FrozenPenguin

Was the "American Life" Album the reason for....

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26 minutes ago, madgefan said:

Yeah, right. I enjoy COADF as a whole and had a blast playing it when I was 15 but Madonna played it safe 100% and the project was not exceptionally original... until the Live to Tell performance from the world tour came out. I believe that was the only fearless thing she ever did between 2005 and 2007. 

Blah blah blah!! So what if she played it safe?? Does every freakin' Madonna album have to be full of controversy and chaos?  No. it. does. not! Why can't she just produce a fun dance record? That's what she said she wanted to do from the get-go.  But this isn't just any dance record. I agree with @Fighterthe lyrics are very sophisticated and full of meaning.  They are hardly dance tunes like "Holiday" or "Lucky Star" or "Into The Groove" and/or "Where's The Party".  They have a deeper meaning to them than just dancing and having fun.  So if you call this a "SAFE" album, then all by means I love it dammit!  It's a great record and it produce a fun ass tour as well.

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5 minutes ago, madgefan said:

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Exactly!!  SERIOUSLY!  I was thinking the same thing about your post.  Nit picking everything to death.  Just chill and enjoy the music!!!! 

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2 hours ago, madgefan said:

Yeah, right. I enjoy COADF as a whole and had a blast playing it when I was 15 but Madonna played it safe 100% and the project was not exceptionally original... until the Live to Tell performance from the world tour came out. I believe that was the only fearless thing she ever did between 2005 and 2007. 

I think it's one of Madonna's most original and subtly layered albums. Both the imagery and the music.

BUT

I feel like I've disagreed about your same opinions about the album before, I replied before realising it was you lol. Anyways :cryin: if you don't like it, you don't like it. 

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9 hours ago, Liam said:

Exactly!!  SERIOUSLY!  I was thinking the same thing about your post.  Nit picking everything to death.  Just chill and enjoy the music!!!! 

@Liam this is a madonna forum thats what we all do...nit pick. :lol:

We just don't all agree on our individual nitpicking.  keeps it interesting.  But bottom line, yeah, remember to chill & enjoy the music! 

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20 hours ago, Liam said:

I love that song too.  I prefer the less polished rock demo version the best.  But this is an example of Madonna always throwing in these fun and silly songs into her albums.  Certainly, the lyrics come off a bit dorky, but you can tell she really loves NYC and always will. 

My friends and I have always said Rocco wrote than line.

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9 hours ago, Fighter said:

??? why can't he post his wrong opinion? Chill:cryin:

Never once did I say he couldn't!!  I'm perfectly chilled, thanks.  :Madonna025:

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I think sometimes the past becomes cloudy after a while. No album is a safe bet in this world. Especially an electro future disco album when American radio was nothing but R&B. Literally nothing but. And although Confessions is a classic now, I remember the first time i heard it, and it was quite strange to my ears. Even AFTER American Life. Confessions isn't just cookie cutter dance music. Hung Up (the lead single) basically fades all music out in the middle except for a muted buzzing baseline and a ticking clock. Madonna reciting the word sorry in 10 different languages was ... weird. The production was weird. Get Together ... The song doesn't even start till almost the 1 minute mark when they always say... if you're wanting to have a hit you need to hit the chorus before the 1 minute mark. Her vocal is also so close to the listener in the verses on that track. Obviously the record has no flaws in my eyes now, but the first time I heard it I remember how foreign it was, and the last thing I would call it would be safe or a sure thing. 

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35 minutes ago, RUADJAI said:

I think sometimes the past becomes cloudy after a while. No album is a safe bet in this world. Especially an electro future disco album when American radio was nothing but R&B. Literally nothing but. And although Confessions is a classic now, I remember the first time i heard it, and it was quite strange to my ears. Even AFTER American Life. Confessions isn't just cookie cutter dance music. Hung Up (the lead single) basically fades all music out in the middle except for a muted buzzing baseline and a ticking clock. Madonna reciting the word sorry in 10 different languages was ... weird. The production was weird. Get Together ... The song doesn't even start till almost the 1 minute mark when they always say... if you're wanting to have a hit you need to hit the chorus before the 1 minute mark. Her vocal is also so close to the listener in the verses on that track. Obviously the record has no flaws in my eyes now, but the first time I heard it I remember how foreign it was, and the last thing I would call it would be safe or a sure thing. 

