Ray of Light
|Ray of Light|
|Studio album by Madonna|
|Released||February 22, 1998|
|Venue||Larrabee North Studio
(North Hollywood, California)
|Singles from Ray of Light|
Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by American singer Madonna. It was released on February 22, 1998 by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records. After giving birth to her first child, Lourdes, Madonna started working on the album with producers Babyface and Patrick Leonard. Following failed sessions with them, Madonna pursued a new musical direction with English producer William Orbit. The recording took place over four months and experienced problems with Orbit's hardware arrangement, which would break down, and recording would have to be delayed until they could be repaired.
A departure from her previous work, Ray of Light is an electronica, dance and techno-pop album which incorporates several genres, including ambient, trip hop and house music. Vocally, the album saw Madonna sing with greater breadth and a fuller tone. Mystical themes are also strongly present in both lyrics and music as a result of Madonna embracing Kabbalah, her study of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as her daily practice of Hatha Yoga.
The album received universal acclaim with reviews commending the singer's new musical direction. Called her "most adventurous" record, Ray of Light has been noted for its mature, restrained nature; reviewers also praised Madonna's vocals. Ray of Light won four Grammy Awards from a total of six nominations. Commercially, the album peaked at number one in many countries, such as Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. On the US Billboard 200, the album debuted and peaked at number two, with the biggest first week sales by a female artist at the time. Ray of Light has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.
Five singles were released from the album, including the international hits "Frozen" and "Ray of Light". The album's promotion was later supported by the Drowned World Tour in 2001. Academics noted the album's influence on popular music, and how it introduced electronica into mainstream pop culture. They also noted Madonna's musical re-invention with the album, which helped her remain contemporary among the teenage artists of the period. Ray of Light has been ranked among lists of greatest albums of all time.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Title and artwork
- 4 Composition
- 5 Release and promotion
- 6 Singles
- 7 Critical reception
- 8 Accolades
- 9 Commercial performance
- 10 Legacy
- 11 Track listing
- 12 Credits and personnel
- 13 Charts
- 14 Certifications
- 15 Release history
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 Bibliography
- 19 External links
Following the release of her compilation album Something to Remember (1995), Madonna started taking vocal lessons in preparation for her role in Evita (1996). She also gave birth to her daughter, Lourdes, the same year. These events inspired a period of introspection. "That was a big catalyst for me. It took me on a search for answers to questions I'd never asked myself before," she said to Q magazine, in 2002. During the same period, she embraced Kabbalah and started studying Hinduism and yoga, all of which helped her "step outside [myself] and see the world from a different perspective." Madonna felt that there was a "whole piece" of her voice left unused, which she decided to utilize for the album. By May 1997, Madonna had started writing songs for the album. She began collaborating with Babyface, who had first worked with her on her previous album Bedtime Stories. The two wrote a couple of songs together before Madonna decided the collaborations were not going in the musical direction she wanted for the album. According to Babyface, the songs "had a 'Take a Bow-ish' kind of vibe, and Madonna didn't want, or need, to repeat herself."
After abandoning the songs she had written with Babyface, Madonna turned to musician Rick Nowels, who had previously co-written songs with Stevie Nicks and Celine Dion. The collaboration produced seven songs in nine days, but those songs also did not display the album's future electronic musical direction. Three of the songs, called: "The Power of Good-Bye", "To Have and Not to Hold" and "Little Star", appear on the album. Madonna then began writing songs with Leonard, who had produced many songs for Madonna in the late 1980s. Unlike her previous albums, Leonard's song writing collaborations were accompanied by very little studio input. Madonna believed that Leonard's production "would have lent the songs more of a Peter Gabriel vibe", a sound that she did not want for the album. Guy Oseary, chairman of Maverick Records, then phoned British electronic musician William Orbit, and suggested that he send some songs to Madonna. Orbit sent a 13-track digital audio tape to Madonna. "I was a huge fan of William's earlier records, Strange Cargo 1 and 2 and all that. I also loved all the remixes he did for me and I was interested in fusing a kind of futuristic sound but also using lots of Indian and Moroccan influences and things like that, and I wanted it to sound old and new at the same time," Madonna said.
In early June before starting recording, Orbit met Madonna at her house in New York, and she played him the music she had worked on with other producers up to May 1997, which he felt sounded "slick". They visited the Hit Factory later that week, where Madonna invited the producer to work on Ray of Light. Orbit then sent her a tape of musical snippets he was working on, which were usually eight or sixteen-bar phrases and stripped down versions of tracks that would later be heard on the album. Madonna listened to the samples, over and over again, until she was inspired to write lyrics. Once she had an idea about the lyrical direction of the song, she would take her ideas back to Orbit, and they would expand on the original music ideas. As most of the tracks pre-existed, Madonna worked on the lyrics while at home or while travelling.
