It’s a demon she’s famously attempted to exorcise before (and more successfully), but one that continues to haunt her into midlife, and it illuminates the motivation behind her abiding drive to remain relevant in a youth-obsessed industry. 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Earlier in her career, Swift’s writing was limited by her apparent belief that hers was the only story worth telling. The resurrection of Mr. Rager, Cudi’s jaded, drug-addled alter ego, brings about ambivalent emotional outcomes; often, it’s impossible to discern whether or not Cudi enjoys or abhors the drugged-out haze. On Yellow Tape, the well-crafted array of menacing beats—which include plaintive guitars and liquefied horns—go down easy, and Glock’s baritone makes a lasting impression as he twists nursery rhymes and lodges lots of animal puns. Glock.” The Memphis-based rapper nods to fellow Tennesseans Three 6 Mafia more than once, though his style has more in common with West Coast hip-hop than the postmodern inventiveness we’ve come to expect from the Southern variety. Swift has always excelled at reserving her best, most critical lines for the bridges of her songs, and that’s the case here, as the piano crescendo behinds her and her pace quickens and she observes, “Sometimes you just don’t know the answer/‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you.”. The Alchemist’s minimalism and ear for subtle melody bestow these songs with the air of a heist movie, like on “Pinto,” where a longing string sample makes Boldy’s recollections of moving drugs seem like mythology. “American Life” may have been the first time in Madonna’s career where she voluntarily censored herself; moreover, it may have been the first time she made a creative choice out of fear. Label: Astralwerks Release Date: December 11, 2020 Buy: Amazon. A suis generis, nearly two-hour double album, its first volume is a tonally uniform concept album about Uzi’s abduction from Earth by aliens. That Taylor Swift has called Evermore a “sister record” to Folklore does something of a disservice to both albums. The breakup ballad “Happiness” turns the realization that “There will be happiness after you/But there was happiness because of you/Both of these things can be true” into a mantra that could put a host of self-help gurus out of work. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker generally responded well, saying that at its best, the album offers blunt, questing and decisive music bu… Jeremy Winograd, Protomartyr’s sound is forged from the bones of punk and the blood of indie rock. But ‘American Life’ also feels like an unnecessary sequel, a ‘Men In Black II’, made because hell, if it ain’t broke… And that’s just the trouble with Madonna these days. It’s darker, heavier fare for HAIM, for sure—a summer party record for a troubled summer. What makes Evermore an essential addition to her catalog is her willingness to tell others’ stories with the same insight and compassion with which she’s always told her own. In other words, it’s profoundly truthful but its audience is limited by design. Throughout, the spare use of samples—at least by the Avalanches’s standards—serves as a springboard for the album’s dreamy, imaginative atmosphere. That makes the songwriting a bit riskier than on Folklore, and not all of those risks pay off. The album’s opening track, “Willow,” nods to the contemporary hip-hop inflections of 2017’s Reputation, with its emphasis on the natural rhythm of its language and salty “That’s my man” rejoinder. You’d never even know the same artist made both records. In melding traditional hip-hop form with just the right amount of modern trap verve, Limbo makes the case for Aminé, if not as the next great rapper, then as a pop-rap workhorse. Last two Madonna albums have been really disappointing (Confessions and Hard Candy). But she should have known what she was doing when she decided to write, record, produce, and release it. Anyway, MadonnaRocks, man! Lyrically, Madonna delves into questioning her "American life". In a sense, they’re a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity across time, how the particularities of current outcomes couldn’t have taken place without the random people and events that preceded them. The Detroit four-piece delivers heady lyrics with an ironic detachment in the vein of Destroyer and the Mountain Goats, while the blistering noise and distorted intensity of their music brings to mind Sonic Youth and early Sleater-Kinney. ... “American Life” is the ninth studio album by Madonna. Swift