1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Pop Album
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...
Published on July 24 2004 by scamp98
2.0 out of 5 stars Madonna's Recycled 'Life' Story
Okay, So Madonna is a star. She's sick and tired of being a star. All you need is love. Playing guitars automatically makes what you're saying really really important. On her latest super-hyped project 'American Life', Madonna desperately tries to keep her position as controversial quick-change artist, with plenty left to say on sex, politics, family, and (oh god!)the...
Published on April 23 2003 by johnspearman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Pop Album,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the single,
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This review is from: American Life/Die Another Day (Vinyl) (LP Record)
I ordered this item hoping it was the full American Life album on vinyl and not the single and was delighted when I pulled the full album in all it's vinyl glory out of the box. The product description leaves you questioning which title you are getting as there are 3 product descriptions. I must admit some of the songs are lost quality on vinyl because of the auto tune but tracks like x-static process and easy ride have never sounded better. So if you are a completist like me and have been a fan for almost 30 years this is a must buy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely one of her best!,
I only can say that American Life is one of the best Madonna's efforts, maybe you hoped another up-beat album but this time is more introspective in lyrics and music, i think is very mature, the music sometimes is a little dark but all fits perfectly because of the theme in this record. Don't worry, this is not the last Madonna's album, i think it is like she said... it reflects her state of mind so she express this feeling in the album, maybe she took again the mynimalist synth pop into it but with great and awesome arranges in every song! I think she set her free with it and what i way to do it because is simply brilliant! and be prepared because she is planning a new album for the next year with Patrick Leonard and others say with William Orbit and i believe she'll gonna shut the mouth of many many people who thought her creativity was finished.
Thumbs up for American Life! and don't judge without a listening.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About This Single Being "Enchanced",
This review is from: American Life 2 Trk. Single (Audio CD)
Love the songs, love the remixes but word of warning - the "enhanced" portion of the single is simple a link to join Madonna's official mailing list. This appears when you put the cd in a computer. Whoop-de-doo.
4.0 out of 5 stars not her best,but still pretty damn good,
after the worldwide smash that was 'music',madonna chose to go in a different direction with 'american life'. interesting,considering both albums were co-produced by mirwais,the french studio wizard who reminds one of other big french acts such as daft punk and cassius. 'american life' goes in a darker,more personal direction than 'music',and it's all the better for it. where 'music' seemed to creatively and sonically jump around from sci-fi funk to vocodered retro pop to cowgirl dance ditties with varying degrees of success,'american life' is thoroughly consistent while still offering a variety of sounds and textures. the best here to me is the southern fried electro rock of 'i'm so stupid',the funky and futuristic 'nobody knows me' and the pure acoustic pop of 'hollywood'.
thematically 'american life' is strong,with madonna ruminating melodically on the perils of fame. oftentimes the album can be very dark,such as on 'mother and father',a song about the death of madonna's mother and madonna's resolution to give up her pain and finally move on with her life.
if you like intelligent pop then this is the album for you. if,however,you're wanting feel-good upbeat dance ditties about nothing in paticular then you should look elsewhere. the bottom line is this may not be madonna's best,but it certainly isn't bad in any way.
5.0 out of 5 stars Still knows how to please her fans,
Madonna still knows how to work her crowd and create controversy. Her album "American Life" shows what she's learned over the last 20 years of her career and her own life. People are so used to all of her previous albums being huge hits, but this one is even better than most.
1. American Life - A good mix of techno and guitar and fun to dance to. If you enjoy this song, think about getting the Paul Oakenfold Downtempo remix. Definitely fun to jam to.