The album was recorded over four and a half months at Larrabee North Studio in North Hollywood, California, beginning in mid-June 1997, the longest Madonna had ever worked on an album. For most of the recording process, only three other people were in the studio with Madonna: William Orbit, engineer named Pat McCarthy, and his assistant engineer, Matt Silva. They started recording in Los Angeles, but the recording process was initially plagued with machinery problems, as Orbit preferred to work with samples, synth sounds, and Pro Tools, and not with live musicians. The computers would break down, and recording would have to be delayed until they could be repaired. Orbit recorded the bulk of the album's instrumentation over a four-month period. Orbit recalls playing the guitar and having his fingers bleed during the long hours he spent in the studio.
After some errors in her pronunciation of Sanskrit shloka "Yoga Taravali" during the song "Shanti/Ashtangi", the BBC arranged for Madonna to take telephonic lessons to learn the basic correct pronunciation of Sanskrit words from eminent scholar Dr B P T Vagish Shastri. She then made the necessary pronunciation corrections on the album. In an interview with MTV, Madonna recalled the recording of the album, and said her business partner Guy Oseary was a helpful friend, and that after she and Orbit played him the tracks, he, to their dismay, said nothing and left the studio. "He really hates those icy strings. Right when I think the track's done, he sort of pushes us another step further. 'Maybe we should try this', or 'I really don't want to hear that'. And then of course, later on, it creeps in my brain, and I'm like, 'maybe I should have done a background vocal on that'. And then she comes in and happily does it, right?", Madonna said. Orbit also recalled during an interview with Q magazine that Madonna recorded "Swim" the day her friend and fashion designer Gianni Versace was killed in Miami, Florida. He also commented that this is probably why the track has an emotional impact.
Title and artwork
According to spokesperson Liz Rosenberg, Madonna considered titling the album Mantra, which she thought was a "really cool title". However, she changed the title to Ray of Light, as her albums were always titled after one of the songs from that album. The artwork was shot by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino. They had previously collaborated for a Versace brand collection. Madonna was impressed with the natural look Testino had captured, so she booked him again for the album's photoshoot. He recalled, "At 2pm she said, 'OK, I'm tired. We're done'. And I said, 'But I don't have the pictures yet'. She said, 'You're working for me and I say we're done'. I said, 'No, we carry on'. The picture she used on the cover came after that".
Ray of Light was a notable departure from Madonna's previous work, and has been described her most "adventurous" record. A electronica, dance and techno-pop album it also contains elements of several different types of music, including house, ambient, trip hop, drum and bass, rock, new wave, eastern and classical music. Vocally, the album was also a marked change from Madonna's previous work; as the singer underwent vocal training lessons for her 1996 film Evita, her vocals exhibited greater breadth and range, as well as a fuller timbre. In many songs, she also abandoned the vibrato which was present in her previous work. Critically, it is said to have Madonna's most full-bodied vocals.
The album's opening track and third single, "Drowned World/Substitute For Love" is a downtempo ballad drawing influences from jungle, drum and bass and trip hop music. The title is inspired by J.G. Ballard's post-apocalyptic science fiction novel The Drowned World (1962). "Swim", the second song, has a spiritual tone. She sings: "Swim to the ocean floor/So that we can begin again/Wash away all our sins/Crash to the other shore". "Ray of Light", the third track and album's second single, is an up-tempo electronic dance-pop song which contains strong techno tendencies and influences of trance music. A "sonically progressive" track, it also incorporates elements of rock music, with a prominent electric guitar riff. The melody also has several sound effects, including whistles and bleeps. "Candy Perfume Girl" has a grunge intro and continues to pair post-modern beeps and beats with old-fashioned electric guitar flare ups. In the next song, "Skin", Madonna sings "Do I know you from somewhere?" in a yearning voice over the beats of an electronic orchestra. The sixth track "Nothing Really Matters" is an up-tempo dance track which contains influences of techno.
"Sky Fits Heaven" focuses on Madonna's spiritual studies and her daughter Lourdes. Some lyrics include: "Sky fits heaven so fly it, that's what the prophet said to me/Child fits mother so hold your baby tight, that's what my future can see". Elements of the lyric are taken from the poem What Fits? by poet Max Blagg, the poem used for a 1993 advertisement for Gap Inc. "Shanti/Ashtangi" is a Hindu Sanskrit prayer and up-tempo techno song sung by Madonna with an Indian accent over a driving dance rhythm. The techno dance track features Madonna singing the adapted version of Shankaracharya entirely in Sanskrit with lines such as "Vunde gurunam caranaravinde/Sandarsita svatma sukhavabodhe".
"Frozen", the ninth track and album's first single, is a mid-tempo electronic ballad which has a layered sound enhanced by synthesizers and strings. The song additionally contains ambient qualities, a moderate dance rhythm during the chorus and techno-influenced beats towards the end. Madonna's vocals throughout the song lack vibrato, and have drawn comparisons to medieval music. Lyrically, the song is about a cold and emotionless man; nevertheless, subtexts have been noticed. According to Jarman-Ivens, lyrics such as "You're frozen, when your heart's not open" reflected an artistic palette, "encompassing diverse musical, textual and visual styles in its lyrics." "The Power Of Good-Bye" is an emotional ballad which lyrically meditates on loss and longing. It was released as the album's fourth single. "To Have and Not to Hold" is about a distant lover and "Little Star" is about her daughter, Lourdes. Both are superficially vibrant but with underlying subtlety and restrained arrangements prevailing. "Mer Girl",the album's final track, is a surreal meditation on mortality and the death of Madonna's mother, in which she sings, "And I smelled her burning flesh/Her rotting bones, her decay/I ran and I ran/I'm still running away."
