American Life [Explicit Lyrics]

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For the past several years, Madonna has been more obsessed with production than provocation, crafting highly stylized electro-pop that, while musically interesting, hasn't been consistently compelling. American Life breaks that streak, delivering the kind of controversy that once came as second nature to the former "Material Girl" -- not to mention an attention to melodic detail that extends well beyond the dance floor. While the disc does have a smattering of booty-shakers -- the Bond theme "Die Another Day" chief among them -- most of American Life is more introspective and rooted in acoustic instruments and straightforward arrangements, such as the surprisingly sweet "Love Profusion." "X-Static Process," which ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
For the past several years, Madonna has been more obsessed with production than provocation, crafting highly stylized electro-pop that, while musically interesting, hasn't been consistently compelling. American Life breaks that streak, delivering the kind of controversy that once came as second nature to the former "Material Girl" -- not to mention an attention to melodic detail that extends well beyond the dance floor. While the disc does have a smattering of booty-shakers -- the Bond theme "Die Another Day" chief among them -- most of American Life is more introspective and rooted in acoustic instruments and straightforward arrangements, such as the surprisingly sweet "Love Profusion." "X-Static Process," which layers Madonna's vocals choir-thick, is similarly lovestruck, albeit with a twinge of insecurity that gives the tune added depth. The troika of tunes that open the disc are the rawest, emotionally speaking, particularly the much-discussed title song -- politically angled video aside, it's more self-analysis than social criticism. That's followed by "Hollywood," a gently propulsive track with warm, summery harmonies and acoustic guitars that belie the not-so-sunny lyrics about broken dreams. "I'm So Stupid" treads similar ground, its spare synth backing layered with textured, effects-laden vocals that convey the sort of bittersweet introspection that Madonna couldn't have managed even a few years ago. With the help of house production whiz Mirwais, who also worked on Music, Madonna has created a mature, focused collection of songs that sometimes soothes, often provokes, and sometimes gets her fans into the groove, but steadfastly refuses to be treated as background music. Dave Sprague
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Performed by a vocalist who had recently abandoned the U.S. for the U.K., American Life is an album co-produced by a French techno mastermind, recorded during a time of strife in America, and released just after the country completed a war. Given that context and given that the vocalist is arguably the biggest star in the world, the title can't help but carry some import, carry the weight of social commentary. And it follows through on that promise, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, but either way, American Life winds up as the first Madonna record with ambitions as serious as a textbook. It plays as somberly as either Like a Prayer or Ray of Light, just as it delves into an insular darkness as deep as Erotica while retaining the club savviness of the brilliant, multi-colored Music. This is an odd mixture, particularly when it's infused with a searching, dissatisfied undercurrent and a musical sensibility that is at once desperate and adventurous, pitched halfway between singer/songwriterisms and a skimming of current club culture. It's pulled tight between these two extremes, particularly because the intimate guitar-based songs (and there are a lot of them, almost all beginning with just her and a guitar) are all personal meditations, with the dance songs usually functioning as vehicles for social commentary. Even if the sparer ballads are introspective, they're treated as soundscapes by producer Mirwais, giving them an unsettling eerie quality that is mirrored by the general hollowness of the club songs. There's a lot that's interesting about American Life -- the half-hearted stabs at politics fall aside, and there are things bubbling in the production that are quite infectious, while the stretch from "Nobody Knows Me" to "X-Static Process" in the middle of the record can be quite moving.
Entertainment Weekly - Ken Tucker
"American Life" and other songs are refreshingly -- hell, shockingly -- earnest.... At its best, [Madonna's] new album offers blunt, questing, decisive music at a chaotic time. (B-)

"American Life" and other songs are refreshingly -- hell, shockingly -- earnest.... At its best, [Madonna's] new album offers blunt, questing, decisive music at a chaotic time. (B-)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/22/2003
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624843924
  • Catalog Number: 48439

Tracks

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

Performance Credits
Madonna Primary Artist
Michel Colombier Conductor
London Community Gospel Choir Choir, Chorus
Mirwais Guitar, Background Vocals
Stuart Price Piano
Technical Credits
Madonna Composer, Producer
Michel Colombier Composer, String Arrangements
Guy Sigsworth Composer
Mark "Spike" Stent Producer
Nicky Brown Choir Arrangement
Mirwais Programming, Producer
Stuart Price Composer
Mirwais Ahmadzaï Composer, Producer
Monte Pittman Composer
Jem Griffiths Composer
Tim Young Mastering
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Reckless American Life

    I think there are many who are hypercritical of this album. Of course it's not Madonna's best and I was disappointed overall, but there are a few songs that I really love. They are Nothing Fails, Intervention, Xstatic Process, Love Profusion and Easy Ride. Give credit where credit is due! They are terrific lyrically and phonetically. I like what she's saying in the title track, but I don't like how it sounds. The chorus is good though. That and Die Another Day sound especially cacophonic. This is a must have only for true blue Madonna fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    These bad reviewers are crazy!