considers a casual, home-for-the-holidays hook-up with an ex on “‘Tis the Damn Season,” undercutting the bitterness of a years-past hurt with a pragmatism that dispenses with niceties and nostalgia. In the original unreleased version of the video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, Madonna and a band of unconventional beauties storm a fashion show that includes models dressed in military garb and gas masks, Middle Eastern children modestly strutting their stuff, video screens depicting scenes from war, and limbless soldiers trailing blood down the catwalk. Following up “American Life” with “Hollywood” was nearly as ballsy: “Music stations always play the same songs/I’m bored with the concept of right and wrong,” Madge sings during the bridge before declaring that “this bird has flown” and instructing her audience to “flip the station, change the channel.” Likewise, she rejects tabloid culture’s “social disease” on “Nobody Knows Me,” denouncing both TV and magazines. As he bares his vulnerabilities more nakedly than he ever has before, Baby manages a thrilling gear shift in each of the verses to up the ante in intensity, accelerating melody and rhythmic discipline. Charli offers a string of charming XCX-isms (“Aeroplane, you are so fly/Singin’ songs by Jeremih”) before her exhilaration explodes like confetti into heavily processed exclamations (“Everything about you/Everything about you”) and ebullient trance synths. But I bet it doesnt hurt that i think Madonna is a self-righteous hypocritical bitch....ah well n/r. But they’re unrepresentative of a tape that’s entirely a pose. Label: Republic Release Date: December 11, 2020 Buy: Amazon. From the moment that the opening track, “Kawasaki Backflip,” bursts into its full-band glory, the album never slows down or backs off from the Detroit group’s loud, crunchy, anthemic style. Or "Music"? Madonna couldn’t possibly have intended to make a pop album. BY ALAN BENNETT ILAGAN The most surprising thing about American Life, Madonna’s new album, is that it isn’t the incendiary piece of anti‐war sentiment we have been led to believe through Madonna and her collaborators (chiefly Mirwais who co-helmed much of 2000’s Music and 2003’s underrated American Life) recorded in several different countries, marrying genres as … MADONNA ‐ ‘AMERICAN LIFE’ – ALBUM REVIEW. Funeral makes the case that Wayne doesn’t need that gestation period—just producers who can meet him on his level and inspire the kind of dazzlingly dizzy flows that once made his “best rapper alive” claims more than credible. Just as the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed who we are at our cores, both good and bad, the best albums of 2020—some created prior to the crisis—reflect the simmering tensions that have been roiling beneath the surface of American life for years, if not decades. What he achieves is something closer to Scott’s crowd-pleaser than the untouchable grandeur of West’s album, but Wunna occasionally manages strokes of ingenuity. “I grew up ‘round drugs, sex, and violence,” he tosses off on “Slidin.” 21’s dark, foreboding presence and tone are borne of an early acceptance of death’s omnipresence and randomness; he lays down spiky bars with a sneering swagger but also a pointed humbleness. This summer, Madonna turns 25, but 2008 also marks the fifth anniversary of a wholly different Madonna album, one that couldn’t possibly be any further removed from that scrappy debut: American Life. Most of the time, it’s not possible to distinguish where the electronica ends and the rock n’ roll begins—which is as it was intended. Like many of the things we used to argue about in an ever more democratized and genre-fluid music world, there no longer seems to be any need to pick a side. “You booked the night train for a reason/So you could sit there in this hurt” is an astonishing, truly literary opening line, and she spends the following three minutes naming that hurt in unflinching detail and outlining her culpability for having caused it. It was her first and, to date, only flop, scanning less than a million copies despite its platinum certification and sporting no hits besides the forward-thinking Bond theme “Die Another Day,” which cracked the Top 10 the previous fall and was—dubiously, at least it seemed at the time—tacked onto the track list in a move that ultimately insured that American Life wouldn’t be Madonna’s only hitless album. The album proves that he can keep pace with his contemporaries while drawing on the history of the genre in ways many of today’s