I've listened to 'American Life' three times already today

Halli

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One of my fave Madonna albums, maybe more for the time it was released and the highs of it - Nothing Fails. I was such a loon at the time.

I was on holiday with family in Spain when it was released, I remember buying it and walking around with it in my SONY DISCMAN all holiday, being moody to Nothing Fails on THE BEACH

07 American Life
08 Hollywood
06 I'm So Stupid
08 Love Profusion
07 Nobody Knows Me
10 Nothing Fails
10 Intervention
09 X-Static Process
08 Mother & Father
06 Die Another Day
09 Easy Ride
 

Sheena

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It should have been the lead single- that or Hollywood if they wanted something faster.
 

lolly

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It should have been the lead single- that or Hollywood if they wanted something faster.
I understand entirely American Life as the first single, had they gone through with the original video. As much as it's hugely less commercial than Nothing Fails, it would have been a huge statement and wouldn't have had anywhere near the same impact as being anything other than the lead.

I also think the presentation of the album was a right mess and betrayed its contents in some ways. Because that is so at odds with Nothing Fails, and Love Profusion with its floral Impulse advert video. It must have been horribly confusing particularly for casual fans, which she still had a lot of at the time.

Perhaps it all should have been presented some other way, or she bit off more than she could chew in trying to marry it all in one album.
 

straightorbroken

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Nobody Knows Madge positively rips the universe a new one in a live setting. She's a warrior here. It's also very Drag Race. Here is a different set of angles:

 

straightorbroken

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Love Profusion's armpit utopia video was basically a freebie from Impulse, no? It should have been a trippy, if still mumsy, beaut (and that Ralphi remix remains sublime). I think Remixed and Revised (the original Bits n' Bobs), and all the stuff like Will & Grace & The Gap showed the effort to salvage the era (not to mention the tour, which was outstanding - shame about the documentary). Plus Cher had already did the album cover, and it was getting a bit constumey by Music's cowboy thing (unless she had a Shaznay Lewis thing, in which case freeze that moment).
 

Suedey

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Love Profusion's armpit utopia video was basically a freebie from Impulse, no? It should have been a trippy, if still mumsy, beaut (and that Ralphi remix remains sublime). I think Remixed and Revised (the original Bits n' Bobs), and all the stuff like Will & Grace & The Gap showed the effort to salvage the era (not to mention the tour, which was outstanding - shame about the documentary). Plus Cher had already did the album cover, and it was getting a bit constumey by Music's cowboy thing (unless she had a Shaznay Lewis thing, in which case freeze that moment).
Yeah the documentary was a massive missed opportunity! She didn't get too much shit for how CRAP it was because we all loved her again by the time it came out but by GOD it's a load of shite.
 

Suedey

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I understand entirely American Life as the first single, had they gone through with the original video. As much as it's hugely less commercial than Nothing Fails, it would have been a huge statement and wouldn't have had anywhere near the same impact as being anything other than the lead.

I also think the presentation of the album was a right mess and betrayed its contents in some ways. Because that is so at odds with Nothing Fails, and Love Profusion with its floral Impulse advert video. It must have been horribly confusing particularly for casual fans, which she still had a lot of at the time.

Perhaps it all should have been presented some other way, or she bit off more than she could chew in trying to marry it all in one album.
By the time 'Love Profusion' and, er, Remixed & Revisited came round, Madonna HQ was in full panic 180-turn mode. So in context, it makes sense. I think had the original AL video not been pulled and the single massively underperformed, she would have gone with the original thematics and visuals.
 

Dr Lecter

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Gave this a spin this morning on my stroll and it really is a great little album , obviously mincing along the cliff top trying to resist doing the Nobody Knows Me Strut routine was hard

I actually had a moment to Mother and Father ..
 

Suedey

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I'm going to do something slightly different and instead of rating the songs I shall rank them instead. Yes it's a rankétté.

1. Hollywood
2. Nobody Knows Me
3. Easy Ride
4. Intervention
5. Nothing Fails
6. Love Profusion
7. Die Another Day
8. American Life
9. X-Static Process
10. I'm So Stupid
11. Mother & Father
 
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Suedey

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And it's one of her best flowing albums ever. I wouldn't change anything about the tracklisting. Even 'Die Another Day' fits.

Queen of Cohesion (up to & excluding MDNA).
 
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I understand entirely American Life as the first single, had they gone through with the original video. As much as it's hugely less commercial than Nothing Fails, it would have been a huge statement and wouldn't have had anywhere near the same impact as being anything other than the lead.

