Ray of Light

Ray of Light

Infobox Album |
Name = Ray of Light
Type = Album
Artist = Madonna

Released = Start date|1998|02|22
(See release details)
Recorded = May-November 1997
Genre = Electronica, Alternative Rock, Techno, Ambient, Trip hop, Dance
Length = 66:50 (Regular album)
72:05 (Japanese edition)
Label = Maverick, Warner Bros.
Producer = Madonna, William Orbit, Patrick Leonard, Marius De Vries
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:nmkpu3tjan6k link]
*Robert Christgau Rating-Christgau|hm1 [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=madonna link]
*"Slant Magazine" Rating|4.5|5 [http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=398 link]
*Rolling Stone Rating|4|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/madonna/albums/album/111072/review/18725830/ray_of_light link]
*"E! Entertainment Television" (A-), [http://www.eonline.com/Reviews/Facts/Music/RevID/0,1107,736,00.html link]
Last album = "Evita"
This album = "Ray of Light"
Next album = "Music"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = Limited Edition CD cover
Name = Ray of Light
Type = studio
single 1 = Frozen
single 1 date = February 23, 1998
single 2 = Ray of Light
single 2 date = May 21, 1998
single 3 = Drowned World/Substitute for Love
single 3 date = August 24, 1998
single 4 = The Power of Good-Bye
single 4 date = September 29, 1998
single 5 = Little Star
single 5 date = November 19, 1998
single 6 = Nothing Really Matters
single 6 date = March 2, 1999

"Ray of Light" is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 3, 1998 by Maverick Records. The RIAA certified it Quadruple Platinum on March 16, 2000, recognizing four million shipments in the United States, making it her fifth best-selling recording there. Worldwide, the album has sold fourteen million copies. [ [http://madonna.com/music/?v=&a=1&id=7 "Ray of Light" worldwide sales] Madonna's official website. Retrieved August 4, 2008.] In 1999, the album received three Grammy Awards, including "Best Pop Vocal Album," and "Best Dance Recording."

Album history

The working title for this album was "The Drowned World", inspired by the novel by J. G. Ballard. It was primarily produced by Madonna, William Orbit, and Patrick Leonard. The album featured a new musical direction for Madonna, as well as personal lyrics about motherhood, fame, and spirituality. Madonna's vocal range was also stronger, because of the voice training she underwent during "Evita". [ [http://www.amazon.com/Ray-Light-Madonna/dp/B000002NJS Amazon.com: Ray of Light: Madonna: Music ] ]

Madonna began writing songs with Leonard in 1997, the first time the two had worked together since "I'll Remember," three years earlier. Unlike her previous albums, Leonard's song writing collaborations were accompanied by very little studio input. Madonna believed that Leonard's production "would have lent the songs more of a Peter Gabriel vibe," a sound that she did not want for the album.

Madonna began working on "Ray of Light" in May 1997, meeting with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, whom she had previously worked with on her 1994 album "Bedtime Stories". The two wrote a couple of songs together before Madonna decided the collaborations were not going in the musical direction she wanted for the album. According to Edmonds, the songs "had a 'Take a Bow-ish' kind of vibe, and Madonna didn't want, or need, to repeat herself."Walter, Barry. "Spin". "Most Daring In Years", April 1998.] After abandoning the songs she had written with Edmonds, Madonna turned to musician Rick Nowels, who had previously co-written songs with Stevie Nicks and Celine Dion. The collaboration produced seven songs in three days, but did not display the album's future electronic musical direction. [ [http://www.madonna-online.ch/m-online/discography/98_ray-of-light/disco-98-ray-of-light-album.htm "Madonna-Online.ch"] . Discography — "Ray of Light". Retrieved May 23, 2006.] Instead, Madonna took her collaborations with Nowels and Leonard to British electronic music musician William Orbit. Madonna had been a fan of Orbit's work, and loved the "sort of trancy, ambient quality" he gave to the songs he worked on. [Anderson, Gina. [http://www.madonnavillage.com/library/interviews/juice1998.html "Madonna Village"] Reproducing "Juice Magazine" "Mystic Eyes", 1998. Retrieved May 23, 2006.] She began working with Orbit after he had sent her tapes of musical snippets he was working on, which were usually eight or sixteen-bar phrases and stripped down versions of tracks that would later be heard on the album. Madonna would listen to the samples over and over again until she would be inspired to write lyrics. Once she had an idea about the lyrical direction of the song, she would take her ideas back to Orbit, who would expand on his musical ideas.

