Madonna: ‘American Life’ – Album Review

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Released: April 21, 2003

Continuing her experimentation period with a rather acoustic and sharp electronica sound, Madonna’s ninth studio album American Life is the sound of a pissed-off American woman who has been in the business for yonks’. She ditched the perfect pretty pop gloss and went hard and gritty for this record, where she really twisted the tits of several music critics and American’s in particular. That’s the result of the title track; a worldly hated on electro crossover track that merely even hits average in Madonna’s expectations. It’s weirdly dated, whilst only some parts of the lyrics sound sane and strong. “Hollywood”, a more pop-friendly offering on the record, is better and works with Madonna’s overlapping vocals. Tracks like “Love Profusion” and “Nothing Fails” aren’t particularly prim or catchy, but manage to show a more sincere and serious sound by Madonna.

But the underlining issue with the album is not Madonna’s motives or actions towards the anti-war theme, feminism, anger and other accompanying issues, its Madonna’s songwriting that makes sense, but doesn’t, and the lack of any hooks. “I’m So Stupid” may sound interesting, but let’s just say the title says the least. “Nobody Knows Me” and “Mother and Father” are probably the album’s only sleek electro club tracks, but could have been an off-cut to Music. The album’s only catchy moment is the electroclash “Die Another Day”, which was ironically used as a James Bond theme and not for the album specifically. The second half is drowned in acoustic tracks, whilst the album’s closer “Easy Ride” is the only best stripped down track here. Otherwise, American Life is an album that should have been worked on more, because truth be told, it offers nothing exciting.

 

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

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

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