411 Music Ten Deep 5.08.14: The Top 10 1990s Madonna Songs
Posted by Sean Walker on 05.08.2014
From "Vogue" and "Frozen" to "Take a Bow," "This Used To Be My Playground" and more, 411's Sean Walker counts down the top 10 Madonna songs of the 1990s!
Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Ten Deep. I'm Sean Walker, esteemed owner of a cat that (somehow) got knocked up and is ready to birth any day now. Does anyone want a kitten?
Madonna is a legendary figure of pop whose music spans 30 years and counting. It's rumored that her newest LP is set to be released in the next couple of months, so that should something to listen to. I'm picking up where I left off and I'm counting down Madonna's greatest hits. This week, I'm covering her songs from the '90s.
Just Missing the 10:
13. Don't Cry For Me Argentina
12. Justify My Love
11. The Power of Goodbye
The Top Ten 1990s Madonna Songs
10. "Drowned World/ Substitute for Love"
Unlike the '80s, Madonna began to make less and less dance music and more subtle, ballad-like music. "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" is the opener to Ray of Light, an album that marked a comeback for a star that fell a bit in the early '90s. Prior to Ray of Light Madonna did vocal lessons, and that is more apparent than ever in this song. There are influences of ambience, trip-hop and electronic that gives a subdued sound.
9. "Take a Bow"
"Take a Bow" is a song that many considered would be her last big hit before she faded into somewhat obscurity. Before "Take a Bow," her album Bedtime Stories wasn't selling very well compared to the previous ones. Working with Babyface she crafted a R&B/Pop ballad that was really unlike her previous sound. The song would stay at number one for seven weeks (a record for her), and would help album sales somewhat.
8. "You'll See"
In an attempt to return to the spotlight, Madonna decided to make a compilation album full of previously released ballads along with a couple of new ones. "You'll See" is one of the new songs recorded for the CD. It's a bit overproduced for a ballad, but her voice really shines in it.
7. "Nothing Really Matters"
In this song, Madonna puts all the drama behind her and moves forward. Like the rest of Ray of Light, the song is chock-full of subtle electronic and house influences along with a tinge of disco. It's not completely danceable, but it's still a great listen.
6. "Bedtime Story"
"Bedtime Story" is perhaps Madonna's most underrated single from the '90s. If it wasn't for Madonna I wouldn't have even considered listening to ambience. The song was written for her by the eclectic singer Bjork. There are times when Madonna is so far ahead of the trend, no one gets it until years later. Electronic wouldn't be where it was if it wasn't for Madonna.
After years of lagging sales and underperforming singles, Madonna returned in 1998 with a brand new sound and image that no doubt kept her relevant for years to come. She kind off reminded me off a more poppy Alanis Morissette during this time period. Madonna always has a way of making loose ballads in that they always have an added element to make sure they aren't completely boring. "Frozen" fits this description. It's another ballad, this time with electronic and trip-hop added, which was the common theme in the Ray of Light album.
4. "This Used To Be My Playground"
It's a number one hit that's never performed or acknowledged by Madonna. It hasn't been included on any of her greatest albums, yet it's such a good song. It's often overlooked when you're thinking about Madonna's greatest hits, and it shouldn't be. The ballad is almost like a sequel to "Oh Father," which was just as dramatic.
3. "Ray of Light"
"Ray of Light" continued her renewed success after Frozen put her back on the charts. I have to say though, MTV, back when it was still about music, helped with the success with "Ray of Light" by constantly having the music video in rotation. The EDM-lite jam helped her connect with a newer audience and once again made her an international superstar.
2. "Human Nature"
It's aggressive, it's brash, and it's my favorite song from Madonna. "Human Nature" is another one of those underrated singles released from Bedtime Stories. Madonna stripped away the dance-pop completely, and made a full on hip-hop track that you could have sworn been produced by Dr. Dre. She takes on her critics head on with sarcastic tongue-in-cheek remarks that are whispered in the background along with lyrics that bash those who criticized her Erotica phase. I have to say, Madonna has never sounded better than she has here.
Here we are at number one with another classic. Although written in the late '80s, "Vogue" was released in 1990 for the Dick Tracy soundtrack. It instantly became arguably her biggest hit ever. Madonna has always been known to adapt to the times, or in some cases make a once underground genre mainstream. The genre in this case is house, which if used properly can enhance a song to be much better than it is. Her familiar dance-pop elements are also there, making the song accessible for top 40 radio. "Vogue's" music video is just as iconic as the song itself. I can guarantee you that anyone knows how to vogue. Very few songs can inspire a generation, but "Vogue" did just that.
Well, that's it for the '90s. Was there a Madonna hit from the '90s you loved that I missed? Feel free to comment below. Next time, we go into the modern day where Madonna is still thriving with hits. Until then, stay classy internet!