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> American Life: which run of singles is better?, Official or Originally planned?
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Which singles run would you'd prefer?
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Nina West
post Jan 30 2021, 02:14 AM
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Just a poll on what do you think would have been the better run of singles from Madonna's 9th studio album American Life, from the 2 cycles below?


What We Got
American Life
Hollywood
Nothing Fails
Love Profusion


Scrapped Run
American Life
Hollywood
Nobody Knows Me
Mother and Father


Both of these choices are quite interesting. The original run is okay with the lead single's music video getting pulled by Madonna herself, didn't get this era off to a good start & then "Hollywood", despite being the strongest track on the album, but sadly underperformed by becoming her first single in 20 years to miss the USA charts, which in turn led to either the label or Madonna herself to go with different follow up singles by scrapping both 'Nobody Knows Me' & 'Mother and Father' in favour of more toned down & radio friendly options - 'Nothing Fails' & 'Love Profusion'. But that plan didn't work either as both of these also underperformed also, with 'NF' not getting a music video or decent promo & 'LP' which had a cheap & nasty music video & almost no promotion or much attention.

Should they have just stuck to their guns & released 'Nobody Knows Me' (which could have worked) & 'Mother and Father' (undecided on this one). Personally they would have probably suffered the same fate as the other singles. But what you do you guys think?




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vibe
post Jan 30 2021, 08:57 AM
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The UK didn't get Nothing Fails and i think that would have worked !!

Nothing Fails should have led the album or been single number 3 in the UK.

Love Profusion i have never taken too, it reached number 11! NF would have def gone top 10!



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Liam.k.
post Jan 30 2021, 12:15 PM
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I'd have said a mix of both: 'Nothing Fails' as single #3 and 'Nobody Knows Me' as single #4. I guess the label had just given up by the end of 2003 but I think 'Nothing Fails', with a proper campaign behind it, could have helped save the era; it's much more accessible than a lot of the album, great vocals and the choir provides a bit of classic Madonna familiarity. 'Nobody Knows Me' had lots of remixes and topped the US dance sales chart (and placed second on 2004's year end chart!).
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Bjork
post Jan 30 2021, 02:04 PM
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agree, Nothing Fails is amazing and should have been the 3rd UK single instead of Love Profusion.

but how come Hollywood did miss the top 100 in the US?
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Hotlady
post Jan 30 2021, 02:58 PM
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Love Profusion is truly fantastic. I really it a lot.
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Nina West
post Jan 30 2021, 03:58 PM
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"Nothing Fails" & "Nobody Knows Me" - would have been perfect 3rd & 4th singles, 'NF' given a proper push with a music video instead of 'Love Profusion' , which felt more like an album track instead of a single. Then have 'NKM' to round off this era. 'Mother and Father' , NOPE that wouldn't have worked at all.



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blacksquare
post Jan 30 2021, 05:17 PM
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I have always thought 'Nothing Fails' should have been the second single — it could have balanced out how hard divisive the lead was. More 'classic Madonna' and a good representation of the the quieter moments on the album.
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CJK
post Jan 30 2021, 09:42 PM
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I had no idea there was an original plan that was aborted and I'm a bit miffed. Nobody Knows Me and Mother and Father are two of my fave tracks on American Life; an album which ranks quite low in my personal list.

I think that NKM could have been a bigger hit than Love Profusion in the UK; though in the US they seemed to have already called time on the era so it probably would have still missed the charts.

Not sure MAF would have faired any better.

The problem with the era commercially was that the AL song was not as accessible as previous leads, there was that rap, and the whole video thing. There was little coming back from that.

So purely from a personal point of view, the originally planned run of singles would have been a thumbs up for me.
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dandy*
post Jan 30 2021, 09:53 PM
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I don't think any alternate run of singles would have made much difference tbh. I do like American Life but it wasn't what the majority wanted from her and it killed the album from the off. If I was going to swap anything then I'd probably agree with blacksquare that replacing Hollywood as the second single may have made a difference but even then I'm not too convinced.
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Umi
post Jan 31 2021, 12:30 AM
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The only choice that matters in relation to the success of the singles run is the first one. 'American Life' defined the era and everything else had no real agency. As long as your plan has 'American Life' as the first single, I really don't see anything that follows charting.
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Among Haus
post Jan 31 2021, 12:08 PM
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I am a fan of the original run! I could NOT see 'Mother and Father' working as a single. 'Nobody Knows Me' would have been a good choice, but then I enjoy 'Love Profusion' so it'd be sad to see that thrown away in favour of the former. Let's have 'Nobody Knows Me' as the 5th single and then I'm totally happy tongue.gif

The first two singles, I wouldn't change though because as Umi says, personal taste aside, the truly represent what this era set out to tackle!
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blacksquare
post Jan 31 2021, 03:05 PM
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QUOTE(dandy* @ Jan 30 2021, 10:53 PM) *
I don't think any alternate run of singles would have made much difference tbh. I do like American Life but it wasn't what the majority wanted from her and it killed the album from the off. If I was going to swap anything then I'd probably agree with blacksquare that replacing Hollywood as the second single may have made a difference but even then I'm not too convinced.


