The Queen of Pop turns 59 today (August 16). It seems impossible that the evergreen diva is nearing 60, but age is but a number when you’re as #unapologetic and young at heart as Madonna. To celebrate the hitmaker’s birthday, I’ve whipped up a list of her most underrated singles. The focus isn’t entirely on chart position (although that is a major factor), but also fan recognition and impact. As such, most of the tracks are from albums released after 2000 when the hits started to dry up.
Of course, this is completely subjective. There is possibly an overabundance of singles from American Life, but I would strongly argue that it is Madonna’s most underrated album. Other songs that could have easily made this list include “Human Nature” (it’s already widely recognized as a ’90s classic), “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Jump” and “Miles Away.” Dive into some of the pop icon’s less recognized singles below.
10. “Hollywood” (2003)
Push the button! “Hollywood” holds the dubious distinction of being Madonna’s first single to miss the Billboard Hot 100, but I’ve always loved this deeply cynical banger.
9. “Ghosttown” (2015)
The best song on Rebel Heart. This gorgeous ballad would have been a number one hit for anyone else, but radio has turned its back on the Queen of Pop.
8. “Get Together” (2006)
“Hung Up” and “Sorry” were such big hits that “Get Together” felt like something of an afterthought when it was rolled out as the third single from Confessions On A Dancefloor. Which is a shame because it’s a perfect electro-pop anthem.
7. “Girl Gone Wild” (2012)
MDNA is possibly Madonna’s worst album, but “Girl Gone Wild” is a bone-rattling, balls-to-the-wall club anthem. The only thing that stopped this from slaying is ageism.
6. “Bedtime Story” (1995)
Bjork penned this mind-melting floorfiller for Madonna, inspiring her to go further outside the box than ever before. “Bedtime Story” peaked at number 42 on the Hot 100 and is beloved by anyone old enough to have heard it in a club, but it still doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves.
5. “Nothing Really Matters” (1999)
It’s hard to talk about highlights on an album as perfect as Ray Of Light, but “Nothing Really Matters” blends the LP’s new-age vibe with Madonna’s pop aesthetic better than most and should have been a much bigger hit.
4. “Love Profusion” (2003)
One of the classiest pop songs from the ’00s. From the video to the remixes, everything about “Love Profusion” was spot on. Unfortunately, no one realized it at the time and the song failed to chart.
3. “Dear Jessie” (1989)
“Dear Jessie” was only released as a single in a couple of international markets, which is ridiculous in and of itself. Madonna’s demented detour into Disney-pop is one of the standouts on Like A Prayer and one of her most slept-on singles.
2. “Bad Girl” (1993)
Madonna was in full rebel mode by the time “Bad Girl” was released as the third single from Erotica. It only peaked at number 36, but (thematically, at least) deserved to be recognized as one of her signature songs.
1. “Nothing Fails” (2003)
Acoustic guitar, a gospel choir and some of the Queen of Pop’s most introspective and meaningful lyrics. “Nothing Fails” stands out as one of Madonna’s best songs of all time, but crashed and burned when released as the third single from American Life. Revisit it below.