4.0 out of 5 stars American Life Gets A Boost From It's Variety Of Remixes,
This review is from: American Life Maxi Single (Audio CD)
"American Life", the first single from Madonna's highly anticipated full length cd of the same name is an electro track, not unlike her hit "Music". Different yes, because Madonna raps for the first time (if i'm not mistaken) in a song. This cd maxi single has five remixes of "American Life" as well as a remix of her last hit "Die Another Day". Starting with the "Missy Elliott American Dream Remix"(4:43) this is a downtempo track made for mainstream radio with rapper Missy Elliott adding her special touch to complement Madonna's vocals (and rap). Also of note, is the use of the words f..k it used in the song which some may find offending. The "Oakenfold Downtempo Remix" (5:32) is a slow grinding electro version with scratch effects used throughout. This isn't a bad remix, but it could have used a bit of energy to make it more interesting. "Felix Da Housecat's Devin Dazzle Club Mix" (6:11) is the standout mix (in my opinion)on this cd maxi single because it has energy and catchy synthesizers which reminds me of Peter Godwin's 80's hit "Images Of Heaven". Add a simple synthesizer line along with a strong beat, some vocoders and Madonna's vocals and viola you transform a rather average song into a catchy one. "Peter Rauhofer's American Anthem Part 1" (10:44) starts with a solid beat, a strong bassline and dark sounding synthesizers giving it a somewhat progressive feel. I felt this remix too long at over ten minutes and it would have sounded better edited down to 7 minutes. "Peter Rauhofer's American Anthem Part 2" (9:09) again has a driving beat with a simulated orchestra which sounds great with Madonna's vocals. The "Richard Humpty Vission Electrofried Mix" (6:01) of "Die Another Day" is an 80's sounding electrofied mix bursting with energy with echoed vocals, layered synthesizers and interesting stutter effects. With over 40 minutes worth of music on this cd maxi single, dance music lovers will definately want to add this to their collection. Recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars More Electro From The Queen Of Pop!,
This review is from: American Life 2 Trk. Single (Audio CD)
This latest cd single from Madonna's highly anticipated cd "American Life" is an electro pop track, very catchy and unusual in that Madonna actually raps in one part of the song. While I won't say it's the best song she's ever done, it certainly does have mega dancefloor hit potential especially when the new remixes are available shortly. Also included on this cd single is an excellent, never before available remix of "Die Another Day". This remix is just under nine minutes long a has a very strong bassline, lots of percussion, synthesizers and cool space effects. Victor Calderone and Mac Quayle did an excellent job remixing this great song. The cd single is worth buying just for this remix alone, which probably will never be available again, at least not domestically. This is a must have for all Madonna lovers.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Symphony,
Love her or hate her, Madonna is the definitive pop music icon of the past 20 years. No modern artist has managed to maintain our fascination and stay strong at the top of the charts as long as Madonna. Constantly evolving and reinventing herself Madonna has taken us along on her wild ride of self discovery and growth. From the sugar rush of "Like A Virgin" and "Holiday", the dance high of "Into the Groove" and "Vogue", the provocative "Justify My Love" and "Erotica" to the searching "Frozen" and celebratory "Music" Madonna continues to show new colors and get better and better as an artist. After releasing the lush and meditative "Ray of Light" and the sonic candy "Music," Madonna gives us the spare and introspective "American Life".
This is Madonna's bittersweet symphony. Unlike the cocoon of the "Ray of Light" album and the soulful urgency of the "Like A Prayer" record, this is an album that slowly seeps in before it really takes hold. At first listen the folk/ electronic blend of the first single American Life didn't seem to fit. Keep listening and you're rewarded with a layered and intelligent song that questions America's obsession and distraction with the superficial and trivial life. A great intro into an album where Madonna lays it bare and asks "What's left when the fruits of fame and success have lost their taste?"
Collaborating only with French techno pop provacateur Mirwais, this is Madonna's most cohesive record. "Hollywood" is a funky synth-folk jam that's great when cranked up on the car stereo, windows open on a sunny day. The sinewy "I'm So Stupid" is Madonna's wry and witty look back at her old self. "Love Profusion" is hypnotic with it's simple guitar and quietly propulsive beat. "Nobody Knows Me" takes off in the same direction as "Music's" "Impressive Instant." It's a twisty, stuttering fun house of a song. The two masterpieces of the album are the soaring "Nothing Fails" and the gorgeous "Intervention." With "Nothing Fails" Madonna tips her hat to earlier hit "Like A Prayer." "Nothing Fails" starts off in a hymnlike hush and keeps building and building to a spine tingling finish where Madonna is backed by a gospel choir. Simply stunning. The fuzzy guitars coupled with Madonna's sweet and earnest vocals make "Intervention" a true gem. The stripped down "X-Static Process" is like a lullaby, pure and bare. Another album highlight is the make you want to dance confessional "Mother And Father." Madonna closes the album with the languid "Easy Ride" where she takes the album's themes of self-confession, honesty, and social dissatisfaction full circle and finds her inner footing. The only misstep on the album is the throaway Bond theme "Die Another Day." While a fun and mindless single on it's own, "Die Another Day" is out of place on this collection of bittersweet and introspective songs.