    I think this is Madonna's top album. It might not be her usual style... but that is the whole point. She has amazing, pointed lyrics that I have grown to cherish. Well worth your money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Buyer Beware!

    While this album is not quite as bad as some people have said, it is missing much when compared to earlier albums. Much of it seems thrown together with some flashy mixing but Holywood is really the only song that is worth the money. Better to purchase a few MP3s than the whole album.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    American Life: Very Disappointing

    I've been a huge fan of Madonna since the beginning, but this album was truly awful. There are only 3 songs that are audible: American Life, Hollywood and Die Another Day. The rest are strange and whiny and I can barely bring myself to listen to them all the way through. Do yourself a favor: don't buy this album! If you have to, I'm sure you'll be able to find many copies in used cd stores for a fraction of the retail price...it's so bad, they might be giving them away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Props to Her Experimentation

    "American Life," although generally not like Madonna albums of the past, is still a must for all Madonna fans because it shows what Madonna is greatly known for: her ever-changing style and persona (both musically and artistically). Whereas "Ray of Light" gave off vibes of ambient electronica and "Music" gave off a kaleidoscope of electro-pop flavors, "American Life" is more simplistic when referring to both the lyrics and the content. The messages may be deep, but the lyrics might as well be as simple as the lesser introspective "Music." Also, the album tends to mold a more generally acoustic sound for Madonna. I would call it an "electro-folk/rock" hybrid. It's still a pop album, just a daring one at that. It's definitely not going to be for all people, but I suggest the more open-minded ones to take a listen at the album and realize that Madonna is still alive and kicking as an artist. It makes you anxious to what her next album would be like. "American Life" is a lush, simple, and at times sentimental piece of work mixed with somewhat very unstructured electro-pop beats, which does seem to work here. Madonna hasn't lost it and never will.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of her best

    American Life shows Madonna's creativity, and her williness to move forward with her music. This is truly a great album. It is hard to say which song stands out. Each song is unique in its own right, yet work together to make a truly inventive album. This is not the same Madonna as days gone by, but then again she has matured as a woman and grown as an artist. The songs on American Life highlight and show her growth. I applaud Madonna and can not wait to see which direction she goes with her next album.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Maverick and Trailblazing

    Most will feel compelled to listen to Madonna's newest album in it's entirety during their first listen, if they have the time. It is worth every second, believe me. The individual tracks are like an artist's palette mixing musical hues and textures. Madonna's art continues to transcend even our great expectations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Retrospective Madonna !!

    Wow, Regardless of people that are always trying to say negative things or just be mean spirited not only with Madonna, but true artists everywhere, American Life is flawless !!! Not only does she write, and co produce all her music, she does it with class, elegance and style. Yes, some songs are very deep, but I believe our state of minds these days are deep as well. This is one of those cds you listen to once, and you have a lot of questions, and than you listen to it the second time, you find yourself either humming the tunes, or singing along with it. Thank you Madonna for connecting with our hearts and our souls on this soon to be classic !!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna's Best Album Ever... and I'm Not a Fan

    The music press have given this one a lot of negative reviews, and that's what has driven me to write this. I think this is Madonna's best album ever, and I'm not a particular fan. All of her previous albums I listened to for a week, then never touched again. All of her later work suffers from an annoying tendentiousness, Madonna telling you how you should live and think and be more spiritual--just like her. This one doesn't have that, the songs are direct and personal and less pretentious and imperious. The songs ARE weird- -which I think is a good thing--but after three listens you get used to all the strange tangents, and can get into the serious GROOVES to be found here. The songs are more direct and personal, and I find myself listening to this many times in a row. I don't think any of them will be successful singles, because they each require more than one listen to get into, and that's something listeners don't seem to be able to afford. Anyway, don't listen to the mainstream press, who seem to be more interested in reviewing her career than her music, and give it a shot. And Madonna... you go!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna denounces her former self and it sounds good

    It's hard for her to top "Like A Prayer" or "Ray Of Light", but this one comes pretty damn close. One thing that people tend to forget about Mads is that she knows how to make an irresistable pop ballad and it seems as if this one is loaded with them. "Love Profusion", "Nothing Fails", "Intervention", and "X-static Process" are those melancholy downtempo gems on this one that makes me remember one of the reasons I've always liked her in the first place. And most of these tracks seems as if they were meant for acoustic guitar "unplugged" performances. Sure the album comes off a bit trite at times, but this is equal in it's balance of dance and folk...plus it makes her last album ("Music") seem generic in comparison.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    New and Magnificent

