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> American Life ● 15 years, the single ~
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HausofTove
post Apr 23 2018, 07:38 PM
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Earlier this month, 15 years ago, Madonna commenced what would develop into one of her most controversial, thought-provoking eras. On April 8, 2003, Madonna released the lead single to the album with same name, American Life. Featuring an aggressively political viewpoint and questions towards the shallowness of modern life and the American dream during the presidency of George W. Bush, Madonna is fierce, on fire and not giving any shits.

Totally panned by critics upon release, with some naming it one of the worst of all time, it went on to become a middling hit globally but almost totally ignored in the US (understandably). The world didn't seem to be ready to be told how meaningless and worthless the world around them was becoming but it's a song that even now has deep resonance and meaning.

To accompany the video, Madonna released two music videos, both directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The first video, featuring explosions and a direct attack on the President, was later cancelled due to the political unrest in the country at the time (Iraq war). The second video was released with Madonna in military uniform in front of world flags to show how global her message was.

The song also features a Madonna RAP. Love it or hate it, it's iconic. For many it is one of the lowest points of her career, for others it is just the hyperbolic demonstration of angst and frustration that the song needs. Either way, it shows how revolutionary an artist Madonna was and is, and how her music continues to evolve and provoke thought and discussion.



What are your thoughts on the song? Discuss below and let's celebrate 15 years of one of Madonna's most striking introductions to an album.
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vibe
post Apr 24 2018, 06:13 AM
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I wonder if Madonna was right to pull the video . Maybe the bashing would have started then instead of after adopting children from Malawi. It is not a single I play regularly but I enjoy it when I do . I also wonder if the original
Album was more rock influenced like M said and her record company asked her to change it.

I was 19 when this was released and my college friends loved the line ‘im not a Christian and I’m not a Jew’ !


This post has been edited by vibe: Apr 24 2018, 06:14 AM
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Tombo
post Apr 24 2018, 06:44 AM
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Incredible song, one of my Madonna favourites. It doesn't deserve all of the hate it receives.
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blacksquare
post Apr 24 2018, 07:49 AM
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I love the production on the song more than the song itself, but it's definitely a guilty pleasure.
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Euphorique
post Apr 25 2018, 12:40 AM
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Love the song and the original video. When I saw the flag video on MTV I got so annoyed...
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Liаm
post Apr 25 2018, 12:45 AM
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I absolutely LOVE this and I don't care, hot mess fave. I know the rap flawlessly and am proud of it *.*
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Tombo
post Apr 25 2018, 01:23 AM
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I just watched the video and I love it and the message behind it, it is a great comment on society.
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liamk97
post May 6 2018, 11:37 AM
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Add me as another fan too! I know it's received criticism as a song itself, but I personally really enjoy the spiky production and I always found that the lyrics were purposely written to appear quite basic on the surface; it's not meant to be showing Madonna's poetic or complex song-writing skills. Same goes for the rap, it's not meant to be serious whatsoever, but I think a lot of people at the time and over the years took it all way too literally.

The original video is one of my favourites from Madonna. I just adore the whole concept. Very overwhelming at the end but clearly it was the point to make people feel uncomfortable and think about the repercussions of war.
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liamk97
post May 13 2018, 01:36 PM
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An Australian interview from the time, where there's a small segment that discusses the original video:



And from CD:UK:



Oh and this iconic moment, just for the lols:

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vibe
post May 13 2018, 03:50 PM
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Love that 3rd video 😂
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RosaParksMyCar
post May 15 2018, 10:28 PM
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queen
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Jordan Lee
post Dec 23 2018, 07:48 PM
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Not a single I regularly listen too either but I can appreciate it for what it was and I feel it was ahead of its time.

This post has been edited by Jordan Lee: Dec 24 2018, 12:46 AM
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blacksquare
post Mar 10 2019, 01:41 PM
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I'm drinking a soy latte
I get a double shot-e
It goes right through my body, and you know I'm satisfied
I drive my mini cooper, and I'm feeling super-dooper
Yo, they tell I'm a trooper, and you know I'm satisfied
I do yoga and pilates, and the room is full of hotties
So I'm checking out the bodies, and you know I'm satisfied
I'm digging on the isotopes
This metaphysics shit is dope, and if all this can give me hope
You know I'm satisfied
I got a lawyer and a manager, an agent and a chef
Three nannies, an assistant, and a driver, and a jet
A trainer, and a butler, and a bodyguard, or five
A gardener and a stylist
Do you think I'm satisfied?
I'd like to express my extreme point of view
I'm not a Christian and I'm not a Jew
I'm just living out the American dream
And I just realized that nothing Is what it seems

~

How does everyone feel about the infamous rap all these years later?
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dandy*
post Mar 10 2019, 02:59 PM
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I don't actually mind it in principle and I quite like the message that she was trying to get across. The last 4 lines are where it loses it for me, the word 'extreme' always seemed out of place and felt like a teenager being extreme by coming home 2 minutes past their curfew or someone being extreme by daring to have a flat white instead of their usual latte.

And the final two lines just always felt clunky to me, they never quite fit and we don't need the conclusion shoved in our faces really when she was doing better at portraying the pointless things that people concentrate to make themselves happy in the proceeding paragraphs.
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liamk97
post Wednesday, 12:00 AM
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I kinda love it tbh! blush.gif I love how ridiculous it is yet that's what makes it work. I don't think anyone was prepared for it at the time and took it all too seriously, but I think critics have warmed to it since and can appreciate what it's meant to achieve.

I think the way it's delivered during the performance on the Re-Invention Tour makes it easier to digest. It suits the aggressive delivery among the rock production.
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SamJudd
post Wednesday, 10:53 PM
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I'm afraid I'm gonna be in a minority on here as I've never really embraced 'AL' at all, but I do like at how ambitious and risky this and the album of the same name are and probably marked the end of a very important phase of her career, having achieved artistic depth with both (Ray Of Light & Music), then ending out the trilogy of sorts with this and its easily one of her better lyrically driven albums.

As for the song, I simply just don't like it and find it really stodgy and tuneless, there's no flow to it, however the original music video really makes it POP, however I do find the rap hilarious, in a good but camp sort of way.
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