The album was recorded over four and a half months in Los Angeles, California in 1997, the longest Madonna had ever worked on an album. For most of the recording process, only three other people were in the studio with Madonna: William Orbit, engineer Pat McCarthy, and his assistant engineer, Matt Silva. The recording process was initially plagued with machinery problems, as Orbit preferred to work with samples, synth sounds, and Pro Tools, and not with live musicians. The computers would break down, and recording would have to be delayed until they could be repaired. Orbit recorded the bulk of the album's instrumentation over the four-month period. Orbit recalls playing the guitar and having his fingers bleed during the long hours he spent in the studio. After some errors in her pronunciation of Sanskrit shlokas on "Ray of Light", the BBC, London, arranged for her to take telephonic lessons to learn the basic correct pronunciation of Sanskrit words from eminent scholar Dr B P T Vagish Shastri. She then made the necessary pronunciation corrections on the album. [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1607547901.cms Times of India] ] [ [http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070201/asp/nation/story_7333787.aspTelegraph India] ] [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/atl/classic/rayoflight.shtml Across the Line's Classic Albums] Retrieved May 23, 2006.] When recording came to an end, producer Marius De Vries was brought into the recording process to add some finishing touches to the songs.

Madonna performed "Drowned World," "Ray Of Light," "Candy Perfume Girl," "Sky Fits Heaven," "Frozen," and "Mer Girl" on her 2001 Drowned World Tour.

Critical response and awards

Upon release, the album received positive responses from international music critics. "Slant Magazine" described the album as "one of the great pop masterpieces of the '90s...Madonna hasn't been this emotionally candid since "Like a Prayer"." Roni Sarig, in a review for "Amazon.com", stated that "Ray of Light" "is her richest, most accomplished record yet." [ [http://www.amazon.com/Ray-Light-Madonna/dp/B000002NJS Roni Sarig reviews the album on Amazon.com.] Retrieved August 1, 2007] He was most impressed by Madonna's vocal range, depth, and clarity which had become stronger since her voice lessons for the film "Evita" (1996). American entertainment television channel "E!" mocked the album's lyrical depth but ultimately praised the end result by saying, "Ray of Light" is about as deep as a yoga stretch — which makes this load deeper than usual. If it took trendy spiritualism to get Madonna to make a good pop record, more (higher) power to her." "E!" was also impressed with producer William Orbit's "artful beeps and squawks...crunching guitars" and "dashes of Middle Eastern droning." In the review, "Ray of Light" was given an A-, one of the channel's highest honours for an album. ["E!". [http://www.eonline.com/Reviews/Facts/Music/RevID/0,1107,736,00.html Review of "Ray of Light"] ". Retrieved April 23, 2006.] Rob Sheffield's review for "Rolling Stone" was mostly positive, but did point out the weak aspects of the album. Sheffield called the album "brilliant," but was critical of Orbit's production, stating that he "doesn't know enough tricks to fill a whole CD, so he repeats himself something fierce." [Sheffield, Rob. [http://www.madonnavillage.com/work/albums/rayoflight.html "MadonnaVillage.com"] . Quoting from "Rolling Stone" review of "Ray of Light". Retrieved April 23, 2006.] "Allmusic's" Stephen Thomas Erlewine called "Ray of Light" Madonna's "most adventurous record" and her "most mature and restrained album." In his review he gave the album four out of five stars. [Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:nmkpu3tjan6k Allmusic] . Review of "Ray of Light". Retrieved April 23, 2006.]