innovators are unconcerned with engaging. III—hip-hop, reggae, folk, heartland rock, and dance—HAIM has created an album that’s defined not just by exploration, but by their strong sense of individuality. Throughout, Daveed Diggs’s dramatic, almost spoken-word delivery takes dominion over these riveting, unforgiving instrumentals. Review: Monster Hunter Lacks the B-Movie Spark of Paul W.S. McHale’s latest easily takes the cake for the funniest rap album of the year, as she strings together vivid imagery with wry observations from a perch of satisfaction (“This reminds me of the time I realized I’m that bitch/It was a beautiful day birds was chirpin’ and shit,” she reminisces on “Out My Window”). American Life is a folk album in the purest definition of the term—and it’s reflected right in the title. Winograd, While there’s plenty of genre-hopping on Women in Music Pt. I certainly wouldn't knock Music though! Madonna: American Life (CD, Album, Enh) Maverick, Warner Bros. Records: 48439-2: Hong Kong: 2003: Sell This Version: Recommendations Reviews Show All 4 Reviews . Madonna and her fashion terrorists pummel the paparazzi with water from an industrial-size hose while the audience continues to hoot and holler at the spectacle: The backlash Madonna likely would have suffered from an already-emboldened and not-so-far-anymore far right would have made the whipping she endured following Sex seem like harmless roleplay, but the video turned a trite, self-aggrandizing, and often awkward song about privilege into a startling comment on the obscenity of war and materialism—one that would have undoubtedly been looked back on as brave. Some have claimed that’s why the singer’s image and marketing has always been the focus of her career, at the cost of fairly assessing the actual music, but I think this fact only strengthens the case for Madonna as a true artist. American Life doesn't sound like any of her other albums. Lyons-Burt, A sorely underrated treasure of underground NYC rap for the better part of a decade, Junglepussy, a.k.a. ... (related review, Page 36). Poppy’s first two efforts were defined by bubble-gum pop filtered through the lens of J- and K-pop, which, in turn, are influenced by American music, resulting in a re-translated sound that felt at once familiar and alien. Though not as technically jaw-dropping as their 2000 debut, Since I Left You, or its belated follow-up, 2016’s Wildflower, both of which are said to employ upward of 3,500 samples apiece, We Will Always Love You is undoubtedly the Avalanches’s most conceptual effort to date. References to philosophical concepts and pre-Enlightenment literature could be considered over-thought if Protomartyr’s sound didn’t possess such raw immediacy. The late Michel Colombier’s gorgeous string arrangements are sliced and diced. Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. Though something deeper and darker has taken root in this indie-rock wunderkind, her melodic grip remains the backbone of her music. Label: Maverick Release Date: April 22, 2003 Buy: Amazon, Review: Feral Children, Second to the Last Frontier. Neil Tennant once dreamt of “Ché Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat”, well, with her latest image as a kohl-eyed Ché-alike it seems that ’American Life’ sees Tennant’s dream become, at least partially, a reality (okay, there’s no Debussy, maybe next time). What about "Ray Of Light"? Album Rating: 2.0I can't believe this is the highest-rated Madonna on this album. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for American Life - Madonna on AllMusic - 2003 - American Life is an album performed by a vocalist… Preoccupied with these bygone messages and dispatches, We Will Always Love You is also entranced by the prospect of resurrecting forgotten ghosts. The night began with an ominous recitation from the Book of Revelation, and then Madonna emerged in a sparkly bustier for ''Vogue,'' a tribute to New York night life … Madonna by this time was a brave American Expatriate living in England because of the sexual shenanigans and Christian Evangelical Dictatorship of Presidents Clinton and Bush 2. In retrospect, American Life —the last truly ambitious album that Madonna has made—also marked the end of a very important phase of her career. I really think the true 21st century classic by Madonna is "Confessions on a Dancefloor", but this one definitely features some os the top pop-music experiences of our century too. MADONNA, American Life (Warner) Having a go at fortysomething Madonna … In terms of subject matter, My Turn is