#2 Madonna, Erotica

No Madonna album was ever met with a louder backlash or was more rampantly misrepresented than this dark masterpiece, so you know it was doing something right. Released on the tail end of AIDS hysteria, Erotica is far from the opus to guiltless sexual fulfillment it—and its even more ridiculed accompanying tome Sex—was made out to be. Though there’s no doubt it espouses taking joy in physical pleasure (“Let me remind you in case you don’t already know/Dining out can happen down below”), no album seems more empathetically haunted by the act’s countless side effects (i.e. “Bad Girl,” “Thief of Hearts,” a purposefully monotonous house cover of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”). Underneath Madonna’s bondage getup and Shep Pettibone’s oversized drum tracks beats a truly pained heart. Henderson Check out the full list here.

Madonna on Slant's Best albums of 1990 list