Release and promotion
Ray of Light was released in Japan on February 22, 1998, with an additional Japan-only bonus track "Has to Be". The album was later released in the United States on March 3, 1998. In New Zealand, a box set of Ray of Light and The Immaculate Collection was released to accompany the album. It reached number 12 on the albums chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for shipment of 7,500 copies. A promotional instore VHS compilation titled Rays of Light was released in the United Kingdom in 1999, compiling all the music videos to all five singles from the album. All five videos were later included on the compilation The Video Collection 93:99 (1999). "Sky Fits Heaven" was released as a promotional single in the United States. It peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.
To promote the album, Madonna made a number of televised appearances and live performances of the album's songs. On February 14, 1998, she debuted "Sky Fits Heaven", "Shanti/Ashtangi" and "Ray of Light" at Roxy NYC nightclub. "Frozen" was performed on The National Lottery Show in the UK (February 21), 1998 Sanremo Music Festival in Italy (February 24), Wetten, dass..? in Germany (February 28) and Rosie O'Donnell Show in the United States (March 13). On April 27, Madonna made an unannounced appearance at Rock for the Rainforest benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City to sing "Frozen". She also joined the other stars of the concert, including Sting, Elton John, and Billy Joel to perform "With a Little Help From My Friends" and "Twist and Shout" with them. On May 29, Madonna appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and sang "Little Star" and "Ray of Light" there. On September 10, she opened 1998 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City with the performance of "Shanti/Ashtangi" and "Ray of Light" featuring Lenny Kravitz on guitar. "The Power of Good-bye" was sung at 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards in Italy (November 12) and Top of the Pops in the UK (November 19). On February 24, 1999, Madonna performed "Nothing Really Matters" at the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Madonna performed "Drowned World/Substitute For Love", "Ray Of Light", "Candy Perfume Girl", "Sky Fits Heaven", "Frozen" and "Mer Girl" on the Drowned World Tour, her fifth concert tour, which promoted Ray of Light and its successor album. It started in June 2001 and was Madonna's first tour in eight years. The tour was to be started before the new millennium, but she had become pregnant with her son Rocco Ritchie, released Music that year, and married Ritchie in December 2000. The show was divided into five sections, Cyber-Punk, Geisha, Cowgirl, Spanish and Ghetto. The Drowned World Tour received positive reviews. The tour was a commercial success, grossing a total of US$75 million, and it was the top concert tour of a solo artist in 2001. The concert was broadcast live on HBO from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on August 26, 2001. The Drowned World Tour 2001 DVD was released in all regions on November 13, 2001. Like the original airing of the show, the DVD received very good reviews. The photographs used on the DVD packaging were taken by Madonna's friend Rosie O'Donnell.
A slow tempo dance track featuring Madonna's voice over layers of string arrangements and synthesizers.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Frozen" was released as the lead single from the album on February 23, 1998. It peaked inside the top five in most musical markets worldwide, while topping the singles chart in Finland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, where it became Madonna's first single to debut at number one. It became her sixth single to peak at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, setting a record for Madonna as the artist with most number-two hits in the chart history. The song received critical acclaim, and was labelled a masterpiece whose sound was described as "cinematic". However, the Belgian court in 2005 ruled that the opening four-bar theme to the song was plagiarized from the song "Ma vie fout le camp", composed by Salvatore Acquaviva. The ruling forbade the sale of the single and the entire Ray of Light album, as well as other compilations that included the track in Belgium. In February 2014, a Belgian court ruled that Madonna did not plagiarize Acquaviva's work for "Frozen". The court spoke of a "new capital offense" in the file: composer Edouard Scotto Di Suoccio and societies Tabata Atoll Music and Music in Paris had also filed a complaint for plagiarism. According to them, both "Ma vie fout le camp" and "Frozen" originated in the song "Blood Night" which they composed in 1983. After all three tracks in the case were compared, the final ruling was that the songs were "not sufficiently 'original' to claim" that any plagiarism had taken place. This ruling ended the eight-year ban of the song that was in place in Belgium since 2005.
The album's second single, "Ray of Light", was released on May 6, 1998. It peaked at number one in Spain and attained the top five position in Canada, Finland, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. It entered the Hot 100 at number five, becoming Madonna's highest debut on the chart ever. The song was also a hit on Hot Dance Club Play chart, remaining at number one for four weeks, and became the "Top Hot Dance Club Play Single" of 1998. Critically, it also received positive reviews, being praised for its club-perfect, yet "sonically progressive" sound, as well as her powerful vocals.
