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With a catalogue as rich and provocative as Madonna’s, it is difficult to rank her top 10 greatest hits. However, TheCelebrityCafe.com was up for the challenge! From swing/jazz to thumping nightclub dance music, the Queen of Reinvention has managed to keep us guessing with every new song. While at least one track from 8 out of Madonna’s 12 albums makes this list, there are so many gems that almost made the cut. Without further adieu, here are our top 10 favorite Madonna songs of all time.
Ahhh, the title song to Madonna’s raciest era to date. It is easy to forget about Madonna’s Erotica album, since it came out a time the media fixated on her explicit Sex coffee table book. However, Madonna’s fifth album is still one of her best to date. On "Erotica," a titillating pop track that incorporates elements of new swing and jazz, Madonna croons to “put your hands all over my body.” It is an icy, cool, and raucous romp. Most recently, Madonna did a mash-up of “Erotica” and Hard Candy’s “Candy Shop” during her 2012 MDNA Tour.
9. “4 Minutes”
This song is one of few good parts on 2008’s incredibly trite and peer-pressured Hard Candy album. Madonna put on her hip-hop hat and collaborated with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland on this street-sleek disco thumper. Urgent kettle drums and the incessant ticking of a clock play in the background as Madonna and Timberlake sing they “only have 4 minutes to save the world.” The song was Madonna’s last commercial radio success.
From Madonna’s smooth and silky adult contemporary R&B album Bedtime Stories, “Secret” is a mid-tempo jam that allows Madonna to show off her vocal range. Madge has never wowed audiences at her singing abilities; however, “Secret” (and Bedtime Stories ) proved why Madonna received a record deal in the first place. The mesmerizing bridge “Mmmm/Something’s coming over me” locks listeners in a euphoric trance. The radio-friendly upbeat remix version is also a fun listen.
7. “Like A Virgin”
Casual Madonna fans may be shocked this song is only #7 on our list; however, diehard fans know the Material Girl’s quintessential song is not one of her best. In fact, the song’s iconic status and accompanying video are what make it memorable, not the track itself.
6. “Hung Up”
After 2003’s disastrous American Life album, Madonna reclaimed her position on the pop throne with 2005’s Confessions on a Dancefloor . She led this era with the retro-hectic head-banger “Hung Up.” The track reinvents classic 70s disco with modern dance sounds and a killer bridge that samples ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme.” The nerve-wracking ticking of a clock remains in the background of this entire song, giving fans the urgency to dance their hearts out until time is up.
5. “Ray of Light”
As the title track from what many music scholars consider Madonna’s best album of all time, “Ray of Light” rounds out our top 5. The song comes from the revolutionary 1998 album Ray of Light , the first Top 40 album to strongly embrace electronic dance music. The song is lighter-than-air with whooshing sounds, eccentric beeps, and Madonna’s voice sounding stronger than ever.
4. “Like A Prayer”
Perhaps Madonna’s most-celebrated classic hit, “Like A Prayer” stands alone as the most influential pop song by a female artist of all time. The gospel-inspired dance track set the world on fire with its suggestive lyrics and even more provocative video (Remember the Black Jesus)? However, controversy aside, the song is truly an artistic masterpiece.
3. “Open Your Heart”
As Madonna's most boisterous classic song, we decided “Open Your Heart” deserved the #3 spot. “Open Your Heart” set the standard for Madonna’s stylish dance genre. Lyrics like “Open your heart, I’ll make you love me/It’s not that hard, if you just turn the key” make the song refreshingly uncomplicated and fun.
“Music makes the people come together.” It was a simple lyric, but the powerful message that ushered Madonna into the new millennium. Yes, Madonna’s second best song of all time comes from an album released in 2000—18 years after her debut. With stiff competition from then-pop tarts Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Madonna had a point to prove: she was the undisputed Queen of Pop. With “Music’s” inventive electronic sound, electrifying bridge, and cascading chorus, she certainly proved her point.
Before Lady Gaga was telling fans she was “born this way,” Madonna was promoting a similar message with “Vogue.” Perhaps Madonna’s most universally well-liked song, “Vogue” introduced the art of “voguing” to the mainstream radio audience. Although literally a form of fashion posing, Madonna turned it into a self-love revolution. By urging listeners to “vogue,” Madonna was really telling them to embrace who they were. And of course, you cannot beat the iconic black and white video.