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Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna


Don't know if this would be included here at AM, but here ya go. Brava for "Cherish" appearing on what may be its first list! I think it's somewhat "forgotten" because it wasn't a first or second single.

Down time: Madonna

Her Madge releases a live album, The Confessions Tour, on January 29. Where to next for the queen of controversy and reinvention? It’s anyone’s guess. As this top 10 demonstrates, she has covered a lot of bases, but key principles remain at the core of her work: attitude, danceability, savvy, elusiveness — and tunes to die for.

1 Cherish- Quite simply one of the greatest pop songs ever. “Romeo and Juliet, they never felt this way, I bet”, indeed.

2 Papa Don’t Preach- Her best vocal, and the most musically rewarding of her early songs.

3 Material Girl- The defining anthem of the greed-is-good decade?

4 Vogue- Did anyone ever master the dance steps? Maybe not, but we sang along all the same.

5 Into the Groove- The moment when, with the Desperately Seeking Susan tie-in, she went stratospheric.

6 Like a Prayer- The video was condemned as blasphemous, overshadowing this hair-raisingly good song.

7 Ray of Light- Always at her best when written off, Madonna discovered rave here, and blazed back into contention.

8 Borderline- Impossibly addictive 1980s electro, back when she pretty much owned the genre.

9 Music- A return to her dancefloor roots — reductive, in your face, unmistakable.

10 Like a Virgin- A helium-voiced come-on, touching the world for the very first time. DC

To listen to and buy as an exclusive Culture iMix, visit www.timesonline.co.uk/music

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

Cool! Surely this can be included.

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

"Oh Father" is always slept on.


"Oh Father" has it really tough, as it was a 4th single from Like a Prayer, and it wasn't a big chart hit anywhere (understandable, given the subject matter). It's one of her best, though- very classic in how it's constructed and produced.

Other Top 10s...

Henrik, since I see that some other well-acclaimed acts at AM have more than 1 list of top 10s from various outlets, I take it that other ones for Madge could be included?

Here's one from Washington Blade, which is a gay publication. I don't know if the article is still online, but the site can be found at www.washingtonblade.com. Not a bad top 10 here, except for the 9th track listed.

Blade staff
Material Girl: “The song that made Madonna famous is still as catchy as ever. To this day, Madonna wishes she could escape this nickname.”

Vogue: “The song that brought the gay underground dance style to the mainstream. There’s nothing like a good vogue, both the song and the dance.”

Secret: “What’s her baby’s secret? We don’t know, but this is one damn funky groove.”

Like A Virgin: “Who can ever forget that sexy MTV Music Video Awards performance with one wedding dress and a whole lot of writhing?”

Beautiful Stranger: “Try not getting this light, airy confection stuck in your head for hours on end. The perfect summertime song.”

Don’t Tell Me: “Sexy cowboys and acoustic guitars. The inescapable remixes at gay clubs were better than the album cut, but still one of her finest new gems.”

Like A Prayer: “The religious icons! The controversy! All that with a beat you can dance to.”
Express Yourself: “If any one song epitomized her career, it would be this one.”

American Life: “Madonna proves that white girls can rap — about their nannies and butlers.”

Live To Tell: “While her ballads don’t often get played in the dance clubs, this is probably her best slow song.”


Another one, not sure if eligible, but last year it chose 15 quintessential Madonna singles and had people vote on those.


Burning Up
Express Yourself
Hung Up
Into the Groove
Justify My Love
Like a Prayer
Like a Virgin
Open Your Heart
Ray of Light

IGN Top 10 Madonna Songs

Here's another, just compiled to celebrate her birthday. :)

Henrik, as you'll see, there are 7 tracks currently featured on AM that get Honorable Mentions- maybe they could get the citation as well, but with lesser points?


Top 10 Madonna Songs

by Spence D.

Celebrate Ms. Ciccone's b-day with our ultimate mix-tape.

by Spence D.

August 16, 2007 - To call the music of Madonna ubiquitous would be a severe understatement. The Material Girl has dominated global pop culture going on two decades-and-some-change now, setting the bar for all emerging dance/pop oriented starlets to dare to dream of toppling. Like a female doppelganger of David Bowie, Ms. Ciccone has been deft enough to morph her style and structure over the years to mesh with shifting trends in fashion and sound.

Given that it's her birthday today, we thought we'd slap together what we consider to be the perfect mix-tape/CD. The challenge we gave ourselves, however, was to limit the tape/CD to a mere 10 songs. Given the number of hits she's racked up in the 20+ years that she's been a major figure within the entertainment industry, limiting our list to 10 was a daunting task indeed.