"Drowned World/Substitute for Love" was released on August 24, 1998 as the third single outside the United States. It reached number one in Spain and the top ten in Italy and the United Kingdom. The music video, directed by Walter Stern, caused controversy due to scenes that featured Madonna being chased by paparazzi on motor-bikes, a scenario similar to Princess Diana's death in 1997. The fourth single, "The Power of Good-Bye", was released on September 22, 1998. It reached the top-ten peaks in Austria, Canada, Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom. In the United States, the song peaked at number eleven on the Hot 100. Its music video was directed by Matthew Rolston. "Nothing Really Matters" was released as the album's fifth and final single on March 2, 1999. It became a top-ten hit in Canada, Finland, Italy, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it became Madonna's lowest-charting single on the Hot 100, peaking at number 93, but was a number-one hit on its dance chart. Its music video, directed by Johan Renck, was inspired by Arthur Golden's book Memoirs of a Geisha, and featured Madonna dressed as a geisha.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
Ray of Light received widespread acclaim from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic called Ray of Light Madonna's "most adventurous record" and her "most mature and restrained album." In his review he gave the album four and a half out of five stars. Paul Verna from Billboard commented: "Easily her most mature and personal work to date, Ray of Light finds Madonna weaving lyrics with the painstaking intimacy of diary entries and wrapping them in hymn-like melodies and instrumentation swathed in lush, melancholy ambience—with forays into classic house, trance, and even guitar pop. Of course, she balances the set's serious tone with chewy pop nuggets that allow her to flex her immeasurably widened vocal range to fine effect." He finished the review by calling the album "a deliciously adventurous, ultimately victorious effort from one of pop music's most compelling performers." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described the album as "one of the great pop masterpieces of the '90s" and stated that: "Its lyrics are uncomplicated but its statement is grand" and "Madonna hasn't been this emotionally candid since Like a Prayer". Sheffield's review for Rolling Stone called the album "brilliant", but was critical of Orbit's production, saying that he doesn't know enough tricks to produce a whole album, and so becomes repetitive.
David Browne of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "For all her grapplings with self-enlightenment, Madonna seems more relaxed and less contrived than she's been in years, from her new Italian earth-mother makeover to, especially, her music. Ray of Light is truly like a prayer, and you know she'll take you there." Roni Sarig, in a review for City Pages, was most impressed by Madonna's vocal range, depth, and clarity and called Ray of Light "her richest, most accomplished record yet." Music critic Robert Hilburn from Los Angeles Times wrote, "One reason why her new Ray of Light is the most satisfying album of her career is that it reflects the soul-searching of a woman who is at a point in her life where she can look at herself with surprising candor and perspective." Writing for Melody Maker in February 1998, Mark Roland drew comparisons with the music of St Etienne and Björk's Homogenic album, highlighting Ray of Light's lack of cynicism as its most positive aspect: "It's not an album turned on the lathe of cynical pop manipulation, rather it's been squished out of a lump of clay on a foot-powered wheel. Lovingly teased into life, Ray of Light is like the ugly mug that doesn't match but is all the more special because of it." Joan Anderman from The Boston Globe said that Ray of Light is a remarkable album. He described it as a deeply spiritual dance record, ecstatically textured, a serious cycle of songs that goes a long way toward liberating Madonna from a career built on scavenged images and cultivated identities. Robert Christgau was less impressed in Playboy, deeming Ray of Light a "great-sounding" but average record because of enlightenment themes that always yield awkward results for pop entertainers, although he praised sensual songs such as "Skin" and "Candy Perfume Girl".
At the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, Ray of Light received four awards out of six nominations. The album won Best Pop Album and Best Recording Package, and was nominated for Album of the Year, while the title track won Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music Video, and was nominated for Record of the Year. The album gave Madonna her first musical Grammy of her career as previously she only won in the video category. Madonna also became the biggest winner of the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, winning six awards from nine nominations. "Frozen" won Best Special Effects; "Ray of Light" won Best Choreography, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Female Video and Video of the Year, and was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Dance Video and Breakthrough Video. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored Madonna two awards of Most Performed Song for "Frozen" and "Ray of Light" at the 1999 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, as well as Top Dance Song for "Ray of Light" at the 1999 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.
Ray of Light also gave Madonna several trophies from various international award shows—including two Danish Grammy Awards for Best International Album and Best International Female Vocalist from IFPI Denmark, a Fryderyk award for Best Foreign Album from Związek Producentów Audio Video (ZPAV) in Poland, a Golden Giraffe Award for International Pop Album of the Year from Mahasz in Hungary, two Porin awards for Best International Album and Best International Video ("Frozen") in Croatia, and two Rockbjörnen awards for Best International Album and Best International Artist in Sweden.
In Canada, Madonna won Best International Video for "Ray of Light" at the 1999 MuchMusic Video Awards and was nominated for Best Selling Album (Foreign or Domestic) at the 1999 Juno Awards. She also received Best Female and Best Album trophies at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards. At the 14th annual International Dance Music Awards, Madonna won Best Dance Solo Artist and Best Dance Video for "Ray of Light".
