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American Life (The Album) Appreciation Thread

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First off, since I remember the album coming out, and I rushed out to buy it, I quickly listened to the whole album, and as a M stan I loved it, but quickly picked a song or 3 that I really liked and moved on. 

 

I'm So Stupid, seriously. Madonna is an artist, and this is art. You don't pick a song or 2 you like and move on. The whole album is a story. From start to finish you learn a lesson. 

 

There should never be a need to put it on shuffle, or skip a single song. The rap in American Life is there for a reason listen to the FUCKING words, and then listen to Hollywood, I'm So Stupid, and Love Profusion, and you start to get the message. The american dream should be love and to come to terms with who you are and learn to acknowledge your past, embrace it, and love yourself, your whole self  , not greed (at least this is what I take it to mean)

 

"No one's telling you how to live your life" but if you get a chance. Lay back, put on the album, clear your mind, and listen to the story that is American Life.

 

Madonna-American_Life-3-Booklet_zpsbd7gy

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Shiver    5,031

I only own two Madonna albums and this is one of them, for a good reason: it SLAYS. This is the last time she came out with an album with a message, the production is insane and doesn't sound in any way dated - in fact, it's so unique I doubt it ever will. It's often overlooked in her discography but for me it really does stand out cry7

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Venice Bitch    9,037

I fucking cannot at how underrated this album is

Easy Ride is pure poetry. 

 

Definitely in my top 3 Madonna albums.

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Lord Stoneheart    13,662

AL slays. X-Static Process, Easy Ride and Intervention are criminaly underrated.

The album's been paid dust (especially on tour) for far too long.

#justiceforAmericanLife

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Aion    21

A lot of disjointed rambling, I apologize.

 

This album is fucking glorious. And it gets better with each passing year. I can remember hearing it in 2004 and also finding a few songs, and then deciding that's what the album was.

 

And then every few years I'd REALLY hear another song and be like "Oh, THAT'S what's going on here..." It's not a "fun" or "dancey" album but it has some gorgeous melodies, like Love Profusion and X-Static Process. The latter is a song I would play to show people that she's not just Into The Groove and Music and that's all she's good at. A lot of critics have rushed to Joan of Arc as this big revelation coming from her. We know that Madonna has done vulnerability throughout her career, but X-Static Process... I always knew what the song was about, but since I first heard it, there have been a few times when I kneeeeeeewwwwww what the song was about. ny7.gif' alt='ny6'>.gif' alt='ny5'> I'm so grateful to have had a song like this available.

 

Nobody Knows Me is another song I wish more people knew. The tour version was phenomenal, but that version feels very cathartic. The album version is really tense and it feels like someone banging on the walls but not breaking them down, and I love that vibe, one of no resolution.

 

I understand that the misrepresentation of this album is partially Madonna's fault, as with Erotica. The first single and the militaristic imagery gave a lot of people the impression that the album was probably intensely political in the most literal sense, and it's really not. It was just part of continuing process Madonna once spoke of - of not "re-inventing" herself but constantly peeling the layers back. This is Madonna's starkest album and her first that was completely rejected by the public. It's interesting to consider that, post-Erotica, Madonna was never able to get more than two singles from an album into the top ten of the Hot 100, and after American Life, she could never get more than one.

 

There's a lot about this album that's aggressively ugly on the surface. From the fucked up vocals at the respective ends of American Life and Hollywood, the strain in her voice on I'm So Stupid and that interminably elongated "I'm" at the beginning of the song... the way vocals are chopped up in Nobody Knows Me and Mother and Father (on the latter, her voice is rendered uncomfortably infantile). Even the sonic palette feels so "washed out" and unfriendly. The big love song, Nothing Fails, sounds worn-out and mournful, as does the closer, the dirge-like Easy Ride. It's an album that DARES you to love it. But if you do, and if you give it a chance, you see that it's actually an extraordinarily vital work that will fuse itself to your soul. Lyrically it features some of Madonna's best and most relatable work. For all its sonic dissonance and "warped-ness," it's possibly Madonna's most "human" album and what a shame that the public may never appreciate that.