Jones’s most romance- and family-focused effort to date, though the pull of intoxicants and sparkling jewelry is never too far off. Hiatt spent both albums seeking solace and guidance for her troubles everywhere she could, from family to her favorite records. Even as Allison delves deep into heavy subject matter, she usually sounds more angsty than haunted. Aside from “Holiday,” a song she didn’t write, Madonna seemed more interested in ruling the world than saving it back in 1983; two decades later, American Life found the pop singer at her most political, confrontational, and to many, abrasive. (Incidentally, “Hollywood” became Madonna’s first single in 20 years not to crack the Billboard Hot 100.). As hip-hop’s capacity for expression from all corners widens, its popularity and proliferation only intensifies. Or at least I thought so. I'm here to tell you why AMERICAN LIFE is a great album, and one of Madonna's best. Winograd, The 1975’s long-awaited Notes on a Conditional Form is sort of a mixed bag by design, a collection of songs that finds the band trying on all manner of genres and styles with a tracklisting that often feels more like a playlist than an album. The track is a country-inflected kiss-off that obliquely references the singer’s history of miscarriages: “I’m glad I never, ever had a baby with you/’Cause you can’t own nothing unless there’s something in it for you,” she sneers, locating a cynical silver lining amid profound trauma and loss. Anna Richmond, Only a year and a half after an album that took the better portion of a decade to make good on its announced release, Lil Wayne’s Funeral arrived with little to no fanfare, casually staking its claim as one of the rapper’s best. Walsh, Enter to Win The Beach House on Blu-ray, a Paramount Movies Holiday Prizepack, and More, Our Preview Section Is Your Most Complete Guide for All the Films Coming Your Way Soon, Review: Greenland Is Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Gerard Butler Disaster Movie, We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal. Guitars stutter. Which is fine when she delivers that angst with such melodic verve. Album Rating: 5.0I hate how much this album is disregarded. on KL Studio Classics Blu-ray, Blu-ray Review: Robert Bresson’s Mouchette on the Criterion Collection, Review: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros on the Criterion Collection, Blu-ray Review: Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running on Arrow Video, In Ivo van Hove’s Hands, West Side Story’s Actors Are Mice in A Cinematic Maze, Review: Hamlet at St. Ann’s Warehouse Is a Triumph of Production Over Performance, Confessions of a Drag Legend: Charles Busch on The Confession of Lily Dare, Review: Timon of Athens Takes Arms Against the Ravages of Wealth, Under the Radar 2020: The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes, Not I, & More, A Fresco of Departures, Real and Imagined: Abdellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying, Adam Nayman’s Paul Thomas Anderson Masterworks Honors PTA’s Ambiguities, Bestiary Poetically Raises a Coming-of-Age Tale to the Level of Myth, Glenn Kenny’s Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas Is a Stellar Anatomy of a Film, The Appointment Is a Bitterly Comic Unburdening of a Conscience. Its second edition, released one week later under the name Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World 2, is a spilling over of the material that didn’t make it onto the first cut, that while more incongruous, contains some of the most lively material on either part (“Moon Relate” being a deeply strange highlight). The album is a testament to the artist’s willingness to take risks and her refusal to stay inside her comfort zone. Lyons-Burt, Soccer Mommy’s Color Theory is slicker than 2018’s Clean, and beefed up by Sophie Allison’s touring band, the album’s sparkling guitars and restrained studio sheen bring her sound closer to familiar ‘90s alt-rock touchstones like Built to Spill and Sebadoh. Eric Mason, With Walking Proof, Lilly Hiatt has emerged wiser and more confident than ever, and appears to have put some of her problems behind her. “Emotionally Scarred” is Lil Baby’s unlikely triumph of bluesy melodrama. Billboard's Michael Paoletta noted the lyrical differences from past albums such as Ray of Light positively, saying "American Life relies less on spiritual introspection and more on woman-in-the-mirror confrontation." That might sound incoherent, but it serves as a bold, deftly executed mission statement. Winograd, Even for