Ranking Madonna’s albums from worst to best, by Swide Magazine.
Swide Magazine, few months ago, made this list ranking Madonna‘s albums from worst to best. Given that we love all Madonna’s works unconditionally, do you agree with this list?
Tell us what you think.
#12 – Hard Candy, 2008
Louise Veronica, you wanted to create an R&B album produced by Timbaland during Timbaland’s golden age. And you did. But let’s pretend it never happened, OK?
#11 – Madonna, 1983
The debut album. This contains some tracks that are favourites of every Madonna fan: Holiday, Lucky Star, Burning Up… a cult album that has sadly aged noticeably over the years.
#10 – MDNA, 2012
An un-kept promise: When we learned that Madonna had returned to work with William Orbit, we all felt that chill along our spines. When we also heard of the collaboration with M.I.A., we were on the edges of our seats. The opening triptych of the album – Girl Gone Wild, Gang Bang, and I’m Addicted) made us howl at these masterpieces. But the album fails in its attempt to cover many genres, with its eye fixed on hitting the charts.
#9 Bedtime Stories, 1994
Four massive singles, each a great listen: Secret, Take a Bow, Bedtime Story, and Human Nature (this last destined to remain forever a source of quotes for hundreds of gay dating website users). But the rest of the album – Madonna’s first attempt to experiment with Black and R&B music – is decidedly less memorable.
#8 – Like a Virgin, 1984
Material Girl and Like a Virgin: enough said!
#7 – Erotica, 1992
When you’re at the apex of your career as the world’s greatest pop star ever, with massive hits that slay the charts, what do you do next? If you’re Madonna, you release your most controversial album ever: a concept album dedicated to sex. Censored by every music TV channel, with half the world scandalised, you sell very few copies of an album that is as difficult as it is beautiful.
#6 – American Life, 2003
When I discuss this album with my friends, there are no maybes: there are those who hate it, and those who love it. I’m in the latter category. Madonna’s criticisms of everything she had exalted in “Material Girl”: the materialism, the superficiality, the American Dream. The album fuses electronica with folk, synthesisers with acoustic guitars. Though not a smash hit, this album was a minor success and is certainly one of the most interesting from a musical perspective.
#5 – Music, 2000
Only Madonna could make the cowboy look cool again. Madonna plays here with some unashamedly pure pop: the album includes Impressive Instant, a musical kaleidoscope written with Mirwais Ahmadzaï, which is definitely one of Madonna’s most successful songs. (It includes the verse: “I like to singy singy singy / Like a bird on a wingy wingy wingy / I like to rhumba rhumba rhumba / Dance to a samba samba samba”, that I personally consider a stroke of genius).
#4 – True Blue, 1986
This album sold 25 million copies and remains Madonna’s most commercially successful. 9 tracks—9 pop masterpieces that can still fill a dance floor today. From Papa Don’t Preach to Open Your Heart, via True Blue and La Isla Bonita, this album proved Madonna had found her formula for the perfect hit. Live To Tell remains her most beautiful ballad to this day.
#3 – Confessions on a Dance Floor, 2005
Pop is a serious business, as Madonna showed with this album. With its upbeat mood, dance-pop sound, and its laser focus on the golden age of Disco, we find complex lyrics, Kabbalistic messages, and the usual high production quality.
#2 – Like a Prayer, 1989
This perfect pop album contains perfect pop melodies and provocative, introspective lyrics. 11 tracks cover 11 different genres, including an excellent collaboration—with Prince—and some of Ms. Ciccone’s most iconic hits, such as Like a Prayer and Express Yourself.
#1 – Ray of Light, 1998
Madonna’s creative masterwork is perfect in every aspect: music, image, style, and music videos. The record manages to unite pop with genre producers and dance-floor hits, to sing of the spirit and sound of an era—the 1990s—yet remain somehow timeless.