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There's a lot about this album that's aggressively ugly on the surface. From the fucked up vocals at the respective ends of American Life and Hollywood, the strain in her voice on I'm So Stupid and that interminably elongated "I'm" at the beginning of the song... the way vocals are chopped up in Nobody Knows Me and Mother and Father (on the latter, her voice is rendered uncomfortably infantile). Even the sonic palette feels so "washed out" and unfriendly. The big love song, Nothing Fails, sounds worn-out and mournful, as does the closer, the dirge-like Easy Ride. It's an album that DARES you to love it. But if you do, and if you give it a chance, you see that it's actually an extraordinarily vital work that will fuse itself to your soul. Lyrically it features some of Madonna's best and most relatable work. For all its sonic dissonance and "warped-ness," it's possibly Madonna's most "human" album and what a shame that the public may never appreciate that.

 

cry7

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Agent X    7,028

AL is Madonna's weirdest album sonically. When I say weird, I don't mean it is bizarre like works of, let's say, Bjork and it isn't everyone's cup of tea. It isn't an album for general public or casual fans. Even real fans can dislike it, but that shouldn't be a reason for not showing respect to it.

 

I guess we can say that AL is a musical equivalent to Drowned World Tour. Just like DWT had a selfish set-list, so was AL all about Madonna. It is like a diary. An intimate collection of biographical stories and thoughts on certain themes (meaning of AL dream, Hollywood, fame, success).

 

AL is very similar to Music sonically, but again it is different. It has catchy melodies here and there, but it isn't an album with songs that have hit status.

 

The only thing I dislike (it isn't really a huge deal), is Madonna's voice in certain electronic tracks. I think it should have been more organic, instead of using vocoder and autotune.

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Ultra Blue    546

I never thought of AL as an underrated album since i never pay attention to charts. It was my first Madonna album and i bought the cassette because i actually like what i heard and saw on MTV back then. I was never a big pop music fan, let alone a Madonna fan to begin with. It was actually Love Profusion that brought her to my attention. There's just something about the electronic-folk hybrid sound that she offered. No other music in the radio or MTV sounded like that then. ( hollywood ;) )

 

My appreciation for the album itself (and for her as well) didn't come until i had to write a paper about pop culture back in my college days. I gave it another listen along with a lot of other game-changing records from a lot of artists. I began to see her in different light. Her influences in a lot of other artists from all over the world became apparent to me. It took me a bad day, heavy rain, a lonely bus ride home in a foreign country and X-static process playing on my iPod to turn me into a fan that i am today.

 

...and then she released Hard Candy      ny7.gif' alt='ny6'>.gif' alt='ny5'>

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Jose    3,460

My trinity:

Easy Ride/X-static Process/Nothing fails

Lyrically one of her best albums, or maybe the best    brit11

so sad it's underrated, maybe because it was affected by the controversies, just for being honest with the people    clap1   btw the tour was amazing    brit11

i really wanna know her point of view of her albums, i mean, what she's thinking right now, a different point of view of what she thought in that time, and AL would be one of her faves    clap1

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Ultra Blue    546

My trinity:

Easy Ride/X-static Process/Nothing fails

Lyrically one of her best albums, or maybe the best    brit11

so sad it's underrated, maybe because it was affected by the controversies, just for being honest with the people    clap1   btw the tour was amazing    brit11

i really wanna know her point of view of her albums, i mean, what she's thinking right now, a different point of view of what she thought in that time, and AL would be one of her faves    clap1

 

there's a lot of interviews regarding her feelings about it, i just forgot which ones. She said that she was angry then etc.

