Madonna is turning 60.
Over the years, the Queen of Pop has released a lot of phenomenal music.
Most of these songs would be considered career-defining if they were sung by other artists. But for Madonna, she has dozens of them.
So as we prepare for new music, we have to look back at one of pop’s finest discographies.
60 Bitch I’m Madonna
First off, none of the 60 songs listed are bad. This one is last as it’s just a little cringe. She’s wearing a grill, she’s chasing trends, and it comes off as a bit embarrassing.
Who thought sock puppets were a good idea for the video?
59 Hanky Panky
Sure, sex has always been important. Hanky Panky is less sexual and feminist liberation and more corny and blatant. Forgettable number that sounds like track six of a musical theatre cast album.
Madonna constantly is referencing her discography, and we love her for it. This could be better.
sorA dodgy bridge section, an unoriginal beat, the whole things feels forced. We wish the song instilled a nostalgia for her past, but we love it for unapologetically looking to the future. A
57 Give Me All Your Luvin’
Yes, we get it, you’re performing at the Super Bowl. This was a bad choice for lead single from the unappreciated album MDNA. We get that she wanted to reintroduce herself to the American public, but this was still not a great way to do it.
56 Who’s That Girl?
This might not be the best time we saw Spanish influence, but it certainly wasn’t the worst (that was Hard Candy’s Spanish Lesson). Great fun song, but a bit forgettable.
The actual first single. It sounds like a typical song of the decade, selling the young teen as an up-and-comer. But there’s something special to it, something that proves there’s a Queen of Pop to come.
54 American Life
Sure Bush was bad, but who else is waiting to see Madonna’s response to Trump? Sadly, considering the backlash she got from this, that wish might be a bit unlikely. Rapping about soy lattes side, this original video made a powerful statement.
53 Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
Best film role – let’s just say ever.
A year after RuPaul’s Supermodel of the World was released, in 1994 we got this soft, sweet and sensual song. The video was an ode to black queer culture of New York City.
51 Die Another Day
It may not be the best Bond theme but it’s no way near as bad as many think it is.
50 Dress You Up
It’s a fun 80s song. There’s not much else to it, but you can’t deny how fun it is.
49 Girl Gone Wild
48 Causing A Commotion
This is absolutely a gem, but Causing A Commotion ironically sinks in the background when it comes to Madonna’s 80s classics.
47 Give It 2 Me
Self-empowerment is a typical theme in Madonna’s work. Give it 2 Me shines with this Pharrell-produced track. However, why does it look like the video was made for 20 dollars?
If you’ve gone from rural life to the big city, this should be your soundtrack.
45 Bedtime Story
Madonna at her most daring and experimental, but it doesn’t exactly have much replay potential.
44 What It Feels Like For A Girl
This might be quiet, but it’s so angry. One of the most stark and clear reminder that Madonna can write some incredible lyrics
43 Rescue Me
It’s as if Justify My Love and Vogue had a song baby.
42 Open Your Heart
One of Madonna’s classics, and for a good reason. Music video gets plus points for the gay sailers and for making short hair on women sexy. Points off for the centering the video around a pervy teen.
Far catchier than most songs on American Life, this takes Drowned World’s message and kicks it up several more notches.
40 You’ll See
Madonna’s been criticized heavily at several points in her career. This ballad was a quiet and defiant response.
39 Love Profusion
It’s not surprising American Life scared some, but what is surprising is how she finished the album campaign. Starting off with literal grenades, and ending with this – something softer, sweeter and easier to swallow.
38 The Power of Good-Bye
This is a serious, mature, heartbreaking song. And it’s still a beautiful listen.
37 Don’t Tell Me
Lyrics don’t make a lot of sense, but that doesn’t matter. This is unique, country-electronic pop.
36 Nothing Really Matters
With hard-step beats and soaring melody, this is a Ray of Light stand-out.
35 La Isla Bonita
It’s a fun song. Not much more to say.
34 Me Against The Music
Yes, you can say this is a bit more of a Britney tune. And yes, the sapphic teasing feels a bit dated. This song is so good that stuff hardly matters.
33 Take A Bow
With soulful, poetic lyrics, this is bittersweet but also stunning.
32 True Blue
Totally retro, light-hearted and fun. This song was the soundtrack of many 80s and 90s kids.
31 Bad Girl
The album Erotica was all about the pleasure of pain, and many saw this song as somewhat out of character for Madonna. But this is about the pain of pleasure, and deserving of another listen.
This is arguably the best ballad of her most recent years. The chorus is beautiful, atmospheric and haunting. While the video is stunning, we wish the verses were more interesting.