In the United States, Ray of Light debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart on the issue dated March 21, 1998. It set the record for biggest first-week sales by a female artist in Nielsen SoundScan era at that time with 371,000 copies sold. However, the album was not able to top the soundtrack album of the motion picture Titanic, becoming Madonna's fifth album to peak at the runner-up position. During the second week, the album sold 225,000 copies and was still kept off the top spot by the soundtrack. On March 16, 2000, the album was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of four million units of the album. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Ray of Light had sold 3.9 million copies in the United States as of September 2011. This figure does not include units sold through clubs like the BMG Music, where the album sold over 459,000 copies. In Canada, the album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart with first week sales of 59,900 copies. It was later certified seven times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipment of 700,000 copies. The album also achieved commercial success in Oceania, debuting at number one on the albums chart in Australia and New Zealand. It was certified triple platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and platinum by Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for shipments of 210,000 and 15,000 copies respectively.
In the United Kingdom, Ray of Light debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, remaining at the top spot for two weeks. It was certified six times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 1.8 million copies. In France, the album entered the albums chart at number two, staying there for seven weeks before descending the chart. It was certified three times platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for shipments of 900,000 copies. Actual sales of the album in France stand at 925,400 copies. In Germany, the album reached number one on the Media Control Charts and remained there for seven weeks. It remains Madonna's best-selling album in Germany with three times platinum certification from Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) for shipment of 1.5 million copies. Due to its commercial success in European countries, the album ultimately topped the European Top 100 Albums chart and was certified seven times platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for sales of seven million copies, becoming the third best selling albums in Europe for the 1998-2007 period. Ray of Light achieved similar success in the rest of world, topping the official charts of Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland. In total, Ray of Light has sold over 16 million copies worldwide.
Ray of Light has been credited for bringing electronica music into global pop culture. Los Angeles Times noted that "aside from occasional breakthroughs such as Fatboy Slim, electronica wasn't totally mainstream fare when Madonna released Ray of Light." Until the album brought the genre to the top of music charts, according to author J. Randy Taraborrelli, "techno and electronica had, for years, been the music played at so-called raves, hugely popular, illegal underground parties taking place in abandoned warehouse and deserted areas on the outskirts of town all around the world." AllMusic editor Liana Jonas stated that the album's title track has "brought mainstream attention to electronica music, which ascended from its underground status to wild popularity in the early 21st century." Thomas Harrison, author of Music of the 1990s, wrote that the production style of Ray of Light was "idiomatic of new trends in electronic music with significant use of digital sampling and use of an electronic synthesizer."
Elliott H. Powell in an American Studies for New York University observed that Ray of Light made South Asian culture accessible to the American public in the 1990s. Rhonda Hammer and Douglas Kellner in their book Media/cultural Studies: Critical Approaches recalled that "the phenomenon of South Asian-inspired femininity as a Western media trend can be traced to February 1998, when pop icon Madonna released her video "Frozen"." They explained that "although Madonna did not initiate the fashion for Indian beauty accessories [...] she did propel it into the public eye by attracting the attention of the worldwide media."
According to Taraborrelli, the album has been hailed as bold and refreshing in contemporary music of the late 1990s, which was dominated by boybands and teenage artists such as the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Larry Flick from Billboard said that the album "not only provided the chameleon-like artist with her first universally applauded critical success, it has also proved that she remains a vital figure amongst woefully fickle young audiences." Music critic Lucy O'Brien commented: "1998's Ray of Light certainly rehabilitated Madonna's image. Up to that point she had still been written off as an average pop glamour girl who got lucky, but with this record she reached a whole new audience, proving that she was a good songwriter with an intensely productive talent." Mary von Aue from Stereogum stated that "Ray of Light reestablished Madonna as a groundbreaking artist."
Ray of Light continued to influence mainstream music when British singer and songwriter, Adele, stated that the album was one of the main sources of inspiration for her third studio album, 25. Particularly, "Frozen" was a source of inspiration as well, admitting that the track gave her "confidence to come and do me again". Adele further added that Ray of Light was Madonna's best album and found several comparisons between herself and Madonna during that stage of her life.
Due to its impact on popular music, Ray of Light has been featured on numerous critics' lists of greatest albums of all time. Rolling Stone magazine placed the album at number 367 on the list of "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2001, a quarter of a million music fans on VH1 voted Ray of Light as the 10th of "100 Best Albums of All Time". In 2003, Ray of Light was allocated at number 17 on Q magazine readers' list of "100 Greatest Albums Ever". The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Mojo magazine also listed Ray of Light at number 29 on "100 Modern Classics: The Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime". In 2013, the album was also included at number 241 on NME magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Madonna herself considered Ray of Light the most fulfilling evolution of her career.
|Ray of Light – Standard edition|
|1.||"Drowned World/Substitute for Love"||
|3.||"Ray of Light"||
|4.||"Candy Perfume Girl"||
|6.||"Nothing Really Matters"||
|7.||"Sky Fits Heaven"||
|10.||"The Power of Good-Bye"||
|11.||"To Have and Not to Hold"||
|Ray of Light – Japanese bonus track|
|14.||"Has to Be"||
- "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" contains a sample of "Why I Follow the Tigers", as performed by the San Sebastian Strings.