    Madonna does it once again on American Life. Playing the guitar? Never heard that from the Queen before, she's good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Got Madonna Under My Skin

    As a Madonna fan since I was in-utero, I can honestly say this is the most REAL album she has EVER released. Several tracks stand out as some of her finest yet ("Love Profusion," "Nobody Knows Me") ... indeed, "Nothing Fails" may just be THE quintessential Madonna song. Although "Ray of Light" is still my favorite album (with its deep, dreamy, drowned world essence), "American Life" comes pretty darn close. Forget the critics --- have *ANY* of them done *ANYTHING* close to what Madonna has done in her life? If not, sit down and shut up! Everyone else, GET THIS ALBUM NOW! Kuduos, Madonna ... you're still the brightest little star the world has ever seen!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The greatest of all

    This is one of the best Cds ever made. If you like pop,dance,folk,classical,and Hip-hop all in one. You will love this Cd.Inventive,smart,and great don't even begin to discribe this CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna Does It Again

    Proving that she is more than the mother of reinvention, Madonna's American Life shows the singer still has tones of creative juices left some 20 yrs after the release of her first album "Madonna". I love this album evern more so than Music. Hopefully she'll be recognized for this. A Must have for any Madonna fan, but then again what type of Madonna fan would you beif you havent gotten then album already!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    this album is disappointing

    i think it's time madonna retire from song writing. this is the second album in a row to lower the bar on her anthology. i recommend you listen to the clips on the website before you lay down your extra spending cash. american life, the flagship song, is a weak song that seems just slapped together to rhyme. i hardly see how anybody saying that this song is thought provoking can say the same about her earlier music. in my opinion, her last great album was "ray of light", "music" disappointed and i had to force myself to enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna's back!!!

    This album is soooo good that I never want to stop listening to. Her music is a lot like Dirty Vegas, in fact they did produce her song "Die Another Day." Her music is not what it used to be. It's a lot like techno and Avril-Lavigne-meets-Kraftwerk. Everybody, get this album!!! :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Our Great Icon is BACK!!!

    Madonna the Great! has successfully reinvented herself with the new release. It's a wonderful experience once again as the greatest pop diva belts out new materials that will surely catch fire in the mainstream pop. Liked the title track so much. There's so much to listen and enjoy from the Material Mom. Just hope I could watch the video. Anybody's got a copy? Do send to bogs64@hotmail.com. Reserve your copies now!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna's 'American Life' a digital disappointment

    Madonna's actual recordings have always been more about hype than music and "American Life" is no exception. Like the box office bomb "Swept Away," we can only hope that "American Life" will be forgotten like so much of what has amounted to her flaw-filled catalog. Reinvention simply for the sake of being different gets artists on "Entertainment Tonight," but never amounts to creating timeless art and music. After 20 years, Madonna still fails to display any real skill as a vocalist or tunesmith. "American Life" is more about state-of-the-art digital studio production than any real musical legacy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Madonna Rocks and Folks!

    I think this is CD is just wonderful. It managaes to be both introspective and fine pop fare. The standout tracks are: Hollywood, Im' So Stupid, X-staic Process, Easy Ride and Love Profusion. It is a far more satisying CD then Music because it is more consistent (like the reviewer stated) more on the par of Ray of Light but better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This is a beautiful album

    American Life explores themes of love and enlightenment through creative, innovative, and sometimes artfully-abrasive music that sounds utterly unlike anything in pop. Lyrically, the album explores Madonna’s understanding of love as constituted through relations with others—as opposed to the narcissistic self-love of celebrity adulation. Love grants wisdom, but also a certain sadness, because love is always haunted by loss (the death of a mother, for example). Love also constitutes a kind of spirituality, and this album finds Madonna continuing her spiritual quest, moving beyond “religion” in deliberately contradictory lyrics: “I’m not religious, but I feel so moved, makes me wanna pray” she sings on the devastatingly beautiful “Nothing Fails.” Musically, the album cites Madonna’s past, just as it does lyrically, with references to “Like a Prayer,” “Ray of Light,” even “Papa Don’t Preach” occasionally popping up. The production values are impeccable, and even though the songs are often a mélange of complex computer effects, they never seem impersonal. Madonna’s voice is lovely, as she masters a variety of singing styles (including an homage to Kate Bush on “Mother and Father”). And the dance songs rock, especially “Nobody Knows Me,” which includes a killer breakdown (Madonna singing/shouting “I don’t watch TV!”) that will get you on your feet. Don’t be put off by the aggressive imagery of the cover and videos: this is an extremely personal album that far surpasses Music and Ray of Light. There is not a bad song on it. This album just might bring tears of joy tempered by wisdom to your eyes—it did to mine, honestly.

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