Top 40 single reviews

Ray Of Light
Album: Ray Of Light
Year: 1998

Madonna wonders what life holds for her daughter in the gleaming "Ray Of Light."

Quiet synths open and then scurry off, setting a mobile tone. In the first verse, she sits on her front porch, crying after her only daughter has left home again. Her daughter is struggling at college. She thinks of how if she could, she would keep her daughter from feeling the self-loathing. However, it's a cruel reality of having children: seeing them disappointed and hurt.

"Zephyr in the sky at night I wonder/Do my tears of mourning sink beneath the sun/She's got herself a universe gone quickly/For the call of thunder threatens everyone."

In the chorus, she says her child is the most wonderful person she has ever met. Her life has come full circle.

"And I feel like I just got home/And I feel/And I feel like I just got home/And I feel."

In the second verse, her daughter is growing up each day. She's graduating from college with a degree in political science. Madonna reflects on how she used to cradle her in her arms. Her daughter currently is engaged to a young man and has a job lined up for her. Everything she had wished for her daughter has come true.

"Faster than the speeding light she's flying/Trying to remember where it all began/She's got herself a little piece of heaven/Waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one."

The chorus is sung again.

In the bridge, she says the time with her daughter has gone by faster than she thought.

"Quicker than a ray of light/Quicker than a ray of light/Quicker than a ray of light."

The keyboards then twist and take flight.

The first verse is sung again.

In the second verse, she says her daughter will have a husband and children to take care of her after she's gone.

“And I feel/Quicker than a ray of light/Then gone for/Someone else shall be there/Through the endless years."

In the second bridge, she says her daughter has her own part of the world now.

"She's got herself a universe/She's got herself a universe/She's got herself a universe."

The second chorus is sung.

"And I feel/And I feel/And I feel like I just got home/And I feel."

In the final section, she says both she and her daughter are parents and viewing life from a mother’s point of view.

"Quicker than a ray of light she's flying/Quicker than a ray of light I'm flying."

She would dismiss her parents when they would say "you'll think the same way when you have kids." She thought they were being overly cautious. Like her parents, her daughter is a precious person she feels humble to have. To watch her achieve her dreams and live was the most difficult but exhilarating experience in her life.

Madonna's cathartic, protective vocals reach new emotional heights. She's nurturing and fiercely tender. It's a softer side of her which up until 1998 was kept hidden.

William Orbit's keyboard arrangement scampers and races at a rapid pace, emphasizing how fleeting life is.

"Ray Of Light" is a dance-pop gem.

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