Yeah, and some may call it "safe", but no one else was putting out music like that at the time. To me, it's not your typical dance record.  She must've done something right because it was her last biggest selling record as well. Living in the U.S., it didn't seem so, but looking at the sales, it didn't do too bad for her.  No, it really didn't have any controversial baggage to it, but it is a pure fun album.  Her and Stuart really produced a winner here.  He's one producer I'd love for her to work with again. Though, too much time may have past, so I'm not sure that same magic will be captured again. 

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It's not one of my favorite records but I do see the argument of "damage control" after the string of misfortunes that happened with the American Life/Swept Away era and I think Re-Invention as due to the non-classic approach of the previous tour.

Confessions is a polished, unapologetic dance record that she really needed to do at the time and she really as ahead of the dance craze that erupted with Britney's "Blackout" and Gaga's debut records. "Hung Up" was definitely the song that got me hooked on her and interested in her back catalog and being in the eighth grade at the time, a lot of kids loved the singles she put mostly "Sorry" and "Jump" since the latter was in "The Devil Wears Prada."

If anything, COADF is like what Light Years/Fever was to Kylie.

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As a damage control album, I prefer Bedtime Stories over Confessions On A Dancefloor. The 1994' one just embraced the soundof that time (what was selling) so its musical identity feels natural and the lyrics' sadness are a reaction to the backlash, while the latter sounds artificial by recycling American Life message and being a back-to-roots album from a singer who claims to always look forward. Just my opinion.

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American Life could've have landed and carried itself better had the singles been arranged better. Die Another Day was fine, coming ahead of the album. It hit pretty solid on the charts. Nobody Knows Me would have been the actual hit I think. Then Hollywood. I don't know if Nothing Fails or Love Profusion would've had a chance to chart whatsoever. I love them, and appreciate them being picked as singles, but they didn't stir anyw water really. But American Life's weak splash did the rest of the singles in. I'd have waited to release American Life until the anti-war sentiment started moving. That'd been her cue to push the video and song.

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AL era was a complete mess, thank god RIT came and saved everything.

The aesthetic was totally misunderstanding, the lead single was bad, the "video gate" , the massive flop of the subsequent singles and the backlash she received from the press. 

Don't forget Madonna was coming off of a new golden age (1998-2001), the drop in popularity was unbelievable.

It was a shame, as AL is a great album, despite not being one of my favs

COADF was a return to form, it was a new reinvention and it became an accomplished era. It was Madonnamania all over again.

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On 5/25/2018 at 3:46 PM, Liam said:

No, I think she just went into the studio with Stuart Price who she already worked with  and wanted to create something she can dance to.  I don't believe she was trying to do damage control.  After all, "I'm Going To Tell You A Secret" featuring songs from the AL era, came out nearly at the same time as Confessions on a Dancefloor. 

Exactly what i was thinking - SP is the bomb - her best musical director after Pat Leonard :)

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5 hours ago, gafuller said:

I don't know if Nothing Fails or Love Profusion would've had a chance to chart whatsoever. I love them, and appreciate them being picked as singles, but they didn't stir anyw water really.

She always had great no. 1 singles with her ballads in the US: Crazy for you, TUTBMP, Take a bow. So Nothing fails could have been another one, if well promoted. But it didn't even received a video! It suffered the bad consequences of the AL video withdrawal, still one of her best, which also marked her loss of interest in tge music video form. You may not like AL as a song (I really like verse and chorus), but the original video is fantastic. Great art. Pity...

Maybe RIT was "damage control" after AL. As Arianne Phillips once said, it's the "hits tour"... M rediscovering her back catalogue, she knew she would please many.

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1 hour ago, Enrico said:

She always had great no. 1 singles with her ballads in the US: Crazy for you, TUTBMP, Take a bow. So Nothing fails could have been another one, if well promoted. But it didn't even received a video! It suffered the bad consequences of the AL video withdrawal, still one of her best, which also marked her loss of interest in tge music video form. You may not like AL as a song (I really like verse and chorus), but the original video is fantastic. Great art. Pity...

