Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 3, 1998 by Maverick Records. After giving birth to her daughter Lourdes, Madonna collaborated with Patrick Leonard and William Orbit in developing the album. Following failed sessions with other producers, Madonna pursued a new musical direction with Orbit. The album is a pop and dance record, yet, it contains elements of electronic music within its composition, making it a departure from her previous work. Additionally, it incorporates several genres and subgenres, including techno and ambient. The album has several themes, including spirituality.
Upon release, the album received acclaim and was lauded by contemporary critics as a masterpiece. Reviewers commended the singer's new musical direction, calling it her "most adventurous" record, as well as its mature, restrained nature; the singer's vocals were also praised. Ray of Light won four Grammy Awards from a total of six nominations. Commercially, the album was a success, peaking at number one in numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. On the US Billboard 200, the album debuted and peaked at number two.
Five singles were released from the album, including global top-five hits "Frozen" and "Ray of Light". The former became Madonna's first number one debut in the United Kingdom and gave her a record for most number-two hits in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. In order to support the album, Madonna embarked on the Drowned World Tour in 2001. Critics and scholars have noted the album's influence on popular music, especially how it helped bring electronic music into mainstream pop culture. They also noted the way in which Madonna was able to re-invent herself and remain fresh and contemporary amidst the more teen pop-based music of the period. In such a way, the album has been included in many critic lists and polls, including Rolling Stone magazine's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Worldwide sales of the album have surpassed 20 million copies.
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