Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.82) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (4/2/98, pp.70-71) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...RAY OF LIGHT is her maternity album as well as her avant-dance album....Our Lady hasn't assembled this many songs worth her time since 1989's LIKE A PRAYER....all her desperately chic decor can't hide her rock & roll heart..."
Entertainment Weekly (3/6/98, pp.77-78) - "...RAY OF LIGHT is some of the most alluring and captivating music she's ever crafted....Madonna looks for--and finds--a middle ground between her now-old-school approach and the new club music. She dresses her music up with her electronic love..."
- Rating: A-
Q (10/01, p.45) - Ranked #46 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime" - "...Madonna was influential and interested again..."
Q (12/99, p.100) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Vibe (4/98, p.139) - "...with RAY OF LIGHT's futuristic music and ancient ideals, she's crafted something danceable but decidedly less commercial. Something more cerebral than usual, both sonically and lyrically..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.64) - Ranked #29 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "RAY OF LIGHT's radio-friendly grandeur was unmistakably Ciccone."
NME (Magazine) (2/28/98, p.43) - 8 (out of 10) - "...RAY OF LIGHT is her most accomplished set for years. It offers a lightness of touch and a depth of feeling unmatched since the glory days of LIKE A PRAYER....here we're drawn into the depths by subtler means..."
Personnel: Madonna (vocals); William Orbit (guitar, electronics); Mark Moreau (guitar); Pablo Cook (flute); Marius De Vries (keyboards, programming); Fergus Gerrand (drums, percussion); Steve Sidelnyk (programming); Donna DeLory, Niki Harris (background vocals).
Producers: Madonna, William Orbit, Patrick Leonard, Marius De Vries.
Recorded at Larrabee Studios North, Universal City, California.
RAY OF LIGHT won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Pop Album and for Best Recording Package, and was nominated for Album Of The Year. "Ray Of Light" won the 1999 Grammy for Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music Video, and was nominated for Record Of The Year.
Relentlessly contemporary, RAY OF LIGHT pairs Madonna with producer William Orbit, an electronics wizard who has worked with major R&B acts and even such modern rockers as Blur and Depeche Mode. Reportedly, Madonna tried to snare Liam Howlett of high-strung techno-rockers the Prodigy into the project--Howlett claims to have turned her down. But the more dextrous, less in-your-face Orbit was probably a better choice anyway. He provides a dizzying array of soundscapes, incorporating everything from psychedelic-rock guitar to dub-reggae echo and cold, cutting techno beats for what critics are calling Madonna's most committed performance in years.
From the slow chill of the album's first single, "Frozen," to the disco-like title track, RAY OF LIGHT finds Madonna embracing the club beats that are her roots while still teetering on the edge of dance-club vogue. It also finds the singer, who has become a mother since her last studio album, in a long-untapped spiritual mode. When the inevitable comparisons are made to Madonna's previous standard-bearer, 1989's LIKE A PRAYER, that may well be the reason.
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