29 Oh Father
Most people know Madonna lost her mom at a young age. They also know this song is about her anger towards her father. One of her most subtle take-downs of religion, it has been covered by many great singers like Sia.
28 Drowned World/Substitute For Love
We know Madonna likes to ponder on the meaning of fame. But, despite that, this is probably her dreamiest single to date.
When you’re the Queen of Pop, you have to make sure your songs translate. Thumping beats and a killer melody makes sense in any language.
26 Living For Love
Now, Madonna, this is what a lead single should sound like. Timeless break-up song, empowering, and smooth vocals. A call-back to the 90s house era that most people can only copy.
25 Crazy For You
Slow dance at prom, anyone?
24 Turn Up The Radio
Give this another listen, it’s Madonna’s best song she has released in the past few years. The production, with its blowing stereos and thrilling beats, is a work of art. In a perfect world, MDNA’s output would have had this as the lead single. (Addicted should have been second, Girl Gone Wild third, and Masterpiece fourth – prove me wrong gays.)
23 4 Minutes
4 Minutes is safe. It’s got a Timbaland beat, it’s got a marching band, it’s got Justin Timberlake and there’s a shoe-horned in environmental message. But you can’t argue that it’s a fun, freaky and sexy dance song. Like Me Against The Music, many wondered whether this sounded like Madonna was a featured artist on her own single. This is just her being who she is – putting her own spin on popular and burgeoning music trends.
But this is as daring as it gets. No other mainstream artist would dare, in a million years, release this today.
21 Burning Up
When Madonna was just getting started, no one had any idea she came from a rock background. Burning Up was her showing she had a little bit of edge to her.
No other artist would have the balls to just make a song called ‘Music’. It’s essentially saying, ‘go home, I’ve got the definitive song right here’. That confidence is part of why we call her the Queen of Pop. And while she might misstep sometimes (like that Ali G cameo), it’s still a quintessential track.
19 Beautiful Stranger
Mod-donna – this psychedelic pop track just works. Because she has tried so many genres, and has such a longevity, there are different ‘entry points’ for new fans. This was mine.
18 Live To Tell
Looking at Madonna’s career, one theme keeps coming up: the keeping and telling of secrets. This is one of her best.
The production behind this is phenomenal, with soaring strings and breath-taking beats.
16 Human Nature
Released when Madonna was being heavily slammed for choosing to be open about sexuality, this is the ultimate middle finger to her critics.
15 Justify My Love
Has the sound of sex ever been perfected? This might be it.
14 Lucky Star
Pure ingenue. Pop at its most 80s.
Sometimes, all you want from a song is a simple message about love. And this is Cherish, a perfectly constructed, effortless pop song.
Madonna may have done more complicated songs, and experimented more, but Borderline is pure pop finery. With it being Madonna’s first song in the US top 10, it made her the star she is today.
11 Deeper and Deeper
Why does a fairly obscure song deserve to be number 11 on this list? Not only is it infectious, entrancing and one of her best dance anthems, the lyrics are a metaphor for a boy accepting his homosexuality. This was done a full 20 years before other artists told us we were ‘born this way’.
So many themes echo through Madonna’s work. Ultimately, her work began with ‘celebration’. Music like Holiday was about setting yourself free from the miseries of the world. And that is why she has lasted so long, because that feeling, that crave, that need is timeless.
9 Into The Groove
That theme of celebration was perfected in Into The Groove. ‘Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free’ says it all.
8 Papa Don’t Preach
Transcendent. From burgeoning pop starlet, songs like Papa Don’t Preach made her a fully-fledged international star. The iconic strings and the pleading in her vocals all combine to make a masterstroke of pop.
7 Material Girl
Madonna may have become known as the Material Girl, but that’s because people didn’t get the song was satirical. By playing Marilyn Monroe, she was identifying herself as the ‘blonde playing dumb, but far smarter than she seems’.
6 Ray of Light
Her finest vocal performance. Ray of Light imagines what if a club song could become celestial, elevating pop music to the heavens.
5 Hung Up
Madonna knows camp, and sampling ABBA is camp. It’s enough to send any gay fan into pop ecstasy.
4 Express Yourself
Feminism, empowerment and sexual gender-bending and freedom epitomised in a single song.
3 Like A Virgin
Definitive. Imagine living in a world where Like A Virgin didn’t exist? No bridal parties singing the song in karaoke bars, no dance floors filled at weddings.
2 Like A Prayer
With her name, it’s no wonder Madonna has long been fascinated with religion. Like A Prayer is both danceable and nuanced. It’s perfect.
Arguably pop’s finest achievement.
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