is a record that will grow on you like a lichen on a rock. At first
listen you groove, on second listen you try to dissect the
self-exposing lyrical mystery, and by the third hearing, you're
hooked! This disc will not be leaving the player.
It's extraordinary how
time has matured Madonna. Ray of Light has detached her from
her "Spice Girl" complex of past efforts, and jettisoned her
into a musician of meaning. As such, musical experimentation isn't an
issue on this album (like so many of her previous records). The tunes
are trendy enough for top-40 play but absorbing enough to stand on
their own merit.
Two tracks deserve
special mention. Shanti/Ashtangi is sung in both Indian and
English and is adapted from the text of Shankra Charya (Yogi). This
tune is tastefully accompanied by a driving, droning beat, which, in
combination with the obscure lyrics, really makes it come alive. Little
Star is a delicious, soulful ballad which pays homage to Madonna's
baby girl, Lourdes. Her sentimentality is something born clearly of
motherhood rather than approaching middle age.
I don't feel it
hyperbole to mention the name Madonna when using the phrase "pop
genius". Who, if not Madonna, has played her cards so securely in
the rock and roll of changing tastes? Her tenacity and ability to
adapt to the generation of the time has helped her to maintain her
enormous and diversified audience and, no doubt, expand as an artist.
Despite her artistic
lapses (the book Sex / the movie Body of Evidence -
definitely more body than acting evidence), she has always managed to
come full circle with a fresh, varied product and do what she does
best: make music. Her vision also extends to Maverick records; they
support and promote up-and-coming bands.
If you're hedging
whether or not to pick up this album, do it! Ray of Light
highlights Madonna's variety of ideas and will leave you both
energized and satisfied. And with her cornucopia of ideas, you may
well ask the question: Whatever next?
are two versions of Ray of Light available in most Canadian
music stores: one is a US import limited edition with hologram cover
and inside information included. The other is a standard version (both
contain the same songs). Sadly, there are no plans for a tour.
Perhaps, with her impending 40th birthday, Madonna wants a quiet night
in with baby?
|Copyright © 1998 Audiophilia Online Magazine|