Monday, April 11, 2016

Something Redeemable about "American Life"

To this day, "American Life" remains Madonna's worst song of her career [although "Live to Tell", "Ghosttown", "4 Minutes", "Erotica", "Give Me All Your Luvin'", "Express Yourself", "Causing a Commotion" and certain others give it a run for its money.]
However, of any terrible song made "American Life" lyrically without the poorly thought out and terribly advised rap section [thanks for nothing, Mirwais] actually holds up.

Two remixes in particular actually highlight the most image-driven act in music calling out the vapid, materialistic American pop-culture of the early 00s [even though "Hollywood" did that much better with just its music video.] These remixes are the Headclnr Rock remix and the American Dream remix ft. Missy Elliott and uncredited backup vocals from Tweet, the "Oops Oh My" singer...*

*If you're wondering how the hell Missy Elliott and Tweet were on a Madonna song at this time, all 3 artists were signed to Warner Bros. Records; Madonna on the parent label, Missy on Atlantic which is owned by Warner and Tweet was on Elektra which is under Atlantic, etc.
Missy appeared with Madonna in that infamous Gap ad which produced the "Into the Hollywood Groove" remix which is actually good and magic took care of the rest, I guess...*

In its original, inferior form "American Life" is the most soundclash ridden piece of trash ever released. What could've saved it was a music video that didn't suck. Thanks to the internet, we can now find out that Madonna was actually going to be "controversial" but doing it the right way...before she settled on a terrible PowerPoint style flags of the World crap.

At least with the original video, there's "offensive" and gritty imagery that in 2003 [you know, when the U.S. was entrenched with Iraq and a war...] would've gotten people "talking". The fact this video was scrapped makes me think "Madonna can only be openly controversial about 'sex' and have 'Justify My Love' released and then banned with no alternate video..."
That aside, here's the Headcleanr Rock mix with a creative video edit...great job whoever did this...

With the Headcleanr remix, one major issue was corrected; the soundclash was removed for a "pop" take on hardcore rock music which if Madonna or her team had any sense at the time could've released this audio as the official version (Instead of that ripoff Daft Punk parody ridden with soundclash.)
What Headcleanr also highlights are some of the lyrics of "Do I have to change my name?" and "Am I gonna be a star?" highlighting both the serious and vapid populations of the country at odds with each other in culture. Granted, the rap is still in there but it does actually highlight Madonna sort of calling herself and materialism out, but she actually did this with a song that people misinterpreted (Thus creating good satire), "Material Girl".

However, the intended disillusion vibe American Life tried to capture wasn't really realized [not even on that album's least offensive/actually good song not from Die Another Day, "Hollywood"]. That would still be true in a capacity if it weren't for the American Dream remix ft. Missy and Tweet.

What this version gets right is with the use of Tweet's vocals and Missy Elliott saying "This is...the American Life...FUCK IT" in the background and even the vibe this record emits is the disillusion one comes away with when finding out that "nothing is what it seems."

Despite these two bright spots, "American Life" at large sucks out loud but considering this is Madonna, 1. She'll never give a fuck about how anybody; professional critic or professional amateur [yours truly] feels about her music. 2. She redeemed herself with Confessions on a Dance Floor. 3. Fans of hers apparently understood this and still consider her greatest misstep something to remember [pun not intended].

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