a rapper with as much skill and promise as Lil Baby, “Emotionally Scarred” marks a turning point, from an almost blinkered purveyor of party and kingpin yarns to one of more soulful ruminations. Most of American Life was co-written and produced by Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who lent the album an often ugly, lo-fi demo quality and, following his superior work on 2000’s Music, made Madonna’s ever-evolving sound seem suddenly stunted. The numbly glitchy, piano- and beat-driven song leads to a final third that carries some of the most sincere self-reflection that Healy has ever recorded, delivered without his usual winking irony. The album is entranced by the prospect of resurrecting forgotten ghosts. “Concrete” shifts abruptly between tempos and genres, between commercial jingles and Beatles-esque chamber-pop, all shot through with roaring electric guitar riffs. Yeah, there's a few decent tracks: "Love Profusion" is a great electropop track, and "Die Another Day" has a great electro-dance beat along with a hook that sounds like nothing else on the album. The worldwide singles were Die Another Day, American Life, Hollywood, Nobody Knows Me, Nothing Fails, Love Profusion and Mother and Father. kaysworld March 29, 2020 Report; I actually thing this album was a weird mix of classic Madonna sounds and mainstream melodies but some tracks were not much of my thing The fact that she still managed to produce some of her most acclaimed songs to date might just stick in the craw of those who saw their willpower and productivity evaporate during the pandemic. Winograd, To call “Claws” peak Charli XCX would be too easy. The band’s catalog is strewn with such musings about life as a fulfillment of a disappointing fate, and they’ve perfected that obsession here. Taken all together, Eternal Atake’s saturation of cultural references, endless interpolations of other songs (including Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”), and transportive, Day-Glo aesthetics congeal into something like an Afrofuturist statement piece. The opening track of the Portland-based rapper’s second studio album, Limbo, likewise sets the stage with a chopped soul sample-driven beat and telling references to hip-hop’s past (Jay-Z) and future (Rico Nasty), while unfurling some of the moral concerns plaguing his thoughts. As our list of the best songs of 2020 proves, you could have easily had it both ways. Some of these cronies (Gunna, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug) appear alongside him, but never extraneously. The surprisingly moving track begins with a burst of crackling literary scene-setting—“A love letter came through the mail, it said ‘I miss you’”—before Baby gets cagey and starts bragging as a kind of defense mechanism, a pretense he then heartbreakingly trades for the chorus’s confession of his own hurt and the blows that have shaped him. Art without cultural context is like war without a political one. You’re unlikely to hear these songs on Kroger’s in-store playlist—on which 2017’s “Little of Your Love” seems to have become a permanent staple alongside the likes of “Eye of the Tiger” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”—but these songs are riskier, and ultimately that much more rewarding. Those are definitely Madonna's best albums. The unique circumstances we all found ourselves in this year—Covid-19, racial and political strife—threw an age-old debate over the role of pop music in our everyday lives into sharp relief. I believe more singles were released from this album than any other. Madonna ‘American Life’ album review – 10th April 2003, by Alan Braidwood BBC Radio 1. This album is taking the electronic vibe and the acoustic vibe from previous albums and combining them together to create a brand new … The viral “Safaera” is the best example of this audacious streak: Over an episodic five minutes, the track pivots between eight exhilarating beat changes, simulating the head-spinning pyrotechnics of a DJ club mix. It’s an ambitious undertaking fit for such meticulous cratediggers as Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi. While other songs on How I’m Feeling Now reach deeper into Charli’s psyche, “Claws” declares and shares her joy in a time when we really need it. Lyons-Burt, With his inclination for pairing heartbroken lyrics with fiery dembow beats, Bad Bunny has finetuned the art of crying in the club. It’s Metro Boomin, though, who elevates 21’s stories to something approaching greatness. 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