American Life

American Life

by Madonna


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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 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

Product Details

Release Date: 04/22/2003
Label: Imports
UPC: 0093624843924
catalogNumber: 938886


  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 & Father
  10. Die Another Day
  11. Easy Ride

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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American Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madonna does it once again on American Life. Playing the guitar? Never heard that from the Queen before, she's good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I heard the album, I was not captivated. But after listening a few times, I would have to say this album is very good. With one or two exceptions, almost all tracks are great to listen to and infectious. It is not the classic Madonna that we know, but there are still some great dance beats (check out Nobody Knows Me). I definitely prefer this effort to Music. Highlights...Nobody Knows Me, Nothing Fails, Hollywood, Intervention. Hopefully, Madonna will choose to release the more radio friendly singles, so that the masses will be enraptured like I was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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's so bad, they might be giving them away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a remarkable album! Adult, spare, unglam, inventive, and ingenious at points. This is not your regular dance album, but certainly is one of Madonna's most original concepts. Songs like Intervention, Nothing Fails, Nobody Knows Me, and an accoustic version of Mother and Father (not on the album) stand out. Madonna deserves a big round of applause for being more daring than any of her peers could ever dream to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
madonna has returned with a set of music that is music to our ears. *american life*, madonna's 10th studio album, picks up lyrically where *ray of light* left off, and continues that electronic-synth sound of *music*. indeed, the melodies on *american life* make the album very singable, and easy to listen to over and over again, wheras on *music*, the songs really had no lyrical high points, and the wall-shattering beats took center stage. Here, madonna herself takes the stage. On *hollywood*, the electro-pop beats give way to a vulnerable madonna singing about the ways of hollywood, while at the same time a catchy tune, the sadness in her voice is evident, and has been missing from a madonna album for years. it is a welcome change. in *im so stupid*, madonna proclaims..."everybodys looking for something" while the beats flutter around her pure voice like floating butterflies. on such tunes like *nothing fails* , *nobody knows me*, and *mother and father*, madonna has NEVER sounded more introspective in her entire musical career, touching on family, her husband, and thoughts on religion that make you move your head to the beat yet question your beliefs at the same time. *intervention* has the most catchy chorus since *secret*. one listen and it's guaranteed to never leave your head! wonderful! and, *x-static process*, my favorite song of the set, is almost reminiscent of an old peter paul and mary folk tune. madonna cries with a tinged voice..."jesus christ will you look at me, don't know who i'm suppposed to be". with just madonna's layered voice, harmonies, and an acoustic guitar, the song will touch any heart. very serious, very fun, very personal, are the ways to describe *american life*. seems like a move towards the future for madonna's music. here, combining elements from all past albums, madonna acheives lyrical genius,musical prowess, yet maintains her vulnerability and intrigue as always. in an interview recently she said, there's more to come in the future from me! if this is what any of it will sound like, we can't wait.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this album is one of Madonna's best so far. She has gone from this pop phenomenon to become what I consider a true artist. When she wants to become something she truly goes for 100% without looking fake or unreal, but as if the character she is assuming is a real part of her which leads me to believe that this new style has been apart of her, but no one ever knew. The sounds on this album are amazing. Songs such as " I'm So Stupid " " Hollywood " and " Love Profusion " go for the acoustic rock vibe and its done very well. Madonna's vocals are a lot simpler on this album, and there are less effects to give you the feeling that everything is raw and more personal. She has done it again and it is done brilliantly. I give this album an A++, and I give Madonna a thumbs up for having the guts to create an album that a few years ago would have been far away from her personality and style. Cheers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madonna's music has hit an all time low with this record. Her cheesy rap on single "American Life" just shows how she needs to stop. Painful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 it makes her last album ("Music") seem generic in comparison.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!! :-)
Guest More than 1 year ago
She may be happy there's an 80's revival going on. The chameleon queen is definetly in her element on American Life. It's funny how some things move in circles! There's something tired happening on this album, however. I don't know if its the religion or the tea, but these songs loose some meaning when crowed from those Jerri Blank lips. Maybe she should have stuck with Orlando. I think Mr. Blackman said it best..."Such a bold ramble from such a loser, Madonna."
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 Reserve your copies now!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently heard this cd at a party last weekend. It's sweet! There are some great songs on here. Madonna has truly reached a higher level as an artist. My favorite song on this cd is her tribute to the Golden Girls, entitled "Everyone thought Blanch Devereaux was a tramp, but the real dirty dog was Rose Nylund." Madonna's commentary on American life is really inciteful, especially now that she speaks in an Brittish accent. Her song, "I majorly overcooked this hotdog, but I'm gonna eat the doggone thing anyway", really makes me think about the state of the world. It's hard to imagine that just last year, Madonna was donning a Michael Jackson Thriller jacket and using words like "homies" and "chillin'". Anyhow, I really had a blast listening to this cd with my friends. We had a whole night dedicated to Madonna. This cd is quite a bit different than her usual stuff. I think you'll like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.