Madonna (entertainer) : biography
Continuing her musical evolution with Ray of Light, the track "Frozen" displayed her fully formed vocal prowess and her allusions to classical music. Her vocals were restrained and she sang the songs in Ray of Light without vibrato. However, the intake of breath within the songs became more prominent. With the new millennium came her album Music in which Madonna sang in her normal voice in a medium range, and sometimes in a higher register for the chorus. A change was also noted in the content of the songs, with most of them being simple love songs, but with an underlying tone of melancholy. Her next record, American Life, was characterized by "a thumping techno rhythm, liquid keyboard lines, an acoustic chorus and a bizarre Madonna rap", according to Q magazine. The "conventional rock songs" of the album were suffused with dramatic lyrics about patriotism and composition, including the appearance of a gospel choir in the song "Nothing Fails".
Musically, things changed with Confessions on a Dance Floor, which returned Madonna to pure dance songs, infusing club beats and retro music, but the lyrics continued to be about paradoxical metaphors and reference to her earlier works. In her studio album, Hard Candy, she mixed R&B and hip hop music with dance tunes. The album also had songs whose lyrics were autobiographical and expressed support for helping Africa. Fouz-Hernández commented that "Throughout her career, Madonna’s manipulation of her voice shows us that, by refusing to be defined in one way, she has in fact opened up a space for new kinds of musical analysis." With MDNA, Madonna returned to the electropop genre she flirted with on Like a Prayer and Music. Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph noted the attempt was feeble, compared to her previous classics in the genre.
According to Taraborrelli, the defining moment of Madonna’s childhood was the tragic and untimely death of her beloved mother. Psychiatrist Keith Ablow suggests that her mother’s death would have had an immeasurable impact on the young Madonna at a time when her personality was still forming. According to Ablow, the younger a child is at the time of a serious loss, the more profound the influence and the longer lasting the impact. He concludes that "some people never reconcile themselves to such a loss at an early age, Madonna is not different than them." Conversely, author Lucy O’Brien feels that the impact of the rape is, in fact, the motivating factor behind everything Madonna has done, more important even than the death of her mother: "It’s not so much grief at her mother’s death that drives her, as the sense of abandonment that left her unprotected. She encountered her own worst possible scenario, becoming a victim of male violence, and thereafter turned that full-tilt into her work, reversing the equation at every opportunity."
As they grew older, Madonna and her sisters would feel deep sadness as the vivid memory of their mother began drifting farther from them. They would study pictures of her and come to think that she resembled poet Anne Sexton and Hollywood actresses. This would later raise Madonna’s interest in poetry with Sylvia Plath being her favourite. Later, Madonna commented: "We were all wounded in one way or another by [her death], and then we spent the rest of our lives reacting to it or dealing with it or trying to turn into something else. The anguish of losing my mom left me with a certain kind of loneliness and an incredible longing for something. If I hadn’t had that emptiness, I wouldn’t have been so driven. Her death had a lot to do with me saying—after I got over my heartache—I’m going to be really strong if I can’t have my mother. I’m going to take care of myself." Taraborrelli felt that in time, no doubt because of the devastation she felt, Madonna would never again allow herself, or even her daughter, to feel as abandoned as she had felt when her mother died. "Her death had taught [Madonna] a valuable lesson, that she would have to remain strong for herself because, she feared weakness—particularly her own—and wanted to be the queen of her own castle."