Madonna’s albums ranked from worst to best by The Telegraph.
The Telegraph ranked Madonna‘s 15 albums ranked from worst to best. 15 (not 13) because Helen Brown included also I’m Breathless and The Immaculate Collection. Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments below.
15. MDNA (2012)
The EDM one. On which Euro house artists like the Benassi Bros help Madonna onto the sweaty electronica bandwagon but – despite peppy contributions from Nikki Minaj and MIA and a reunion with William Orbit – she fails to make an emotional connection. More album filler than dancefloor killer.
14. American Life (2003)
The political one. For which the Material Girl yanked on a black beret and hoisted her guitar aloft to break the shocking news that fame and money don’t make people happy. Though she admits to “feeling super-dooper” while driving her mini cooper, she suspects world peace might, on balance, prove more satisfying in the long run.
13. Hard Candy (2008)
The Pharrell/Timbaland one. The signature booming bass and brass of her producers dominates so much of this album that, at times, Madonna sounds like a guest at her own party. She saved the world with Justin Timberlake and sang that sex with Guy Ritchie was “metaphysical” though he would soon be “miles away”.
12. Music (2000)
The one with the cowboy hat . “Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on, I want to dance with my baby.” commanded Queen Madge, feeling playful again after the serious trance of Ray of Light. Warped on other songs, her vocals were clear and true against the guitar loop of “Don’t Tell Me” written by her brother-in-law.
11. I’m Breathless (1990)
The Dick Tracy one. Madonna took up smoking to achieve a suitably breathless voice on the jazzy film soundtrack. But the standout single had no connection with the movie. The glorious Vogue was sexy, smart and irresistably danceable. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.
10. Rebel Heart (2015)
The New One. Hurrah! A return to form as after the trend-chasing sounds of Hard Candy and MDNA Madonna sounds like she cares again – and not about what anybody else is doing either. “I poured a beer into my shoe and got my freak on” she sings. Welcome back Madonna!
9. Bedtime Stories (1994)
The dreamy R&B one. Madonna hums, purrs and sighs through this seductive set of urban soul songs – including a title song written by Bjork and swirling single Secret. Human Nature addressed the controversy around her recent book with a cheeky: “Did I say something wrong?/Oops, I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex.”
8. Erotica (1992)
The sex one. “Give it up, do what I say/ Give it up and let me have my way…” orders Madonna’s dominatrix alter-ego Mistress Dita on the album released alongside her Sex book. Her bold exploration of darker, more experimental sounds and difficult emotions is balanced by tender ballad, Rain.
7. Confessions on a Dancefloor (2005)
The one that made you miss legwarmers. After the failed profundity of American Life, Madonna wanted to make us dance again and the whole first half of the album is a day-glo, disco-savvy delight. Her digital reworking of guilty pleasures was bang on trend. Spun out of an ABBA sample, Hung Up topped the charts in 41 countries.
6. Madonna (1983)
The first one. All shimmering, swimming pool synths and girlish vocals, biographer J Randy Tarraborrelli says that effervescent singles like the Holiday, Borderline, Lucky Star and Burning Up came as close to delivering classic Motown production standards as anything the Eighties had to offer. But Madonna is dismissive of her “aerobics album”.
5. Ray of Light (1998)
The enlightened electronica one. In 1996 Madonna discovered Kabbalah while pregnant with her first child. Working with William Orbit, she sounded relaxed and powerful as she brought ambient and techno sounds into the American mainstream with hits like the dramatic Frozen. “It’s about wonderment.” she says.
4. True Blue (1986)
The one we sang into our hairbrushes. The undeniable centrepiece of Madonna’s third album is the melodramatic, synthswept ballad Live to Tell. Originally written by Patrick Leonard for a film about a teenage girl’s escape from a Catholic boarding school, Madonna — the eternal teen — really inhabits the heart of the story.
3. Like a Virgin (1984)
The one that made us feel shiny and new. In her beautiful 2014 book ‘Madonna’, Caroline Sullivan writes that Chic’s Nile Rodgers “reinvented disco” for this dazzling artist and era-defining album featuring knockout singles Get into the Groove, Dress You Up and Material Girl alongside the title song. Madonna would never see the wilderness again.
2. Like a Prayer (1989)
The one condemned by the Vatican. Released as she turned thirty and her marriage to Sean Penn collapsed, this is the record on which Madonna set out her powerful and passionate personal stall, calling for female empowerment on Express Yourself and sending pop soaring to the heavens with the choir-backed title song. She totally took us there.
1. The Immaculate Collection (1990)
The essential party one. Yes, it’s a greatest hits album, but pop is defined by the instant gratification of singles and this phenomenal collection is Madonna’s best selling album. It showcases all her hits from the froth of 1983’s Holiday to 1990’s Vogue and features two songs you can’t find anywhere else: Justify my Love (the insistent, sexy trance track she wrote with Lenny Kravitz) and then the confessional Rescue Me: a song which saw the diva reach out directly to fans, pleading for the love and attention she needs. “You see that I’m ferocious, you see that I am weak/ You see that I am silly, and pretentious and a freak,” she acknowledged, before reminding us of her inspirational grit. All she needs the rest of the world to do is “stop me from drowning.” She’ll do the rest.