I also think the presentation of the album was a right mess and betrayed its contents in some ways. Because that is so at odds with Nothing Fails, and Love Profusion with its floral Impulse advert video. It must have been horribly confusing particularly for casual fans, which she still had a lot of at the time.

Perhaps it all should have been presented some other way, or she bit off more than she could chew in trying to marry it all in one album.

They TOTALLY could have packaged this entire album as something else entirely had they lead with Nothing Fails and a single run of Hollywood/Love Profusion/Intervention. It probably would have done much better commercially too, and Nothing Fails would have likely been a much more beloved part of her canon than American Life is :D

HOWEVER like you say, American Life is such a statement single and I'm sure M would have never had it any other way, even if the album campaign seemed like a bit of a mess :D

I DO WISH she'd acknowledge and "officially" release the original video though :D It's so dementedly fabulous, and would be an ideal time to highlight that she was on the right side of history ALL ALONG! :D
 

Diddy

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Nobody Knows Madge positively rips the universe a new one in a live setting. She's a warrior here. It's also very Drag Race. Here is a different set of angles:


THIS!

World is not so KIND!

OMG glory glory hallelujah this is THE strut song in this form.

can’t say IGTTYAS was memorable as a doc, I think I only watched it once. But that Live CD was the tits
 

Suedey

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Original 'American Life' video is for the ages and yes I know @Loufoque & I have frequently busted out respective bussies to it.


The choreography!

The 'PROTECT ME' *knife carve* !

The politicking!

The war criminality & devastation but make it fashuuuuun dahling irony!


Fuck it!
 
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God the original AL video is one of her absolute best for me.
Absolutely BATSHIT, it looks INCREDIBLE and she was making a genuine point that no other popstar at the time apparently cared about, or if they did they didn't have the nerve to speak out about so explicitly.

QUEEN!
 

Diddy

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I’m totally satisfied with how it played out in the end, I mean we got the commercial comeback a few years later anyway. And who’s to say that would have even happened if AL had been a hit?
 

Suedey

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I’m totally satisfied with how it played out in the end, I mean we got the commercial comeback a few years later anyway. And who’s to say that would have even happened if AL had been a hit?
No lies detected.
 

Diddy

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And one more thing (I’m not finished)

I stan and have always stanned the Love Profusion video. Gorgeous and mesmering
 

Suedey

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And one more thing (I’m not finished)

I stan and have always stanned the Love Profusion video. Gorgeous and mesmering
Apparently it's the video that turned my BF into a fan (not a stan - he doesn't really do that)...
 

Suedey

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And one more thing (I’m not finished)

I stan and have always stanned the Love Profusion video. Gorgeous and mesmering
Give it to us DIDDY. We need the AL DIDDY EXISTENTIALIST ESSAY
 

Diddy

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Here we are, an album so gloriously hot and messy that it can be summed up by one smilie: 🇦🇱

I love this album. While the contrast between RoL's worthy spirituality and Music's experimental tackiness made it hard to tell which sound worked better (it was RoL .. not that hard!), American Life really walks the middle path. The introspection of RoL and the fun of Music are both here and come together to make something personal without being brash.
I mean sure, the album has its bizarre moments - about half the lyrics to the title track for starters - but I feel a much greater personal connection between Madonna and the songs here that Music was lacking.

Oh I'm waffling now, I don't really know what I mean. Let's just DO THIS

AMERICAN LIFE RATE

4167GSFS2JL._SL500_AA240_.jpg


10.0 American Life: Well what can I say that hasn't already been said? Spiky, squelchy, US-baiting... it's really not the template of a lead single, and the album suffered commercially as a result, but I really think this is a great song. It's a hot mess, and just when you think you've got over that she does a fucking RAP about yoga and coffee. AMAZING. The new Vogue. I am not even in sarcastich bitch mode. FUCK IT.

8.0 Hollywood: Everyone has this pegged as the better choice for a lead single, and to be honest little would have been a less commercial option than AL, but I don't really see this. The video leaves me totally cold, and while the song is easy enough (perhaps too easy) it just doesn't really have much of an effect on me. The "push the button" stuff is ace but as a whole it feels a bit diluted. I did like the VMAs performance around this song though with "everybody-everybody-everybody.." breakdown and MISSY :black: on the M-I-C, and lesbian lunacy. But this doesn't excite me.

8.5 I'm so stupid: I remember first putting this album on and thinking it was fucking awful, wanting to find her vocoder and SMASH IT UP. But the harsh noises (harshest of which is that "iiiii" at this songs intro) seem to make it for me. While at heart this is another anti-fame reaction piece, I do love the electro guitar stuff here much more than I ever did on Music. Not really much of a chorus but I just love her voice on this, and it just all seems to work just FINE.

