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Thread: American Life

  1. #16
    Was listening to this yesterday in light of my sour feelings over it. Sadly it hasn't changed because it all feels so unfinished, either lyrically or sonically. It's a shame because this is probably the last real Madonna album that she felt so passionately about her music and vision (time will tell with MDNA).

    Her most realized tracks IMO are Intervention and Die Another Day; they're just great. Love Profusion, Easy Ride, and I'm So Stupid aren't bad at all, but not polished enough to pack a punch. The rest are just middling to awful. That said, she hasn't produced such lovely, raw vocals on an album ever since; instead regressing to a more bubblegum pop vocal styling (again, hopefully MDNA changes that).

  2. #17
    The only two songs I can listen to off this album are Die Another Day and Mother and Father. Die Another Day is just fun and I love it. The orchestrated electronics just move me. As for Mother and Father, it's an odd song and at first I hated it but it grew on me and I can empathize with her on that one and I do find it strangely inspirational and positive. The past hasn't been so great but give it up and move on.

  3. #18
    someone to fall back on Owen's Avatar
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    I remember being somewhat disappointed with this album when it first came out, because it didn't hold up to Ray of Light in Music. But, over time, I've come around and it really is a darn good record. The only song I skip is "I'm So Stupid" but the rest, especially when they come up on shuffle, are so wonderful. The production is really dry at times, rather than the atmospheric dance music that came before and after, but that really adds to the experience.

  4. #19
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    I dug out this album last week and have been so in love with it. I know some people that abhor the crispy production but I dig Mirwais' choppy acoustic guitar. Nobody Knows Me sounds like it should be a single now. It still sounds so fucking fresh. And I think if Live to Tell didn't exist I'd say that Nothing Fails is her best song.

  5. #20
    Vilest of the vile Homogenik's Avatar
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    I also love the production and this album in general. It was badly promoted but if that was done in a way that could show the album for what it was (an intimate experience) instead of what it wasn't (a political album), it would have made a difference. And another lead single, something gutsy like Intervention or something more unifying like Nothing Fails. It was a time of war and Americans had some healing to do. It wasn't a good time for an angry, bitter Madonna pointing the finger at capitalist lifestyle from the golden throne of her tenth mansion. She obviously chose that line of promotion just because she thought she could make a splash, but she sinked instead.

  6. #21
    Hock...hockety-pockety? Joey's Avatar
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    We're fast approaching the album's 10th anniversary. It's definitely a record that polarized the fan base in a big way. At the time I absolutely hated it and thought it was trite garbage. I still do, to an extent. But in the aftermath of Hard Candy and the larger half of MDNA, I have to respect Madonna for being ballsy enough to release it. It's the last of the "Ray of Light trilogy," as it were, though by FAR the least successful.

    I think the album failing really messed Madonna up, honestly. It killed her revolutionary nature and she's been chasing trends ever since.

  7. #22
    to the loneliest city in the world other pete's Avatar
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    Re: American Life

    I wonder if the commencement of the land war and her self-censorship of the AL video sort of called the bluff of the 'Earth Activist Madonna' persona that had grown out of the inner self discoveryTM from ROL onwards? Was it all just a look or was the substance beneath the Che Chic? It's part of her fascination, I don't mean this disdainfully - I think some of her best songwriting is on this album but I'm never sure of the sincerity. The video seemed really significant to me at the time but I don't know what everyone else was making of it.

    I can't fathom how she got from making music this interesting to 'ooh la la... you're a super duper star'.

  8. #23
    You are what you wear. Corey Haim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    I dug out this album last week and have been so in love with it. I know some people that abhor the crispy production but I dig Mirwais' choppy acoustic guitar. Nobody Knows Me sounds like it should be a single now. It still sounds so fucking fresh. And I think if Live to Tell didn't exist I'd say that Nothing Fails is her best song.
    funny, i dug out this album a few weeks ago and have been listening to it on a pretty consistent basis (about every 2-3 days). i was a fan when it came out and i think now, 10 years later, i love the album more than i did then. i'm a fan of the production, the songwriting, the confessional tone of the lyrics (although i do think they are not among her strongest).

    i really do feel it was the last time she took a risk with her music.
    It basically comes down to that word: love. I guess that's what it's all about.

  9. #24
    Vilest of the vile Homogenik's Avatar
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    Strangely I was never too fond of the song Intervention but it just recently has been revealed to my brain that it's a wonderful song and now it's one of my favourites.

  10. #25
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    I was never a fan of X-static Process and Intervention.

  11. #26
    Crimson and Clover Tiny Shiver's Avatar
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    I think this album is perfection from 'love profusion' on. I actually have a soft spot for AL the song, but think Hollywood is dull, and 'I'm so stupid' is terrible. After that though, I love everything. 'intervention' is gorgeous, and 'nobody knows me' and 'mother and father' are bliss. Last Madonna album I loved.

  12. #27
    condemned to wires and hammers ebby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    I dug out this album last week and have been so in love with it. I know some people that abhor the crispy production but I dig Mirwais' choppy acoustic guitar. Nobody Knows Me sounds like it should be a single now. It still sounds so fucking fresh. And I think if Live to Tell didn't exist I'd say that Nothing Fails is her best song.
    I have a major soft spot for this album for a particular reason, but damn, Nothing Fails is one of the best songs she's ever done.

  13. #28
    it's not meant to be a strife MikeEP's Avatar
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    American Life

    Totally agree, it's one of my all-time favorite songs of hers and that's saying something with her catalog. I also love Intervention, Love Profusion, Nobody Knows Me, and Die Another Day.

  14. #29
    Crimson Liberator Faust's Avatar
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    Nothing Fails is an unbelievable song. So sad that she didn't put that on I'm Going to Tell You a Secret.
    'Tis better to bend with the wind than stand tall and be broken. Therein lies hope; therein lies freedom.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by other pete View Post
    Was it all just a look or was the substance beneath the Che Chic?
    I think the Che Chic imagery is quite interesting actually. The album does feel like she was going for Hay que endurecerse sin perder la ternura. Trouble is she didn't take the political part of the album far enough. The title track's message is vague (a shallow commentary about superficiality?). Hollywood is inane (same concept as Natalie Merchant's Saint Andreas Fault, without any of the punch) and even though i personally like I'm So Stupid, I can see how it's a clunker for most people.
    But the "personal" section of the album is really a treat and I can't get enough of it.

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