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label: Maverick/Warner Bros.
our score: 1.5 out of 5.0
of every Madonna album, especially every album in the past five
years or so, is a tremendous event. There's no denying that the
once "material girl" has become the single most important
female entertainer of any generation. And with each release, her
worldwide audience is reminded once again of this uber-status.
however, is it seems ever since Madonna betrothed herself to British
director, Guy Ritchie, her entertainment has fallen to disaster.
Her latest film, Swept Away, was universally panned as
one of the worst movies of 2002 and, truth be told, American
Life is no improvement. Where
Ray of Light and Music found Madonna redefining
herself as just as hip to modern times then as she was in the
80's, American Life is marred by self-indulgence, unbelievably
boring and reptetive production values, and cliche mistakenly
disguised as introspection.
In what seems
to be Madonna's soup du jour, following closely in the techno/folk
mold created with Music, American Life does
little to challenge the listener musically. The basic formula
throughout sticks with Mirwais Ahmadzai's "quirky" French
beats and production coupled with an acoustic guitar. Perhaps
Madonna felt she'd be taken more seriously as a "musician"
if she expanded on her guitar playing through the incorporation
of more guitars, or maybe the general consensus that this would
be considered an intriguing contrast between classic folk and
today's every-present techno sound... or maybe they just liked
how this sounded - but the underlying fact is that the music ends
up being just plain boring.
although Madonna's never really been considered the most amazing
songwriter, American Life's lyrics mostly fall flat.
Attempts at intelligent and challenging investigations of American
life and self ultimately end up as insipid and humiliating. Lines
like "I do yoga and pilates/and the room is full of hotties"
in her attempt at self-deprecating pseudo-rap are just inane,
and while this may be one of her lowest points on the disc, still
remain closely indicative of what lies beyond.
fans of Madonna will likely talk themselves into enjoying American
Life as they need to justify continued backing of an artist
well past her prime, but what American Life will do for
others is help us realize that although the release of a Madonna
album has always been a global event, there's little reason for
this trend to continue.
liked American Life
3. I'm So Stupid
4. Love Profusion
5. Nobody Knows Me
6. Nothing Fails
8. X-Static Process
9. Mother & Father
10. Die Another Day
11. Easy Ride