- "Shanti/Ashtangi" adapted from text by Shankaracharya, taken from the Yoga Taravali. Additional text: Traditional, Translation by Vyass Houston and Eddie Stern.
- "Mer Girl" contains an interpolation and elements from "Space" performed by Gábor Szabó.
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.
|Australia (ARIA)||3× Platinum||210,000^|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||2× Platinum||100,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||7× Platinum||700,000^|
|France (SNEP)||3× Platinum||925,400|
|Germany (BVMI)||3× Platinum||1,500,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Platinum||20,000*|
|Japan (RIAJ)||2× Platinum||400,000^|
|Netherlands (NVPI)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||7,500^|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||2× Platinum||100,000*|
|Poland (ZPAV)||2× Platinum||200,000*|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|Sweden (GLF)||3× Platinum||240,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||3× Platinum||150,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||6× Platinum||1,800,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||4,359,000|
|Europe (IFPI)||7× Platinum||7,000,000*|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Japan||February 22, 1998||CD, LP||Standard|
|United Kingdom||March 2, 1998||CD, LP, cassette, mini-album||Standard, limited edition|
|United States||March 3, 1998||CD||Standard, limited edition|
|Japan||September 8, 1998||CD||Double edition|
- List of albums which have spent the most weeks on the UK Albums Chart
- List of best-selling albums
- List of best-selling albums in Brazil
- List of best-selling albums in Europe
- List of best-selling albums in Germany
- List of number-one albums of 1998 (Australia)
- List of number-one albums of 1998 (Canada)
- List of number-one hits of 1998 (Europe)
- List of number-one albums of 1998 (Spain)
- List of number-one albums of the 1990s (UK)
- Taraborrelli 2008, p. 535–538
- Black, Johnny (August 2002). "Making of Ray of Light". Q. 17 (8). ISSN 0955-4955.
- Walters, Barry (April 1998). "Madonna: The 'Ray of Light' Cover Story, 'Madonna Chooses Dare'". Spin. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- Kot, Greg. "The Methods and Machinery Behind Madonna's Ray of Light By Greg Rule". Keyboard Magazine. Miller Freeman, Inc. Archived from the original on October 9, 1999. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Madonna Considers Signing Up For Sanskrit Lessons". MTV News. MTV Networks. December 31, 1998. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Madonna learnt Sanskrit via phone calls". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. September 8, 2001. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "MTV Bands - Archive - M - Madonna". MTV. MTV Networks. p. 2. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
- "Newsbytes". Icon. 7 (2): 15. 1997.
- Farndale, Nigel. "Mario Testino: 'it's not all glamour'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (March 6, 1998). "Ray of Light". AllMusic. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Ray Of Light". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Ray of Light - EW.com". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- Anderman, Joan (March 1, 1998) "Madonna Captures the Moment and Sees the Spiritual Light". Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- Walters, Barry (May 1999). "Mess Is More". Spin. 15 (5): 145–46. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 24
- Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, pp. 59–61
- Cinquemani, Sal (March 9, 2003). "Madonna - Ray Of Light - Music Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
- "Revolutions: Madonna's "Ray of Light"". Vibe. 6 (3): 196. 1998. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
- Lark, Bryan (March 10, 1998). "Madonna Opens Heart and Soul on 'Light'". The Michigan Daily. University of Michigan. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 63
- "Madonna Gets Lyrical Help From Gap Ad, Freezes For 'Frozen'". MTV News. March 18, 1998. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- DeRogartis 2003, p. 398
- Gopinath 2005, p. 28
- Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, pp. 92
- Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, pp. 55–58
- レイ・オブ・ライト [Madonna 'Ray of Light'] (in Japanese). Oricon. February 22, 1998. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
- "Top 50 Albums – October 10, 1999". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- ‹See Tfm›Rays of Light (Media notes). Madonna. Maverick, Warner Bros., Warner Music UK. 1999. PRO-RAY-VHS.
