46. Madonna, Madame X

After two albums of Madonna sounding like she was largely playing catch-up to mainstream trends (2012’s EDM-courting MDNA and 2015’s collaborator-stuffed Rebel Heart), the pop GOAT decided to go back to blazing her own trail, and not looking over her shoulder at how many were following her lead. Top 40 and streaming audiences might not have been particularly amenable to her genre-hopping free-for-all, but longtime fans found plenty to chew on in the set’s unpredictable excursions — including a Walter Carlos-like dip into synthified Tchaikovsky in “Dark Ballet,” a Random Access Memories-worthy prog-disco odyssey in “God Control,” and a welcome return to Latin pop in the breezy Maluma team-ups “Medellín” and “Bitch I’m Loca.” Madge can rest assured that anyone still trekking along with her at this point is in for the long haul, and excited as ever for what twists and turns lay ahead. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER

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