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Jose    3,460

there's a lot of interviews regarding her feelings about it, i just forgot which ones. She said that she was angry then etc.

not that way, i mean musically, lyrically etc, if she says "oh that sound sucks" or "omg i did this? i'm in love" that way    brit11

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Goldie    2,949

I really love AL oprah2 Mother and Father, Easy Ride, Love Profusion, and Nothing Fails cry8 However I only find a handful of songs are about American life and the rest are very introspective/about love, so I never understood its identity as a "folk" album (aside from its sound) Still can't really get into I'm So Stupid, Nobody Knows Me and X-Static Process, even though they are beautiful songs

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GODELE    0

just listened to it again - always loved this... i remember getting the mp3s from a Madonna p2p thing back in the day - 24 hours before it was released in the shops LOL 

 

loved I'm so stupid, xstatic process and nobody knows me straight away - and hollywood was my fav!

 

easy ride is a TUNE

 

are these the only demos that leaked from the sessions: the game, miss you, set the right, its so cool?

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Madonna    39,590

THREAD OF THE YEAR! This album deserves so much more love than it gets. It's truly a shame that a large part wasn't even included in the setlist of RIT. It's one of my Madonna's most daring and controversial imo. There's not a single bad track on the album and eventhough the songs would have probably sounded a bit better had they gotten a smooth touch-up by Stuart Price they're all perfect.

 

2003 was my first year as a stan, I think. I remember being extremely perched for this album to come out after getting my dad to buy me Die Another Day. I literally freaked out when I heard American Life premiering on the radio...Ahhh good times.

Anyway...since this is one of my all-time favourite Madonna albums, I've decided to post a quick review:

 

1. American Life. This song was my jam back then. I loved the contrast between the edgy verses and the beautiful chorus. The rap is okay but I could have done without it. This song gets so much hate and I still don't know why. You can hear her anger and frustartion in this song and I fucking love it. The video is one of her all-time best and I still think she was being a pussy for pulling it. That fucking flag version was a HOT MESS.

2. Hollywood. I still, to this day hear it in stores and cafés in my city. This song perfectly showcases the catchy guitar hooks that make the songs on this album so enjoyable. I just love the mix of synths and acoustic guitar. I want to hear this song life on tour again!!! It's a shame she didn't perform it on RIT.

 

3. I'm So Stupid. Okay this song is probably one of the most hated and I still don't understand why. It's THE SHIT! I sometimes pretend to be Guitardonna when i listen to this song, lmao. I mean the slayage that this song's tour performance would have been >>>> Again, pressed it didn't happen. This song is and always was one of my favourites from this album.

4. Love Profusion. I have to admit I wasn't a big fan of this track for a long time and just kinda ignored it for a long time. A few years ago it grew on me and I love it now. It's such a beautiful song and probably one of the most accessible. Once again, a song that deserved a tour performance. Especially, since the Headcleanr Version is so kick-ass. So sad they scrapped it from RIT.

 

5. Nobody Knows Me. Okay...so here's the thing. This song has by far one of the best lyrics from the album. I love how paradox the lyrics are. However, this song is pretty low-key for the most part. The RIT version is MILES better and that's the version I usually listen to. I tried recreating the RIT Version with the original track stems of this song but I failed. Someone good at working with stems?

6. Nothing Fails. And another great song. Beautifully written and produced. So sad it didn't get a music video and is pretty much forgotten. It's a gem in Madonna's discography. I love the "I'm not religious part". One of Madonna's best love songs.

 

7. Intervention. And just when you thought the songs couldn't get any better this song starts. In myopinion the best song of the record. Uplifting, melancholic and perfectly produced. I think this song could have been a good single, actually. This song has helped me so much going through rough times. I just love it. One of my fav M songs.

 

8. X-Static Process. Not a big fan of this song but it's something extraordinary in M's discography. I like it but I don't listen to it that often. I really wonder what the dance version of this song sounded like.

 

9. Mother and Father. A fucking bop about losing your mother! Only M could pull something like this off. It's really cool and edgy and I still shamelessly bop to it from time to time.

 

10. Die Another Day. I have a love-hate relationship with this song. Part of me adores this song and thinks it's one of the best "newer" M songs. The violins mixed with the synths and the vocoded vocals. It's just such a fucking great song. The other part of me hates the fact that this song is part of the album and basically the only song some people say is "worth a mention".

