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"If I could melt your heart... "

Day three of the Top 10 Albums Challenge is upon us! Without further adieu, here is our latest entry:

#8 - Madonna / Ray of Light (1998)

Consisting of great singles and solid deep cuts, Ray of Light is not only my favorite Madonna album, it's one of my favorite albums of all-time. Led by the haunting hit single Frozen, I was immediately enraptured by this release.

In early 1998, some friends and I drove over to Indianapolis for a night. There we went to one of the gay dance clubs, and it was having a Ray of Light release party. They had limited edition copies of the CD, and were playing some tracks off it. The one that I remember most was the Victor Calderon's extended remix of Frozen, and the DJ played almost all 11 minutes of it, which retains the song's stirring quality, while turning it into a dance-floor stomper.

Of course, for an album to be considered an all-time favorite, it takes more than one song. That is why Ray of Light makes the list. From 1998 through most of 1999, I spent a lot of my off-time listening to it from beginning to end. I was writing what would become my one and only novel, and found the rhythms and melodies soothing. From Candy Perfume Girl, to Nothing Really Matters, to Sky Fits Heaven, to Shanti/Ashtangi, I was carried away by the music.

Perhaps my favorite album track from Ray of Light is Madonna's ode to her then-barely-year-old daughter, Lourdes. Little Star is a soft, gentle song that features the strength of a mother feeling love and protection for her child. It's beautiful, and perhaps the most touching track Madonna has ever recorded.

Ray of Light is a gorgeous and lush album, one that (in my humble opinion) Madonna has never topped since.


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