eMusic Review 0
Madonna was by now a mother of a child fathered by her fitness trainer/lover Carlos Leon, practicing yoga regularly, studying both Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah, and a far more accomplished singer. All of these emotional, physical and spiritual changes shaped 1998′s Ray of Light. It’s where she discovers tender elements of both her voice and personality: Where she’d generously multi-track her voice while favoring wit and strength over vulnerability, here she contributes a careful and more caring delivery that’s matched by co-producer/co-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist William Orbit’s largely synthetic and finely tweaked studio backing. With songwriting and production help from her favored ballad co-creator Patrick Leonard, pop craftsman Rick Nowels, and keyboardist Marius DeVries, Orbit and Madonna craft an inward-searching singer-songwriter album disguised as an otherworldly electronica departure.
Synths abound, but there are plenty of strings and electric guitars as well: The steady-driving smash title track ranks as one of dance music’s smoothest rock appropriations. Madonna had repeatedly proved herself a consummate singles act, but here her ability as an album artist peaks. There’s not a whiff of filler: From the fame ruminations of album opener “Drowned World (Substitute For Love)” to her mourning failed relationships in “Frozen” and “The Power of Goodbye” to… read more »