- Trust, Gary (September 15, 2009). "'Celebration': Madonna's 40 Most Impressive Instants". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
- Vineyard, Jennifer (February 16, 1998). "Madonna Lights Up New York's Roxy". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- "Madonna performs at the BBC National Lottery Show". Icon: Madonna Official Website. Madonna.com. 1998-02-21. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Madonna 'Frozen' In Place By Music Festival Host". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- Vorrath 2011, p. 223
- "Madonna chats with Rosie O'Donnell". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- Pareles, Jon (1998-04-29). "POP REVIEW; Meet the Beatles Again, And Their Musical Fans". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- "Madonna Steps Into The Media "Light" With Oprah, Firms Up Film Work". MTV News. MTV Networks. May 27, 1998. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- Kaufman, Gil (September 14, 1998). "Hindu Group Calls Madonna Performance Sacrilege". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
- "Spice Girls take MTV crown". BBC News. November 13, 1998. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- "Top of the Pops – video archive". BBC. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Madonna through the years". The Washington Post. March 26, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- King, Larry (January 19, 1999). "Interview: Madonna reviews life on Larry King Live". CNN. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Lumley, James (November 21, 2008). "Madonna, Guy Ritchie Divorce Approved by U.K. Court". Bloomberg Television. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Guilbert 2002, p. 76
- Moss, Cory (June 11, 2001). "Few Hits, Many Costumes At Madonna Tour Launch". MTV. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- Price, Simon (July 9, 2001). "Madonna, Earls Court, London". The Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Wiederhorn, Jon (December 21, 2001). "U2, 'NSYNC, Backstreet Top List Of 2001's Biggest Concert Grossers". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- Schumacher-Rasmussen, Eric (May 24, 2001). "Madonna Bringing Drowned World To HBO". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- Guilbert 2002, p. 189
- "Madonna – Frozen". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Madonna". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- "Madonna Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- Mitchell, John (August 16, 2011). "Happy Birthday, Madonna!". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- Songwriter wins case against Madonna. Associated Press via USA Today. November 18, 2005. Retrieved 2006-05-22.
- Verschueren, Rogier (January 4, 2014). "Belg krijgt ongelijk in plagiaatzaak tegen Madonna over 'Frozen'". De Standaard (in Dutch). Retrieved January 4, 2014.
- "Madonna 'Frozen' ban lifted in Belgium after 8 years". Digital Spy. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 8480486392.
- "Madonna – Ray of Light". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Madonna - Awards – Billboard Albums – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Madonna – Drowned World (Substitute for Love)". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "BBC News Entertainment". Madonna: Mad for Success at 40. August 15, 1998. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
- "Madonna – The Power of Good-Bye". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Madonna – Nothing Really Matters". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Madonna - Nothing Really Matters video". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- Power, Tony (March 1998). "Ray of Light". Blender. Dennis Publishing Ltd. ISSN 1534-0554.
- Kot, Greg (March 1, 1998). "New-material Girl". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
- Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Muze. p. 427. ISBN 0195313739.
- Browne, David (March 6, 1998). "Ethereal Girl". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- Sullivan, Caroline (February 27, 1998). "Review: Madonna – Ray of Light (WEA)". The Guardian: 18. ISSN 0261-3077.
- NME. London: 43. February 28, 1998.
- Sheffield, Rob (April 2, 1998). "Madonna: Ray of Light review". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- Gundersen, Edna (March 3, 1998). "Her 'Ray of Light' shines earnestly in new direction". USA Today. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- "Lauryn: Grammy Whammy". People. April 19, 1999. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- Verna, Paul (March 14, 1998). "Reviews & Previews – Spotlight: Madonna, Ray of Light". Billboard. 110 (11): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- Sarig, Roni (March 25, 1998). "Madonna - Ray of Light". City Pages. Village Voice Media. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- Hilburn, Robert (March 1, 1998). "Madonna, Only More So". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- Roland, Mark (February 28, 1998). "Review: Madonna – Ray Of Light, Maverick". Melody Maker: 42. ISSN 0025-9012.
- Christgau, Robert (March 1998). "Madonna, Buster Poindexter, Billy Swan, Percy Sledge". Playboy. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
- "General Categories". Los Angeles Times. February 25, 1999. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Multiple Grammy Nods for 'City of Angels,' Madonna, Faith Hill, Pat Metheny And More as Warner Bros. and Reprise Artists Shine". Warner Bros. Records. January 5, 1999. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Madonna, Prodigy, Will Smith, Aerosmith Win Big At Video Music Awards". MTV News. MTV Networks. September 10, 1998. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Newman, Melinda (May 29, 1999). "Waren Big ASCAP Winner: Songwriter Of The Year For the 5th Time". Billboard. 111 (22): 8. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Hazelwood, Darrell T. (May 28, 1999). "Flash! / The latest entertainment news and more...". Newsday: A.16. ISSN 0278-5587.