 

11. Easy Ride. What a sad and moody track. Very deep and a perfect album ender. It actually works so well after Die Another Day. I don't listen to it very often but when I listen to it I'm always mesmerized.

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Aion    21

3. I'm So Stupid. Okay this song is probably one of the most hated and I still don't understand why. It's THE SHIT! I sometimes pretend to be Guitardonna when i listen to this song, lmao. I mean the slayage that this song's tour performance would have been >>>> Again, pressed it didn't happen. This song is and always was one of my favourites from this album.

 

4. Love Profusion. I have to admit I wasn't a big fan of this track for a long time and just kinda ignored it for a long time. A few years ago it grew on me and I love it now. It's such a beautiful song and probably one of the most accessible. Once again, a song that deserved a tour performance. Especially, since the Headcleanr Version is so kick-ass. So sad they scrapped it from RIT.

 

5. Nobody Knows Me. Okay...so here's the thing. This song has by far one of the best lyrics from the album. I love how paradox the lyrics are. However, this song is pretty low-key for the most part. The RIT version is MILES better and that's the version I usually listen to. I tried recreating the RIT Version with the original track stems of this song but I failed. Someone good at working with stems?

 

8. X-Static Process. Not a big fan of this song but it's something extraordinary in M's discography. I like it but I don't listen to it that often. I really wonder what the dance version of this song sounded like.

 

 

Re: I'm So Stupid - I like it enough, but maybe people are against it because it's Patient Zero for Fuzzydreamitis ny7.gif' alt='ny6'>.gif' alt='ny5'>

 

Re: Love Profusion - I felt the same way. I always considered it just another song, and then in the past year or two it's come to life. The song just GLIDES. It's effortlessly graceful and the way the verses just slide into the chorus... oprah2

 

Re: Nobody Knows Me - I USED to feel this way, that I preferred the RIT version. I still love that mix, but there's something so claustrophobic in the album version, a sense of duress that's very appealing, and now I love it the most. The Re-Invention version (I like how I couldn't be fucked to actually spell out Re-Invention just a sentence ago but twenty seconds later I've apparently had a change of heart) gets more space to breathe.

 

Re: X-Static Process - ...there's a DANCE version? rih1

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Agent X    7,028

 It's truly a shame that a large part wasn't even included in the setlist of RIT.

 

7 songs (if we count a part of Intervention) of 11 AL songs were performed. I think that was enough.

 

The problem was the setlist of RIT. There were so many hits and other classics thrown around, so AL looked small and invisible in the end. lj1

 

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Madonna    39,590

7 songs (if we count a part of Intervention) of 11 AL songs were performed. I think that was enough.

 

The problem was the setlist of RIT. There were so many hits and other classics thrown around, so AL looked small and invisible in the end. lj1

7?

American Life, Nothing Fails, Mother and Father, Nobody Knows Me & Die Another Day. That's 5. Hollywood shouldn't count because it didn't even feature much of the lyrics from the song. Intervention shouldn't count, either because it was just a short snippet.

 

Hollywood, Intervention, Love Profusion and I'm So Stupid deserved to be performed. lj1 I like that she played some hits but I'd rather hear songs from the new album, knowing that the majority may never be performed again. I actually, preferred the original setlist over the one we got in the end.

 

The Beast Within

Vogue

Swim

Nobody Knows Me

Express Yourself

American Life (Headcleaner Mix)

Burning Up

Love Profusion (Headcleaner Mix)

I’m So Stupid

Hollywood (VMAs mix)

The Devil Wouldn't Recognise You

Hanky-Panky

Dress You Up

Take A Bow

Bedtime Stories

Like A Prayer

Don't Tell Me

Mother And Father

Live To Tell

Into The Groove (GAP version) OR Holiday

Music

Crazy For You

Die Another Day

 

Of course that one isn't perfect either, but it would've focused more on the album it was promoting, at least.

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