ALBUM : AMERICAN LIFE
ARTIST : MADONNA
GENRE : POP/ EDM / FOLK/ACOUSTIC
DATE RELEASED : 2003
There were lots of expectations on this album as Madonna was on a roll in terms of critical and commercial successes by virtue of RAY OR LIGHT and MUSIC albums. She finally got the recognition she deserved in terms of artistic merits. With those two albums, Madonna expected that she would seal this with an album that would complete the Holy Trinity of Madonna’s artistry. Unfortunately, this album received mixed reviews.
It seemed at that time that critics and Madonna fans alike were not really akin on embracing Madonna in her musical adventure in this ALBUM; which is acoustic and reflective. The album is somewhat biographical and here are track by track reviews of this album.
- American Life – Madonna in her whining moment. For some, she might be bragging her lifestyle but with words “do I have to change my name,” it felt like a complaint. If she said in “Die Another Day” that she would destroy her ego; she said so many otherwise things and it seems she is bragging to everyone her elite kind of American Life.
Watch video in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYduJw5LyFM.
- Hollywood – it is quite an interesting take on merging acoustic with EDM which is not the first time that she made it happen; think “Beautiful Stranger” and “Amazing.”
Watch official video in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGa3vDaydZQ.
- I’m So Stupid – not everything in her life is all about perfection. In this song, she believed that she was stupid in believing that some dreams do come true.
- Love Profusion – this is Madonna at her cliché and trite best.
Watch official video in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgDFGubdxXk.
- Nobody Knows Me – this a track that is intended to explain to her fans and other people as well what she is made of. It is a detailed look on what made Madonna strong and successful.
- Nothing Fails – is like a continuation of her “Don’t Stop” which is included in her MUSIC album. In some portion of track, you have the country flavor and then towards the end, there is a choir reminiscent of “Like A Prayer” but this time it is quite subtle.
Watch live performance of this song in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_fH4_cHhcs.
- Intervention – this song just proved what I have suspected before that Madonna can be a good pop and country singer ala Anne Murray.
- X-Static Process – if you are expecting a ballad in the tradition of ‘Live To Tell” this song is a disappointment for you. However, if you are open-minded, the full acoustic situation in this track is a welcome relief as she did it well. There is an evident of certain longing for understanding for her in this song.
Listen to this song in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5_iLmg9iCo.
- Mother and Father – this is perhaps the first time that Madonna tackled her parents in one song. In her mega-successful LIKE A PRAYER album, she tackled her father in “Oh Father.” In her R and B flavored BEDTIME STORIES album, she discussed her mother in Inside of Me. In AMERICAN LIFE, she discussed about her missing about her parents despite their individual flaws; though it is evident that she clung more on to her mother instead of her father.
- Die Another Day – ignore the pretentious lyrics just focus on the symphony and the orchestral background. It is quite relaxing, I tell you.
Watch official video in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXXEpNa3CqQ.
- Easy Ride – is a great closing song for this album. Musically, it is unconventional; the break in between orchestra is quite frustrating on the listeners’ part. However, the song tells us that Madonna is just like us; having lofty and normal ambitions, wants, and needs.
As a whole, the album was not difficult to swallow. What is difficult in this album is the frigidity of the whole record. Indeed, there were too much calculations involved like for one, it was a departure musically from her last two albums. There was an attempt to venture into new territories but perhaps the context of Madonna detailing her life was not complementary lyrically to the acoustic flavor of this album. It will definitely take time for this album to gain the recognition that it should receive instead of being labeled as one of the most underrated albums of Madonna. I rate this record 3 stars though.
1 stars = Ignore it
2 stars = risk it
3 stars = borrow or buy it
4 stars = buy it and keep it
5 stars = buy, keep, and treasure it