QUOTE(Umi @ Jan 31 2021, 01:30 AM) *
The only choice that matters in relation to the success of the singles run is the first one. 'American Life' defined the era and everything else had no real agency. As long as your plan has 'American Life' as the first single, I really don't see anything that follows charting.


'Nothing Fails' sounds like damage control to me, but you're both right — it also went beyond the song itself and how celebrities at the time were being treated for criticising the war, George Bush, and America itself.



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Umi
post Feb 4 2021, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE(blacksquare @ Jan 31 2021, 03:05 PM) *
'Nothing Fails' sounds like damage control to me, but you're both right — it also went beyond the song itself and how celebrities at the time were being treated for criticising the war, George Bush, and America itself.

Exactly. The beauty and importance of American Life is that it proposed a conversation that needed to be had, but its downfall was that nobody wanted to have it in 2003. It wasn't the most commercial era to begin with, but I don't think you can look at a song like 'Hollywood' and say it failed to chart on its own merits. People just didn't want to hear anything from Madonna at that point because "huh maybe America isn't great?" was precisely the thing that Americans couldn't stand to hear at the time.

I'd love to call it a brave album but I've always thought that it was more of a miscalculation on Madonna's part than any knowing risk. I don't think she realised just how unwilling people in the US were to reflect on themselves and their country back then.
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✖ leww ✖
post Feb 4 2021, 07:50 PM
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OMG as if you'd all replace Hollywood! One of her best singles!!!!
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CJK
post Feb 4 2021, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE(Umi @ Feb 4 2021, 02:57 PM) *
People just didn't want to hear anything from Madonna at that point...


This.

How in the name of God did Madonna go from the highs of Ray of Light and Music, to suddenly missing the Top 100 and having everyone that she had won over again turn their backs on her once more?

It kind of happened with Erotica after the euphoric Blond Ambition and Immaculate Collection, but she came back with Evita and ROL; put everything back on track.

With American Life she seemed to just lose it then. Hung Up and 4 Minutes aside, nothing was ever the same again chart-wise in America.

Rather than Nothing Fails, I think I really found it tough being a Madonna fan around then and watching everything fail


This post has been edited by CJK: Feb 4 2021, 10:25 PM
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tommie
post Feb 5 2021, 12:52 AM
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I'd say the official run out of the two, but with American Life as the lead single and the following backlash I doubt anything could've saved the album. Nothing Fails is far more radio-friendly than Nobody Knows Me and while I like the chorus to Mother and Father the verses + rap is just cringe.

This post has been edited by tommie: Feb 5 2021, 12:53 AM
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vibe
post Feb 5 2021, 08:07 AM
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I always thought America turned her back on Madonna after she adopted her first two children.

The press were vile to her and radio ignored.

As you say Music was huge and then no support from there.
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tommie
post Feb 6 2021, 06:56 AM
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QUOTE(vibe @ Feb 5 2021, 09:07 AM) *
I always thought America turned her back on Madonna after she adopted her first two children.

The press were vile to her and radio ignored.


Her adopting children has nothing to do with it. American Life was just too polarizing and killed all the follow-up singles.

Radio played both Hung Up and 4 Minutes. The biggest issue is ageism. Once you hit a certain age, a lot of radio stations besides adult contemporary will ignore you. The fact that she had hits with both Hung Up and 4 Minutes is sort of amazing when you consider that.
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blacksquare
post Feb 6 2021, 09:24 AM
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QUOTE(lewwisha iman ✖ @ Feb 4 2021, 08:50 PM) *
OMG as if you'd all replace Hollywood! One of her best singles!!!!


I love Hollywood! I would only switch it for the 10% chance a more relatable Madonna ballad could have changed things around for the era — but as others have said, it wouldn't have.

QUOTE(tommie @ Feb 6 2021, 07:56 AM) *
Her adopting children has nothing to do with it. American Life was just too polarizing and killed all the follow-up singles.

Radio played both Hung Up and 4 Minutes. The biggest issue is ageism. Once you hit a certain age, a lot of radio stations besides adult contemporary will ignore you. The fact that she had hits with both Hung Up and 4 Minutes is sort of amazing when you consider that.


Ageism, whilst obviously a thing, wasn't as much of a kiss of death with radio then — Gwen Stefani had her first solo hits in her mid thirties, which would never happen now. It's a shame how much that has changed.
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vibe
post Feb 6 2021, 11:33 AM
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QUOTE(tommie @ Feb 6 2021, 06:56 AM) *
Her adopting children has nothing to do with it. American Life was just too polarizing and killed all the follow-up singles.

Radio played both Hung Up and 4 Minutes. The biggest issue is ageism. Once you hit a certain age, a lot of radio stations besides adult contemporary will ignore you. The fact that she had hits with both Hung Up and 4 Minutes is sort of amazing when you consider that.


I follow her very closely and this is where media started to really dog on Madonna again and it has continued since
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