Maybe RIT was "damage control" after AL. As Arianne Phillips once said, it's the "hits tour"... M rediscovering her back catalogue, she knew she would please many.

I Anerican Life and it's original video. I just don't think they were released timely. Or maybe she just should have not withdrawn. Left it alone, accrue the damage that it had picked up, and see if it worked itself out on its own.

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2 hours ago, gafuller said:

I Anerican Life and it's original video. I just don't think they were released timely. Or maybe she just should have not withdrawn. Left it alone, accrue the damage that it had picked up, and see if it worked itself out on its own.

 

9 hours ago, gafuller said:

American Life could've have landed and carried itself better had the singles been arranged better. Die Another Day was fine, coming ahead of the album. It hit pretty solid on the charts. Nobody Knows Me would have been the actual hit I think. Then Hollywood. I don't know if Nothing Fails or Love Profusion would've had a chance to chart whatsoever. I love them, and appreciate them being picked as singles, but they didn't stir anyw water really. But American Life's weak splash did the rest of the singles in. I'd have waited to release American Life until the anti-war sentiment started moving. That'd been her cue to push the video and song.

The video for "American Life" was already filmed and plans were moving forward for all this to be released while the U.S. finally decided to go to war.  Prior to it, a lot of people were on the fence about the war.  Even some officials in the U.S. government.  However, some conservative media (Fox News) went ahead and made a big deal about her original American Life video, even though she decided to pull it.  Bill O'Reilly (who was an extremely popular and influential Fox Anchor) tore her to shreds over it anyway, rather recognize she pulled it out of respect of the soldiers going to war.

It was a tough time for any artist at the time. Dixie Chicks were pretty much blacklisted and were issued death threats from people due to lead singer's comments about George Bus over seas a few months prior.  Madonna did go into the promotion more light hearted once the album was released, but everyone interviewing her, wanted her to chime in about the political climate.  The album's artwork and the pulled video was constantly brought up as if it was Anti-American.  Yet, she still did a number of promotional performances to show the album wasn't such. 

People made up their mind before listening to the album.  And I agree, the artwork of the album really didn't help Madonna's case, but she did do a lot of promotion to try to explain her position and people weren't really listening.

I don't think she suffered much damage.  It really could have been far worse. The fact is; the title track was not the best song to lead with.  I think "Nothing Fails" would have been a better way to kick off the album since that embodied what the album was more about than the assumed Anti-American sentiment.  Of course, an awesome video for the song would have been needed.  

Radio in the U.S. was already playing her less and less.  I had seen that decline starting with RAY OF LIGHT album.  Interestingly enough, "Beautiful Stranger", "Music", and "Die Another Day" all did get fair radio play in the U.S. 

The album probably would have come off better if the artwork and focus on the singles weren't focused on the political climate. 

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3 minutes ago, GetNasty said:

@LiamI think Love Profusion should’ve been the lead. It is the most radio friendly track in AL.

Love that song.  It's quite universal, so it may have worked. I think the same as "Nothing Fails" too. 

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I see where she was going with releasing AL as the first single but the song is really divisive among fans and the GP. Some love it, hate it, don't understand it, don't get the humor and cringe at her rap attempt. The fact that video was pulled and we got the horrid "flags" version was even worse. The video and the song go hand in hand and it's definitely pure Madonna and one of her balliest videos. Though, I do think the record gets categorized at begin a political record when it's not, similar to Erotica being seen as "the SEX record."

I do think a song like Intervention, Nothing Fails or even Nobody Knows Me would have been a strongest choice. Maybe even Hollywood coming off the Music/DWT/GHV2 success.

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I still think if the song AL didnt exist and she went for something less political as the first single(maybe hollywood or love profusion) and ignored the whole "war" artwork this album would have done better - personally i think the song AL is garbage - it has no artistic merit and is probably one of her worst singles in her whole career but its all coulda would shoulda isnt it - im sure fans on here will shoot me down for saying that about AL but i couldn't give a shit really - its still an interesting chapter in her amazing career :))

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