In 1999, "Ray of Light" won three Grammy Awards for "Best Dance Recording," "Best Pop Album," and "Best Recording Package," and was nominated for Record and Album of The Year. In addition, the album's title track won a Grammy for "Best Short Form Music Video." ["Grammy Awards" [http://www.grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/Winners/Results.aspx?title=&winner=Madonna&year=0&genreID=0&hp=1 Grammy Award Winners] . Retrieved April 23, 2006.] In 2002, VH1 viewers in the United Kingdom voted "Ray of Light" as the tenth greatest album of all time. That year "Rolling Stone" readers also voted the album as the twenty-ninth best recording ever. Later, the magazine ranked "Ray of Light" at #363 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time." ["Rolling Stone" [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939358/the_rs_500_greatest_albums_of_all_time The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time] . Retrieved April 23, 2006.]

Track listing

* 1 CD Box Set: "Ray of Light" & "The Immaculate Collection."
* 2 As of 2006, the album has sold 3.8 million copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan,cite web | author=Keith Caulfield | title=Ask Billboard | publisher=Billboard magazine | year=July 12, 2006 | url=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/search/google/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002838423 | accessdate=2008-08-10] with an additional 0.45 million sold at BMG Music Clubs.cite web | author=Barry David | title=Shania, Backstreet, Britney, Eminem and Janet Top All-Time Sellers | publisher=mi2n.com | year=February 18, 2003 | url=http://www.mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=47877 | accessdate=2008-08-10]

Release details

:All editions released by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records.

1 contains the regular album with a bonus disc titled "Words & Music," containing interviews.

Credits and personnel

*Lead and backing vocals — Madonna
*Backing vocals — Donna DeLory, Niki Haris
*Guitar — Marc Moreau
*Keyboards — Marius De Vries
*Drums — Fergus Gerrand
*Drum programming — Steve Sidelnyk
*Percussion — Fergus Gerrand
*Flute — Pablo Cook
*Synthesizers — William Orbit
*String arrangements — Craig Armstrong, Patrick Leonard
*Conductor — Suzie Katayama
*Programming — Mike Bradford, Marius De Vries
*Engineer — Mark Endert, Jon Ingoldsby, Patrick McCarthy, Dave Reitzas, Matt Silva
*Mastered by Ted Jensen
*Photography by Mario Testino
*Art direction by Kevin Reagan
*Art design by Kerosene Halo, Kevin Reagan

See also

* Unreleased Madonna songs — songs written and/or recorded by Madonna during the "Ray of Light" sessions that remain unreleased.



*cite web | title= Allmusic| work= Album credits, charts and awards| url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:nmkpu3tjan6k| accessmonthday=May 23 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= The BPI Database| work= United Kingdom certifications| url=http://www.bpi.co.uk/| accessmonthday=May 22 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= Chart Data: Madonna| work= Worldwide charts and certifications| url=http://www.mariah-charts.com/chartdata/PMadonna.htm| accessmonthday=May 23 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= Keith Caulfield's Madonna Page| work= U.S. charts, certifications and sales| url=http://www.keithers.com/madonna/archive/2003_03_01_index.html| accessmonthday=May 31 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= MoCaW: Madonna on Charts around the World| work= Worldwide charts and certifications| url=http://justzheng.com/Madonna/index.html| accessmonthday=May 22 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= Q Magazine| work= Confessions of the World's Most Famous Woman| url=http://www.madonnavillage.com/library/interviews/q1998.html
*cite web | title= RIAA Database| work= U.S. certifications| url=http://www.riaa.com/gp/database/default.asp| accessmonthday=May 22 | accessyear=2006
*cite web | title= SwissCharts.com| work= Swiss charts and certifications| url=http://www.swisscharts.com| accessmonthday=May 31 | accessyear=2006

External links

* [http://www.madonna.com/ Madonna.com] — official website.

succession box
before = "Titanic" (OST) by James Horner
title = UK number one album
years = March 14 1998March 27 1998
after = "Let's Talk About Love" by Celine Dion
succession box
before = "Yield" by Pearl Jam
title = Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
years = March 15 - March 21, 1998
after = "Mezzanine" by Massive Attack

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