Friday, October 24, 2014

Madonna-Ray Of Light [Japanese Edition] (1998)


The longer I stayed on track with this 'M' music express, I knew that I'd eventually end up coming to a stop with the iconic Material Girl. Madonna, Madonna, Madonna—so much to say about her; so many great hits in her celebrated career. Imagine the dilemma of an 80's music lover such as myself who so dearly loved—and still loves—just about every one of her recordings from his or her childhood, trying to decide which one of her albums to listen to just or leisurely purposes. Over the past couple of weeks, my getting the 'M' entries in my music library organized has given me ample opportunity to indulge in anything an everything Madonna. Of course, all of 80's hits—"Holiday", "Into The Groove", "Who's That Girl?", "La Isla Bonita", "Where's The Party?", "Causing A Commotion", "Papa Don't Preach", "Angel", "Like A Prayer" and even "Material Girl" itself—got the bulk of my attention first. But when it finally came to listening to complete albums, I opted for one of her releases from the 90's: "Ray Of Light". Why this one? I feel this had been the last Madonna album I'd really started to get into before I got off the Madonna express train and pursued other music-listening interests. In short, I never finished the ride. I can say, however, that I've stayed on-board with the same trio of favorites ever since 1998: "Frozen", "The Power Of Goodbye" and the excellent William Orbit-produced high-energy title track. What I had loved so much about these is the whole electronic, ambient production that's often associated with the chill-out music genre, and having the delicate voice of one of my childhood music idols singing the lyrics sparked my love for them even more. "Ray Of Light", of which whose gazillions of techno remixes I'm well aware of, continues the most attention of me out of the three, being the trancey, Eurodance era-inspired tune that it is. As for "Frozen" and "The Power Of Goodbye": it's the cinematic accompaniment coupled with the coldness of Madonna's delivery of the former that I like while the atmospheric vibe of the latter is something that's right up my alley when it comes to electronic music. Now I can add a couple of new favorites to that existing trio for the same reasons: "To Have And Not To Hold" and the Japanese Edition exclusive, "Has To Be" (the haunting ambiance, deep groove and the chilling Christmas bells totally gives me the chills literally!). At times, I found the production on this album to sound similar to the music heard on the album that Madonna recorded four years prior: "Bedtime Stories" (yeah, I loved this album, too!). That kinda dreamy, seductive bounce—it brings nighttime lullabies to mind. Noticed that mostly in the beginning movements to the two-part opener, "Drowned World / Substitute For Love", and the warming, inspiring drum n' bass cut, "Little Star". Though it certainly wasn't a good night's sleep the Material Girl was after with the high-energy racers "Skin" and "Sky Fits Heaven", nor on the ethnic two-part track "Shanti / Ashtangi" (different, but cool). The 90's may be the point where my chugging along the Madonna express had started to slow down some, but it was nice to hitch a ride at the end of that train and catch up with her for a few minutes today:

1. Drowned World / Substitute For Love
2. Swim
3. Ray Of Light
4. Candy Perfume Girl
5. Skin
6. Nothing Really Matters
7. Sky Fits Heaven
8. Shanti / Ashtangi
9. Frozen
10. The Power Of Goodbye
11. To Have And Not To Hold
12. Little Star
13. Mer Girl
14. Has To Be

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