From her pop classics to the gems from the 1990s, Madonna has given the world some of the best pop songs of all time. As the Queen of pop turns 60 today, we take a quick look at some of her biggest hits. Be sure to share your favourites in the comments section below.
“It makes no difference if you’re black or white; if you’re a boy or a girl.”
This fun, empowering anthem was inspired by the glitz and glamour of the New York underground ballroom scene. Vogue introduced a new word that meant to strike a pose, a dance trend and a New York City subculture to the mainstream. It also paid a homage to the sexual freedom and flagrant theatrics that the routine evokes to this day.
Ray of Light (1998)
This song marked a new chapter in Madonna’s career. It won two Grammy Awards (best dance recording and best short form music video) in 1999. The music video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, shows a day on Earth from sunrise to sunset. At the end of the day, the pop singer hits the clubs to unwind.
Papa Don’t Preach (1986)
This melancholy song pushed the boundaries of pop as it showed Madonna addressing more mature themes. It told a coming-of-age story of a girl confessing her unplanned pregnancy to her overprotective father. The catchy beat and lyrics made it impossible not to dance to.
Material Girl (1984)
This feminist anthem was sometimes criticised for being shallow. Madonna points out that there is nothing wrong with appreciating fashion and the finer things in life and it doesn’t make you frivolous or vain, However, it may not be the best approach when looking for a partner.
Like A Virgin (1984)
This song was met with a lot of controversies, damned by the media and condemned by the Catholic Church. It arguably made Madonna the feminist icon she is today. Family organisations throughout North America complained that it promoted unsafe sex before marriage. But its legacy was unquestionable. Some universities began to offer courses in Madonna studies throughout the 1990s.
Like a Prayer (1989)
One of the best songs from Madonna, Like a Prayer was a crowning achievement for the singer and pop music in general. Madonna did not hide the fact that her work was heavily influenced by her own upbringing surrounded by Italian Catholicism. But this, with its intimacy and intermix of sex and religion, brought forth a sense of freedom. The video also made a sincere statement about racism and police brutality.
La Isla Bonita (1987)
“Te dijo te amo”, you say? No idea, but it sounds good. We found ourselves caught up in this romantic song that told a cautionary tale of Madonna falling head over heels for a dark and handsome bloke named San Pedro.
Into the Groove (1985)
This is THE Madonna club track. Although it isn’t a technical musical feat like some of Madonna’s later dance work, it set the framework for the many “lose yourself to dance” songs that followed. Her signature spoken introduction prelude some of her best work. It was like a siren to make a run for the dancefloor before the bassline kicks in.
An alluring, capacious and vaguely mystical electro-ballad, Madonna took flight with the swirling strings and synths in this song (especially the chorus). Produced by William Orbit, this exquisite, evoking and an outright charming song is one of Madonna’s most underrated singles.
Express Yourself (1989)
That year, Madonna had quite a lot to say about love and female liberation. First of all, you deserve the best. If you aren’t receiving the best, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. Also, you have to respect yourself. You’re better off alone than settling. If there is something you need, ask for it. Demand it!