What we took into consideration was coming up with a list that didn't mirror the countless "Best Of" collections Madonna and her record company have released over the years. Of course no "Top 10" list would be complete without some of the hits, so naturally we have quite a few tucked in there. But what we really strived for was a cohesive feel, a flow from start to finish that represents Madonna's past, present, and future.

We fully expect folks to disagree with our list, after all that's what generally happens when anybody compiles a list billed as "Top" or "Best." Which is why we encourage you to send in your own Top 10 Madonna lists here: music@ign.com

IGN Music's Top 10 Madonna Songs

10. "Music" (Groove Armada Edit)
Just as with her William Orbit/Ray Of Light electronic experimentation, Madonna jumped from the U.K. chilled out electro scene across the water to the bubbling French electro scene, enlisting the services of Mirwai for this vocoder drenched ditty.

9. "Crazy For You"
Anybody who saw Vision Quest when it came out will no doubt remember this tune. It became the de facto soundtrack to every high school geek-jock's sexual fantasy whereupon you befriend and eventually become lovers with an older woman. It is also one of the few Madonna tracks that doesn't seem tailor made for the clubs, but rather is an almost by-the-books, quasi Country tinged ballad.

8. "Words"
It's damn near impossible to escape the scintillating synth and rubber band bass interaction on this track, not to mention the infectious chorus where Madonna croons "I don't want to hear your words…" It's the perfect intersection between a robust, sweaty club number and late night slow burner.

7. "La Isla Bonita" (Extended Remix)
How can you not dig Madonna's "Spanish lullaby"? The Extended Remix tosses in additional snippets of Madonna speaking the language of love, not to mention more upfront beats and extrapolated rhythms. This is one of the all time greatest Pina Colada chugging sing-a-long songs ever. Period.

6. "I'd Rather Be Your Lover"
Snaked from the appropriately titled Bedtime Stories, this is a wonderfully hypnotic, slow rolling number that works on a funked up jazz vibe wrapped around deep seated basslines. Freed of any vocal gimmicks, Madonna proves that she can be as sultry as the best of her femme fatale contemporaries.

5. "Express Yourself"
Elastic guitar riffs, bouncy synth percolation, and Madonna delivering emphatically positive lyrics in which she urges us all to strive for better things via a chorus that extols the virtues of not settling for being second best.

4. "Material Girl"
No list would be complete without this, one of her first and still most memorable hits. The lyrics hit home in a humorously ironic manner given the state of the day in which they were written (the consumer riddled "Me" generation of the '80s). But beyond that the track itself is pure pop perfection, especially the wondrous keyboard squiggle that works its infectious magic, worming into the very core of your ears.

3. "Justify My Love"
What's not to like about a track that allegedly jacked beats from Public Enemy's "Security Of The First World" and even prompted PE proteges, The Young Black Teenagers, to pen a rap entitled "To My Donna," in which they lambasted the singer for reaching into the hip-hop crates. Classic behind-the-scenes infamy, to be sure.

2. "Vogue"
It's no secret that Madonna and her music have always enjoyed a robust following from the gay community. With this track the Material Girl dug into her ardent fan base and borrowed what was at the time a popular underground dance movement whereupon club goers mimicked the movements of runway models, incorporating the stances, looks, and gyrations into the thundering beats of the night.

1. "Ray Of Light"
This is one of the few tracks that helped to rejuvenate Madonna at a time when a slew of wannabes (many of whom were at least a decade younger and equally as hungry to dominate the charts) were vying for her throne as the reigning queen of dance oriented pop. That she was able to snag the talents of reclusive electronic master William Orbit to produce the track was a major coup. What's more is that their collaboration managed to keep intact what made each artist so unique and visionary. Madonna's trademark vocals are there, this time wrapped in Orbit's distinctive mid-tempo electronic swagger.

Honorable Mentions

Deeper and Deeper
Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Don't Stop
Don't Tell Me
Forbidden Love
Future Lovers
I Deserve It
In This Life
Like A Prayer
Like A Virgin
Lucky Star
Nothing Really Matters
Open Your Heart
Papa Don't Preach
Physical Attraction
Rescue Me
Secret Garden
Why It's So Hard

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

STILL no love for "Oh Father", and fucking "Words" gets a top 10 mention?!

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

I know! OF definitely is one of her best tracks, yet got lost as a 4th single. But on a list like the above, definitely should have been cited, with albums tracks being cited and such.

How IGN left "Live to Tell" off there is another head-scratcher )same with "Into the Groove")- but, some strive for a tad of unpredictability, I guess.

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

I don't like Ray of Light.

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

how do these work at acclaimed music? it basically just changes her rankings among her own songs?

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

Yes, basically.

Pop Journalism: 5 Best Madonna Albums

In my current searchings for Madge lists/list appearances, came across this, from 2005. There already are a few singles lists, but here's a ranked albums one:

The Best of Madonna
We review the top five albums of Madge's career thus far
By Robert Ballantyne | Posted on December 14, 2005

Can I make a confession? Madonna was played a lot in my house as kid, so much so that I’d say she was my first musical influence.

