The 10 Best Madonna Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, August 15, 2016 06:30pm | Post a Comment

Madonna celebrates her 58th birthday Tuesday, Aug. 16,  and to celebrate, we’re putting all Madonna items on sale at our stores! Get 20% off anything Madonna — music, DVDs, T-shirts, mugs, posters and more — in-store only on Aug. 16. (Discount not valid online.)

If you're at Amoeba Hollywood be sure to enter for your chance to win Madonna goodies, including an American Life messenger bag, test pressings, vinyl and more!

Plus, Amoeba San Francisco is keeping the party going with a special Madonna DJ set starting at 4 p.m. Direct from Hollywood, DJs Nikki Finn and Benderico will get you into the groove from 4-6 p.m., spinning all the classics, rare mixes and B-sides by the one and only Madonna! It's free and all-ages, of course.

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Check out our list of our favorite Madonna albums below, as picked by Amoeba’s Billy Gil, Brad Schelden, and Brent James.

10. Evita [OST]

Sure, we can jokes about Swept Away, but let’s not forget her role as Eva Peron in the musical Evita netted her a Golden Globe nomination. “You Must Love Me,” written especially for the film, is one of her most affecting ballads, and the album as a whole features some of Madonna’s finest vocal work.


9. Music

What the hell was Madonna doing on Music? After the palate-cleansing Ray of Light, just about anything she damn well pleased. While it’s all over the map, Music has excellent production, courtesy of William Orbit and Mirwais, and great songs, too, including “Don’t Tell Me,” “What It Feels Like for a Girl” and an acoustic ballad so good it was covered by Galaxie 500 frontman Dean Wareham on his project with Luna bandmate Britta Phillips, “I Deserve It.”


8. Bedtime Stories

Madonna’s mid-’90s album had more in common with the R&B that dominated radio at the time than it did with her disco, house, Prince and ABBA-inspired earlier work. Though the results are a bit scattershot, the trip-hoppy feel of Bedtime Stories proves winning on slinky single “Human Nature” and the bonkers, zenned-out Bjork-penned title track.


7. Confessions on a Dance Floor

The album that returned Madonna to where she belongs — commanding the dancefloor. Its disco-inspired songwriting signaled a return to her roots without feeling the slightest bit regressive, thanks to unfussy, easy-to-love dance tracks like “Sorry” and the ABBA-sampling smash “Hung Up.”



6. Like a Virgin

Like a Virgin took the template set by Madonna’s terrific debut and built upon it, each song bursting with hooks and indomitable energy. It’s got some of her most iconic songs, but the in-betweeners are just as good (“Over and Over” is an early Madonna standout).


5. Erotica

The most underrated album in Madonna’s catalog was overshadowed by Madonna’s extracurricular activities at the time, namely that Sex book. But Erotica oozes house-noir sensuality and is ripe for rediscovery.


4. True Blue

Madonna’s third album would silence any mention of “flash in the pan.” It really established her as a force to be reckoned with, chockfull of a wide variety of sounds, from the synth pop of “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Jimmy Jimmy” to the airy, dramatic ballad “Live to Tell” and Latin-inspired cheese classic “La Isla Bonita.”


3. Ray of Light

Remember when Ray of Light came out and it was like, oh cool Madonna discovered Kabbalah and is gonna be all mature and stuff now? Ha! Ray of Light proved to be a detour more than anything, but its shimmering William Orbit chilltronica production, introspective lyrics in light of giving birth to her daughter and consistency of her songwriting make it the best album of the second half of her career.


2. Madonna

Madonna’s first album is her simplest pleasure: a quirky, sort of minimalist collection of funky synth-pop that is immensely enjoyable on its own terms. It doesn’t take itself as seriously as some of her later work and still holds up 23 years after its release.


1. Like a Prayer

Our consensus greatest Madonna album is most people’s favorite. It’s got some of her biggest hits, but it’s also her most consistent album to date. With co-songwriter/co-producer Patrick Leonard, Madonna exercises her demons — her Catholic upbringing, her daddy issues, her mother, who died when she was young — into the most indelible songs of her career: “Cherish,” “Oh Father” and her best, the riveting, gospel-fueled title track. Like a Prayer captures Madonna at the height of her provocative powers.



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