Madonna's celebrity tends to overshadow her music, and in some ways, her mastery of image and marketing seems greater than her recordings. Nevertheless, she wouldn't have been able to sustain superstardom for two decades if she didn't also deliver musically, and her albums have usually been fascinating, creative affairs that brought underground dance-club trends into the mainstream.
Madonna first made an impression with her 1982 withRead more club hit, "Everybody." She released her debut album the following year; thanks to the Top 40 "Holiday," it became a hit. Madonna's star rose during 1984, as "Borderline" and "Lucky Star" reached the Top Ten. Her second album Like a Virgin arrived late that year, with her first film Desperately Seeking Susan following that next summer. With these two projects, Madonna rocketed to international superstardom. "Like a Virgin" and "Material Girl" were defining anthems, teenage girls started dressing like her and she became a favorite of tabloids, thanks in no small part to her own past - nude photos from 1977 were published in both Playboy and Penthouse, yet this simply added to her mystique. True Blue (1986) was more complex than her previous work, earning critical acclaim as well as hits in "Papa Don't Preach" and "Open Your Heart." After two film flops, (Shanghai Surprise, Who's That Girl), she returned with Like a Prayer in 1989; it was her most ambitious and acclaimed album to date, sparking both hits and controversy. Soon, that controversy began to overwhelm the music, as her video for "Justify My Love" was banned by MTV. Following her tour documentary Truth or Dare, Madonna released a soft-core photo book called Sex in 1992. Her new album, the well-reviewed Erotica, was released simultaneously, but Sex was a disaster, hurting the album's sales. Bedtime Stories, released two years later, was a more subdued affair than Erotica, and it spawned her biggest hit, "Take a Bow." Following her starring role in the 1995 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita, Madonna returned in 1998 with the electronica-inspired Ray of Light, which restored her critical and popular cache as a trailblazer. She followed through on its success with 2000's Music, a glitzy dance album. Read less
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