10.0 Love Profusion: Sometimes a video just MAKES a single, and this is the best example I can think of for that phenomenon. A beautiful Luc Besson masterpiece really set this on fire for me, stunning. It just helps tune me into what this song is meant to feel like. I think this is amazing, and it's a travesty this is one of her handful of non-Top 10 singles, kept out by the Cheeky Girls of all people. The beat is just so simple while her voice is actually SINGING for a change. Then there are the breakdowns .. "I. GOT. YOU... UNDER MY SKIN". Gorgeous to the max.

9.0 Nobody Knows Me: Now I was never that much of a fan, but the Reinvention Tour (more specifically the live CD "I'm going to tell you a secret") revealed how great this is. The lyrics are a bit retarded (though after Track 1 that seems like a rather weak criticism in comparison). But a really good STRUTTING song. Why couldn't Music have been this good? The sound really isn't that much different.

9.0 Nothing Fails: Now I don't see the whole "Like a Prayer 2.0" comparisons that were drawn to this at the time (and after). I mean sure it's great and it has a gospel choir, but I don't have it down as the great lost single or anything. This project was doomed from the first single so this would only have got a lukewarm reaction regardless of how good it was. Anyway the music gets a little more gentle for a time now and this great in that respect. A love song about Guy that I can actually take seriously, who'd have thought? The production once again shines with the vocal effects being a welcome feature rather than a gimmick.

9.5 Intervention: The Reinvention tour had a bit of a mashup with this didn't it? For some reason THAT triggered this track off for me, I think this is really a great tender little slow-burner. The chorus isn't amazingly catchy but it's a joy nonetheless. Her vocals seem to suit untaxing songs like this. That rather gorgeous instrumental break at the 3:38 mark just makes me :disco:

8.0 X-Static Process: Shit name, and probably one of my least favourite on the album for a while but I have come round to it. Very understated, with a hit-n-miss harmony section with her own vocals that works more than it flops. Maybe I'm just retarded, this sort of stuff just feels so much more natural that on Music.

9.5 Mother and Father: Enough coddling, back to the synths. And a bit of an 80s throwback with a MELODY, that whole "I got to give it up, find someone to love me" is great, and I can forgive it being ANOTHER dead mother song. Sort of. "There was a time I had a mother, it was nice :)" is a bit of a cheap shot, but I just love the production on this too much, especially when it goes super-harsh at the end. The rap-ette is a bit of a wreck though, but I'm in blind forgiveness mode right now.

10.0 Die Another Day: Oh God I totally lost my shit when this was leaked, a Bond song at the absolute pinnacle of my Bond fanship, and it's HER with her first single for nearly 2 years. Amazing video, really one of her best. So there's a few duff bits ("SIGMUND FREUD") but this is so great. It would have been so easy to do a Bond-song-by-numbers but then they came to wrong person. The production is just awesome, I just love the jumping orchestra sample and the robotic vocals. Then you think it's stopped... and BACK in for the outro with a little punch. WICKED.

9.5 Easy Ride: So glad the bonus track wasn't the closer, that wouldn't have worked. This is PERFECT. Loads of strings at the start (amazing), into a rather simple folk song with a serving of introspection. I don't want to fill the whole review with "I love this" "I love that" but I can't help it. I think this is MARVELLOUS. The chorus is pretty brilliant too "Round and round just like a circle". Then the strings are back for the big squelchy finale. GORGE.

And that's that. I think this could WELL be my favourite Madonna album. Ray of Light was surely brilliant but can feel a bit lifeless if you aren't in the mood for it. I understand American Life isn't for everyone, and some will even think it's one of her worst albums I'm sure, so I'm prepared to be disagreed with here.

Can I just mention the artwork though? Now THAT is a great front cover.

Keepers for the iPod: Fuck it, I'm taking the LOT. 🇦🇱

NEXT UP: Remixed & Revisited revisited, then Confessions on a Dancefloor. :disco:
Here we are from Dec 5, 2009 :o
 

Diddy

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WTF at Mother and Father being an “80s throwback” :D

apart from that, racist emojis and ableist slang, I stand by everything else I said
 

Suedey

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And yes this is a lip-synched perf but who cares. I LIVE AND LIVE. The hair, the tits, the outfit, the looks. Teleport us to Sunset Boulevard via WeHo mama.

 

Suedey

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I used to have this poster but lost it along the way in all my London house moves back in the day. I might buy it again

 

lolly

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I'm going to start a moopy campaign for a reappraisal of Madonna's entire discography, led of course by @Suedey
 

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