Much was riding on the release of Madonna’s eighth album, Music. After the triumphant success of it’s predecessor, 1998’s Ray Of Light, expectation for the singer’s follow-up was sky-high, with fans eager to see how she would continue to assert her relevance in the new millennium.
Issued on 18 September 2000, Music answered that question and, matched by her personal circumstances (she would marry English film director Guy Ritchie in December that year and largely relocate to his homeland for a while), furthered Madonna’s immersion into European culture. But if Ray Of Light’s textured electronica, created with British producer William Orbit – who would work on three of Music’s songs – was dense and revealing, this new album was lighter and altogether more direct, with a sharp, jittery vibe that largely pitched her sound back towards the clubs.
Listen to ‘Music’ here.
“I feel free to take risks”
Madonna’s principal collaborator on Music was the Swiss-born producer Mirwais, who spoke little English but helped the singer create some of the most urgent, rhythmic material of her career (he would also go on to helm her subsequent American Life album and hone some of the madcap character of 2019’s Madame X).
In Music’s title track, the pair created a global chart-topper and one of the best Madonna songs of the era (it’s video, featuring Ali G, now stands as something of a period piece). The club smash Impressive Instant is more of the same, with its unconventional vocoder effects adding to the sense that the Music album evolved in a free-form way in which creative instinct outpaced more considered formulas.