Realizing the fact that this is going to be my last Campus Times article, I reminisced back to my freshman year. The day I had my two cents but didn’t know where to put them, I was referred to the CT and from there began a four year relationship with this newspaper, starting from a freelancer and then becoming a features editor. One of the first music reviews I ever wrote for CT was Madonna’s “Music.” Being one of my idols, I have always managed to cram Madonna in the CT pages, whether it was a small quote or a huge pin-up spread, with the help of the beautiful Megha Ambati. So, it only comes natural that my last article would be this one.
Madonna returns, as she always does so shrewdly, with “American Life.” This time around she is more political and more self-conscious. But if you thought “Ray Of Light” was too experimental than you are in for a ride. While “Music” was a fluffier and poppier album, “American Life” makes Bjork sound MOR. The first single with its controversial pulled video starts the album with a boost and a confident mark.
But then you are treated with the best track on the album titled “Hollywood,” a song about superficiality and the other head of glitz and glam. Mirwais, Madonna’s co-producer on this album, masterminded the sometimes acoustic sounding ambiance of the album detailed in “Nothing Fails” and “X-Static Process.” However, this heavily electronic release contains a folk aspect – almost inventing a new genre. This electro-folk sound is not an ordinary one, it is confusing in its melody, yet satisfactory as a whole. Remember the first time you heard the intro of “Don’t Tell Me,” and you thought your CD was scratched but then you grew to love that song? Yeah, that kind of sound.
“Love Profusion” seems to be single-ready and this album also contains the James Bond theme song “Die Another Day.”
“American Life” is a genuine article of music. Speaking of the mainstream, there is nothing like it out there, unless you think of what Jewel would yodel up after a couple of electric shocks. This might be another “Erotica” – an album that is beautifully crafted but fails to achieve commercial success because of its rawer and edgier approach. Great art was never appreciated by the masses, anyway. Furthermore, this time around she is less of a lover and more of a fighter. “American Life” sees the modern-day goddess question her own spirituality, tackled issues of familial relations – as in the deliciously unique “Mother And Father” – and dissect life and celebrity. All of Madonna’s recent releases have been about her self-discovery. This is an album that records the evolution of a legend.
Al-Qatami can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.