Overall I rate this record an A minus. It's one of Madonna's best. A lot of press on this album has been mixed. People don't know what to make of it. It's not the album that the public expected of Madonna. It's a quiet and spare album from an artist who is best known for smoke and mirrors, masks and costumes, sparks and high energy combustion. With "American Life" Madonna gives us an about face and provokes by asking us to go deeper and discover what really matters when all artifice is pushed aside. The artistic triumph of "American Life" shows that Madonna is still a force to be reckoned with, still at the top of her game and won't be going away for a long time. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
2.0 out of 5 stars Madonna's Recycled 'Life' Story,
Okay, So Madonna is a star. She's sick and tired of being a star. All you need is love. Playing guitars automatically makes what you're saying really really important. On her latest super-hyped project 'American Life', Madonna desperately tries to keep her position as controversial quick-change artist, with plenty left to say on sex, politics, family, and (oh god!)the price of fame. What results is the same sob-story she gave us on 2000's 'Music' and 1998's 'Ray Of Light', only this time the experimentation with electronica and intense introspection has become just more digital whining and kumbaya sing along babble. While 'Music' was half of what 'Ray' was, it still managed to be engaging enough to be left knowing Madonna was still at the top of her game. This, her tenth album, is her weakest because there are no new tricks and the subject matter has all been covered before. The family and religious themes of "Mother and Father" and "Nothing Fails" recall 'Like A Prayer', which remains her best album to date. The choir in "Nothing Fails" makes you really miss that period. That's the problem with 'Life'.There are fragments sprinkled throughout that remind you of her past catalog and then something obnoxious happens again-another tune where either Madonna's guitar gently weeps and she talks out of her spiritual behind or a pretty good dance tune ("Nobody Knows Me", "Hollywood")is partnered with lyrics my two year old niece could write ("Im stupider than stupid"). What is really wrong with the whole thing is the concept of soul searching-something we're already well aware and tired of. The title track, maybe the strongest now that we've heard the rest of the album, tries to deliver social commentary with that same ego-bad, Kabaalah-good sermon. We get treated to Madonna's horrible habit of simple pop rhymes-bar,star,far, dream,seem (later fly, sky, cry are used to death). This is forgivable for the first five or so songs of your career...but we know Madonna is capable of making stronger songs. "American Life" would be a better Madonna song without the cringe-inducing embarrassment of that rap, where she lists those shallow things she hates so much (but it would be more believable if her whole career had never been based on self-love, brattiness, carelessness, and the ability to morph into a new piece of eye candy during her latest project) What should sound like a mature woman making relevant, envelope-pushing music sounds like a woman that couldn't even reach the level of "Like A Virgin". Madonna has sucked the life out of her art, under the illusion that her enlightenment, her motherhood, and her love of cyber-chucky space beats is still enough to stay in the groove. I think many buyers of her latest scheme may disagree with her. All this time, we've followed her simply because of the excitement that has always surrounded a hot off the press Madonna album. But for the first time, Madonna has not evolved any more since the last time. Her shock-appeal is already showing age-would the same Madonna 13 years ago not release a video because it might offend someone? No. But that is where we are at right now. I won't go as far as to say Madonna has totally lost it, but she has definitely lost focus of what has worked for her for 20 years: never doing the same thing twice. My advice to Madonna: get new producers, ditch techno, and remember this: songs don't have to rhyme! In other words, get back into the groove or get out.
Standouts: American Life (minus the rap), "Hollywood", "Nobody Knows Me"(the beats), "Nothing Fails"(Minus some lyrics), Mother and Father" (Minus some dopey lyrics),"Die Another Day"-the only flawless song.
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