Embarrassing, I know, but hey, I suppose I could have done a lot worse.

Fortunately, it’s okay to be a Madonna fan again with her latest album Confessions on a Dance Floor topping the charts, selling an impressive 74,000 copies in Canada during its first week of release.

It’s also the right time to steer listeners towards the best of Madge’s 20-year-plus musical output. Sure, the path has been rocky — stay clear from the dodgy Dick Tracy-inspired I’m Breathless — but also fruitful. Madonna’s most important works are also some of the best of the pop genre, as the following five albums prove.

1. The Immaculate Collection (1990)
One of the few perfect greatest hits albums, The Immaculate Collection is all killer and no filler. Every track represents the best pop music of its time, from the bouncy “Holiday,” to the controversy-baiting “Papa Don’t Preach,” all the way to the sleazy thrills of “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me.” Even better is the fact that each track is presented in its original single form, remastered and remixed — the new mixes are very subtle, except for the beat-heavy version of “Like a Prayer.” Purists could quibble that the edits fade out too early, but if you want the longer, less vibrant originals, buy the albums. If you want the optimized essence of Madonna’s best career chapter, this is where you turn.

Key Tracks: “Justify My Love,” “Rescue Me,” “Vogue,” and “Like a Prayer”

2. Madonna (1983)
The debut album is the first and best of Madonna’s early carefree pop records and still sounds vital. Anyone who’s ever listened to radio will instantly know “Lucky Star,” “Holiday” and the classic “Borderline” by heart. However, you can clearly hear why Madonna was first a club star with in the underground hits “Physical Attraction” and “Burning Up.” Like the best dance cuts, those tracks absolutely reek of longing and lust, a perfect summation of the club rat that was pre-superstar Madonna.

Key Tracks: “Everybody,” “Holiday,” “Borderline” and “Physical Attraction”

3. Like a Prayer (1989)
After three studio albums of blissful pop, Like a Prayer is Madonna’s first serious record. The ambitious Prayer presents a smörgåsbord of pop, swaying from style to style and chock full of dark lyrical statements. As a result, the record lacks cohesion, which is its greatest strength, moving from the mysterious title track, to the anthemic “Express Yourself,” and later to the bubbly “Cherish.” The only disappointments are the collaborations with Prince, which should have been great, but instead yield the passé “Love Song” and the embarrassing closing jam of “Act of Contrition” which confusingly ends with the frustrated shout-out: “I have a reservation/What do you mean it’s not in the computer?!” Huh? Otherwise, this is Madonna reaching for the creative skies and pulling down stars.

Key Tracks: “Like a Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” “Cherish,” and “Oh Father”

4. Ray of Light (1998)
The comeback record that put Madonna back on the critical radar and yielded multi-platinum sales is her first mature album. Embellished with of-the-moment electronic tinsel from producer William Orbit, Madonna digged deep into motherhood, love, life and mortality like never before. Opening with the mournful rumination on fame, “Drowned World/Substitute for Love,” Ray of Light is set up perfectly, presenting a new kind of Madonna, thoughtful and established. She lets loose with the wicked “And I feel like I just got home” dance dirge that is the title track. The pinnacle is reached with the string-laden and lovelorn “Frozen,” one of the most compelling singles of her career. However, despite Light’s strengths, its heavy seriousness falters at times, like in the techno-Yoga-chant “Shanti/Ashtangi” and the strained imagery of “Candy Perfume Girl.”

Key Tracks: “Drowned World/Substitute for Love,” “Ray of Light,” “Frozen,” and “The Power of Goodbye”

5. Erotica (1992)
Madonna’s first concept album was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding her Sex book. Unjustly so. Erotica is one of Madonna’s finest records, from the twisted carnality of the title track, to the sardonic oral sex anthem “Where Life Begins” (”Colonel Sanders says it best/ Finger-lickin’ good”) and the morning-after regret of “Bad Girl.” The concept fortunately kept pace with the music, showcasing inspired hip-hop- and jazz-affected production, which came tied with undeniable hooks (”Deeper and Deeper” and “Rain” are underrated singles). This is Madonna’s at her best during a time when few took the time to listen.

Key Tracks: “Deeper and Deeper,” “Bad Girl,” “Erotica,” and “Rain”

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

Make sure you have the "Durkin mix" of "Hung Up". The best Madonna song. She works hard, Madonner, to provide us with hits and live stage appearances. And sometimes one come across art.

Re: Sunday Times: Top 10 Madonna

I must have replied to one of the other posts in this thread- the Pop Journalism top 5 albums list appears *before* older posts. hehe