It’s Madonna’s 56th birthday on Saturday (16 August), and what better time to rank 55 of her best songs?
From Madonna to MDNA, the Queen of Pop has given us some of the best music moments in the world.
GSN readers were also asked to vote for their favorite track.
See what song won your hearts below:
55. Give Me All Your Luvin’
Let’s start off by saying this was not a bad song. None of the songs on this list are bad. But, Superbowl aside, this was a bad choice for a lead single from MDNA. And therefore it deserves to be punished.
54. American Life
Rapping about soy lattes aside, this had an amazing (original) video.
53. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
Best film role to date. That’s not saying much though.
52. Girl Gone Wild
51. Causing A Commotion
Classic 80s track. But there’s not much to it.
50. Give It 2 Me
Madonna is all about self-empowerment, and this is a great modern song. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, though.
49. Me Against The Music
Instantly catchy, but oddly a little forgettable.
48. Bedtime Story
Madonna at her most daring and experimental, but it doesn’t exactly have much replay potential.
Her first single, and it sounds at first listen like a typical song of the decade. But there is something special to it, something that proves there’s a Queen of Pop to come.
46. Turn Up The Radio
Like with Hung Up, that completely reinvented Madonna as a modern dance icon, this MDNA track has the same propulsive energy. And if you weren’t the biggest fan of the last album, this deserves another listen.
45. Who’s That Girl?
This might not be the best time Madonna was influenced by Spain (that’s coming later), but it certainly wasn’t the worst (that was Hard Candy’s Spanish Lesson). A little unfairly maligned by some, but this is a great fun song.
Apart from the slightly dodgy bridge section, and feeling a little forced, this track has a lot of what people love about Madonna. It instills a sense of nostalgia for her beginnings, but unapologetically looks to her future.
43. Nothing Really Matters
With hard-step beats and soaring melody, this is a Ray of Light stand-out.
Soft, sensual, and very sexy.
41. Die Another Day
It may not be the best Bond theme, but it’s still far better than people tend to think it is.
If you’ve gone from rural life to the big city, this should be your soundtrack.
39. Dress You Up
When it comes to 80s Madonna, this might be her sexiest song that manages to appeal to both men and women of all sexualities.
38. Rescue Me
It’s as if Justify My Love and Vogue had a song baby.
37. 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, but gets them taken off again for the pervy teen.
36. Drowned World/Substitute For Love
If you’ve listened to Madonna’s albums, you’ll know she likes to ponder on the meaning of fame. This was one of her most personal moments.
Far catchier than most songs on American Life, this takes Drowned World’s message and kicks it up several more notches.
34. You’ll See
Madonna’s been criticized heavily at several points in her career, and this was one ballad that was a quiet but defiant response.
33. Love Profusion
It’s not surprising American Life scared some, but what is surpising is how she finished the album campaign. Starting off with literal grenades, and ending with this – something softer, sweeter and easier to swallow.
32. The Power Of Goodbye
This is a serious, mature, heartbreaking song. And it’s still a beautiful listen.
31. Don’t Tell Me
Lyrics don’t make a lot of sense, but that doesn’t matter. This is unique, country-electronic pop.
30. Take A Bow
With soulful, poetic lyrics, this is bittersweet but also stunning.
29. True Blue
Totally retro, light-hearted and fun.
28. Oh Father
Most people know Madonna lost her mom at a young age and know this song is about her dad. But this can also be interpreted as one of her most subtle takes on religion.
27. 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.
26. La Isla Bonita
Another classic, but a divisive one. Escapism at its finest.
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.
24. Justify My Love
Has the sound of sex ever been done better?
23. Crazy For You
Slow dance at prom, anyone?
22. 4 Minutes
It might not be the Madonna/Michael Jackson collaboration people wanted. It’s a bombastic tune, and easily one of the best duets of her career.
21. Burning Up
She started out in a band, and she proved she could still rock with Burning Up.
20. Beautiful Stranger
Easily better than her James Bond offering, this Austin Powers song is incredibly catchy.
Instantly embraceable, and one of her best calls to the dance floor. And how often do you hear ‘bourgeoisie’ in a song?
18. Live To Tell
Looking at Madonna’s career, one theme keeps coming up. And that’s the keeping and telling of secrets. This is one of her best.
Daring, sexy, and unabashed. NSFW.
The production behind this is phenomenal, with soaring strings and breath-taking beats.
15. Human Nature
Released when Madonna was being heavily slammed for choosing to be open about this, this is an ultimate middle finger to her critics.
14. Lucky Star
Songs like Lucky Star are what made the LGBTI community fall in love with Madonna.
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 purer 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’.
The rest of the top 10 were voted for by you. We had a poll going for a few days, and this is what you chose.
10. Papa Don’t Preach
8. Into The Groove
7. Material Girl
6. Ray Of Light
5. Hung Up
4. Express Yourself
3. Like A Virgin
2. Like A Prayer