Are you sitting down? It has been 20 years since Madonna‘s seminal album, Ray of Light dropped. In early March, 1998 it debuted with a new sound and her video for Frozen. According to Rolling Stone,
“This was her avant-techno move, with U.K. producer William Orbit. It was her spiritual-awakening statement. But Ray of Light holds up as her most soulful and passionate music ever – a libido-crazed disco-hippie mom pushing 40 and proud of it, flaunting her artiest emotional extremes.”
These songs celebrate her newborn daughter, Lourdes, mourn her long-lost mother and incoprate karma, yoga and her newfound Kabala, even asking people to call her ‘Esther‘ then. She told Billboard at the time,
“I feel like I’ve been enlightened, and that it’s my responsibility to share what I’ve learned so far with the world.“
And share, sometimes to the point of overshare, she has. Madonna’s manager and pal Guy Oseary, just posted a video of them together during an MTV interview at the time with the caption,
“20 year anniversary of @madonna RAY OF LIGHT album… one of the greatest albums of all time… It was the first @Madonna album I worked on..
You can see from this video the kind of relationship we had then… NOTHING has changed.. if you filmed us today, it would be the same dynamic.. Love this woman. Love this album. One day she will hopefully do a tour for this album.. it deserves to be performed from start to finish… respect to @williamorbit for his brilliant work on this album.“
Madonna responded in the comments:
“Can you help me now please!! Remember when I made records with other artists from beginning to end and I was allowed to be a visionary and not have to go to songwriting camps where no one can sit still for more than 15 minutes. She then added five flame emojis and wrote: ‘Coming soon.‘”
OK. But drama or no, however it was birthed (props to William Orbit) ROL is her best-selling studio album of her career. Even her most faithful worshipers, who subscribed to every reinvention, every offering no matter what, weren’t quite prepared for music on this level. But hey, as the world has come to find out, she’s Madonna, bitch.
Listen to it again, from opening line of Drowned World
“I traded fame for love without a second thought…“
to the last chords of Mer Girl,
“…I ran and I ran, I’m still running away.“
20 year anniversary of 👑 @madonna RAY OF LIGHT album.. One of the greatest albums of all time.. It was the first @Madonna album I worked on.. You can see from this video the kind of relationship we had then.. NOTHING has changed.. If you filmed us today, it would be the same dynamic.. Love this woman. Love this album. One day she will hopefully do a tour for this album.. It deserves to be performed from start to finish.. ❤️💛💚 respect to @williamorbit for his brilliant work on this album.. 👏👏 .. Also two groundbreaking videos #Frozen by Chris Cunningham and #rayoflight by my dear friend @jonasakerlund .. those were really fun times..
World of Wonder’s, Fenton Bailey, Tom Campbell, and James St. James‘ top ten countdown on Radio Andy, put ROL at #2 this week. They discussed the album’s effect on them below. It starts at 47:47.
(via Rolling Stone)