In this day and age of pre-programmed hitmachines and over-emotive screamer/singers, this album will be looked back on as a true innovation. In the midst of syrupy ballads and by-the-numbers pop music, American Life rings like a crystal clear bell. It also is the first album where it seems Madonna wants to make a statement as an artist; an album where she wants to batton down the hatches and push off into Bowie territory. Fearless in construction, the songs strike before you can react. American Life stutters into existance, sounding an uneasy campaign against conformity. I'm So Stupid growls for attention. The heart of the album could be missed by the listener when confronted by the spikey songs that surround it. From Nothing Fails through Intervention and finishing with X-Static Process, you can hear stripped down pop perfection. Like it or not, you will not bear witness to a song quite like Mother and Father, guaranteed. Easy Ride winds and sprawls out to polish off another amazing addition to an already accomplished career. I hope this is only the beginning in a true sonic adventure from the world's premier pop artist. Love her or loathe her, American Life is an achievement. Listen with an open ear, head and heart.