNED WORLD/SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE - This opening track on Madonna's 7th studio album reached number 10 on the UK singles chart. The album as a whole has a much fuller pure vocal from Madonna and this song has a very eclectic mash up of sounds. There is a little Trip Hop, Pop and Techno hints while keeping the beautiful melodious backing keeping a mysterious ambient air.
SWIM - A very open Trip Hop style similar to Morcheeba with some great vocal changes happening through the song, another great melody and some nice Acoustic guiitars too. The production on this album is superb, in headphones you can hear every little sound spinning around your head.
RAY OF LIGHT - The title track and a Madonna classic, although very different from her 80s Disco tracks. This is a brilliant frenetic Pop, Club, Disco, Rock, Electronica crossover. Should have been number 1 but reached number 2 in the UK chart. Love this track and a real favourite of mine.
CANDY PERFUME GIRL - Written with William Orbit and Susannah Melvoin (sister of Wendy from The Revolution and Wendy and Lisa). A superb medium paced Electronic Rock/Techno hybrid. Another gem from this album.
SKIN - A fast paced Synth Pop styled track with a little Techno and Trip Hop added. Reminds me a little of Kraftwerk and New Order combined. A really cool track.
NOTHING REALLY MATTERS - The intro reminds me of "Frozen", a very passionate and emotional vocal over a mystical, minimal electronic backing. Then it kicks in to a quicker tempo and an Electronic Dance track. It is not one of my favourites but it reached number 7 in the UK chart. Something is missing for me but its still a good song but not on a par with the previous 5 tracks.
SKY FITS HEAVEN - A more moodier version of "Ray Of Light", a pulsating, throbbing beat with various electronic sounds making it an engaging song. It is like Madonna is singing a real Pop song in front of this Techno style beat. Normally this would be a bad idea but this works, a good experimental track.
SHANTI/ASHTANGI - Adapted from text by Shankaracharya, taken from the Yoga Taravali, this Asian inspired track is like a funky mantra. A pounding beat with various vocal chants interspersed with Madonna's reading of text. Unusual but still very cool, the last time I heard an Asian inspired Pop song was Monsoon's "Ever So Lonely"!
FROZEN - This was Madonna's first single since 1990's "Vogue" to hit top spot in the UK. Well deserved, it is a beautifully sung atmospheric Ambient/Electronica ballad. It is mystical, sombre and uplifting in large amounts. A Madonna classic and another of my favourites.
THE POWER OF GOOD-BYE - Reaching number 6 in the UK singles chart this great melancholic Electronica ballad has Madonna in top form again. Both this and "Frozen" showcase Madonna's singing voice that had been much maligned in the early days. Since playing Eva Peron in "Evita" and having those singing lessons her voice became more awesome. This should have elevated her to more mature audiences in the future but she has regressed a little.
TO HAVE AND NOT TO HOLD - This track has nice moments but this slow tempo electronic fails to grab me. It is a bit slow going and doesn't lift up much throughout apart from the occasional vocal "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" that changes the mood for a brief second.
LITTLE STAR - This song is about daughter Lourdes and Madonna gives everything vocally, there is a passion and emotion in her lyrics and a love. A really nice, relaxing and uplifitng listen. The Electronic Techno backing is minimal and allows Madonna's vocals to lead the song.
MER GIRL - Another beautiful song, with Madonna's vocals at the fore carrying the track. The very slight orchestrated Electronica backing makes it almost Acoustic and the sound is mysterious, sensual and light. Great end to a fine album.
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