- Ferro, Charles (February 9, 1999). "Den Gale Pose nabs four Dansk Grammys". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- "Nominowani i laureaci 1998" (in Polish). Związek Producentów Audio Video. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- "A 1999-es Arany Zsiráf Díj jelöltjei" (in Hungarian). Hungarian Music Awards. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- "Institut Hrvatske Glazbene Industrije – Dobitnici Porin 1999" (in Croatian). Porin. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- "Rockbjörnsvinnare sedan 1979 – här är hela listan". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Schibsted. January 16, 2006. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "1998 Much Music Video Awards – Winners". MuchMusic Video Awards. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
- "Juno Awards Database: Madonna". Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
- "MTV Europe Music Awards Winners 1994-2000". Billboard. 113 (45): 50. November 10, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "14th Annual International Dance Music Awards". Winter Music Conference. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
- "Between the Bullets". Billboard. 110 (46): 100. November 14, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- Caulfield, Keith (April 30, 2008). "First day sales put Madonna on track for 7th No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- "Madonna Once Again Rules The World". Rolling Stone. March 21, 1998. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- "American album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 27, 2014. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Caulfield, Keith (September 3, 2011). "Madonna Fans Rejoice: New Album Due in Spring 2012". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
- Barry David (February 18, 2003). "Shania, Backstreet, Britney, Eminem and Janet Top All-Time Sellers". Music Industry News Network. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
- Williams, John (December 2, 2004). "Madonna debuts at No. 1". Jam!. Canoe.ca. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Canadian album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light". Music Canada. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "New Zealand album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "UK Albums Chart – Week of March 14, 1998". Official Charts Company. March 14, 1998. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "British album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 27, 2014. Enter Ray of Light in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
- "Madonna – Ray of Light (album)". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Les Albums Triple Platine" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
- "German Album Chart: Search for Madonna" (in German). Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Madonna; 'Ray of Light')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Hits of the World". Billboard. 110 (13): 39. March 28, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2002". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards: Best-selling albums in Europe over the past decade (1998-2007)" (PDF). IFPI. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Taraborelli 2002, pp. 303
- "Madonna, Ray of Light". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Taraborelli 2002, pp. 301
- Jonas, Liana. "Ray of Light - Madonna". AllMusic. Macrovision Company. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Harrison 2011, pp. 4
- Media/cultural Studies: Critical Approaches - Google Books. Books.google.co.id. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- Taraborrelli 2002, p. 327
- "Awards Ceremony To Feature A Circus Theme". Billboard. 131: 87. December 5, 1998.
- She Bop II: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop and Soul - Lucy O'Brien - Google Books. Books.google.co.id. 2003-10-16. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "Madonna Albums From Worst To Best". Stereogum. March 11, 2015. Archived from the original on April 30, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- Hiatt, Brian (3 November 2015). "Adele: Inside Her Private Life and Triumphant Return". RollingStone. p. 2. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Corner, Lewis (3 November 2015). "Adele was inspired by Madonna's Ray of Light while making new album 25". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- Maslow, Nick (3 November 2015). "Adele Admits She Was 'Drifting Away' After Giving Birth – and Then Madonna Inspired Her". People. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "500 Greatest Albums: Ray of Light - Madonna". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Branigan, Tania (November 22, 2001). "U2 crush Beatles in top album poll". The Guardian. London. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". Quintessence Editions Ltd. 2003. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- "100 Modern Classics". Mojo: 64. May 2006. ISSN 1351-0193.
- Kaye, Ben (October 25, 2013). "The Top 500 Albums of All Time, according to NME". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Madonna Back on Twitter". ABC News. Yahoo!!. April 5, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- ‹See Tfm›Ray of Light (liner notes). Madonna. Maverick Records. 1998. 9362-46847-2.
- "Hits of the World". Billboard. 110 (14): 45. April 4, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- "Hungarian Albums Chart". Mahasz.hu. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
- "Madonna: Discografia Italiana". Federation of the Italian Music Industry. HitParadeItalia. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- "Hits of the World". Billboard. 110 (12): 59. March 21, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
- "Danishcharts.com – Madonna – Ray of Light". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Spanishcharts.com – Madonna – Ray of Light". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart" (in Polish). OLiS. June 4, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Albums 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jahreshitparade 1998" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jaaroverzichten 1998" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Rapports annuels 1998" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "RPM's Top 100 CDs of '98". RPM. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jaaroverzichten - Album 1998" (in Dutch). MegaCharts 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Classements Albums - année 1998" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "1998年 アルバム年間TOP100" [Oricon Year-end Albums Chart of 1998] (in Japanese). Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "Top Selling Albums of 1998". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1998" (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "1999 The Year in Music". Billboard. 110 (52). December 26, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Albums 1999". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jahreshitparade 1999" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jaaroverzichten 1999" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Rapports annuels 1999" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Jaaroverzichten - Album 1999" (in Dutch). MegaCharts 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Classements Albums - année 1999" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "1999 The Year in Music". Billboard. 111 (52). December 25, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Best-selling Albums". Austriancharts.at (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "Disos de Oro y Platino". CAPIF. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011.
- "Austrian album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved January 27, 2014. Enter Madonna in the field Interpret. Enter Ray of Light in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
- "Brazilian album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "Madonna" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "French album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1998". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "The Record – レイ・オブ・ライト" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan. July 1998. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Dutch album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- "Norwegian album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- "Polish album certifications – Madonna – Ray of Light" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2000" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Madonna; 'Ray of Light')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #WPCR-2000". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #WPJR-2003/4". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #9362 46847 4". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #9362 46847 8". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #9 46847-2, 9 46847-2". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light #9 46884-2". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Madonna - Ray Of Light / Words + Music #WPCR-10556/7". discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- Taraborrelli, Randy J. (2002). Madonna: An Intimate Biography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-2880-4.
- Fouz-Hernández, Santiago; Jarman-Ivens, Freya (2004). Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-3372-1.
- Metz, Allen; Benson, Carol (1999). The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Group. ISBN 0-8256-7194-9.
- Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1990s. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0313379420.
- DeRogartis, Jim (2003). Turn On Your Mind : Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780634055485.
- Gopinath, Gayatri (2005). Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822335139.