American Life - Madonna
American Life Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 212 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Madonna's second collaboration with French electronic producer Mirwais includes the lead single title track as well as her recent James Bond theme, "Die Another Day."
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Aside from the thumping groove of "Nobody Knows Me" and a few other bouncy beats, much of the electro style Madonna experimented with on 2000's Music has been replaced with warmer sounds and earthy touches, like acoustic guitars and a choir that comes from nowhere on "Nothing Fails."
  2. 80
    This may be the first time Madonna hasn't pushed herself to explore new ground, but at least she's chosen a good place to rest. [June 2003, p.155]
  3. All perfectly good stuff, technically excellent. But 'American Life' also feels like an unnecessary sequel, a 'Men In Black II', made because hell, if it ain't broke...
  4. Making records, it seems, may not be her strong suit anymore.
  5. 60
    American Life is revealing and diverting -- no bad things in a record -- but in the end the brow-beating, finger-wagging and psycho-babbling take their toll. [May 2003, p.86]
  6. Overall, American Life is better for what it promises than what it delivers, and it's better in theory than practice.
  7. Even modest expectations can't salvage the clunky, ponderous American Life, which fares only slightly better than "Hanky Panky" and Swept Away on her list of offenses.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 90
  2. Negative: 6 out of 90
  1. Nov 11, 2013
    Great album. It's so sad that AL is so underrated. It's full of flawless lyrics and songs.
    She also proves once again, that she is actually a
    really good singer.
    One of my favourites from The Queen of POP.
  2. Nov 11, 2013
    Amazing album! Very personal and VERY underrated by the time it was released. Critics in general tend to dismiss Madonna's ability to write very personal songs and this album is full of them. Songs like Love Profusion, Xtatic Process, Easy Ride and Nobody Knows Me shows her unmatchable talent to deliver through her music her own personal experiences in a very vivid life. Expand
  3. Mar 26, 2012
    American Life is Madonna's most underrated album. You can tell from reviews all around the web that it's a love it or hate it album. It's definitely not in-your-face pop, so I would avoid this one if you're just looking for radio-friendly material. On this album, we see Madonna at her most vulnerable. From the cynical American Life to the touching Mother and Father, Madonna takes us on a tour of her world. I applaud her guts, especially for the American Life video, which raised controversy like never before. Notable tracks: American Life, Love Profusion, Nothing Fails, X-Static Process. Expand
  4. Jun 10, 2012
    This is her best album so far....I´m not a fan at all but I have to admit that "American Life" has been criticized in a wrong way because people was focusing on lyrics or the way it was a alternative to "Music" (Which was a puzzzle/transition album) I really listen to that album nowadays and think that it is much better than her "Confession on a dance floor" (an album much more focused on the "old fashioned disco dance sound") or the ridiculous last one"MDNA (A mixture of her last successes cause of her lack of imagination....) She would have to risk herself again, as she did 10 years ago, because, without that, she will belong to the "ridiculous artist Family" (when a cousciousness generation of listeners was about to give her the musical legytimacy). Expand
  5. Oct 15, 2013
    As others have already mentioned, "American Life" is definitely one of Madonna's most under-rated albums. Often referred to as a commercial failure, that must be taken into some sort of context as I think there are thousands of artists who would kill to have a #1 album that included a Top 10 hit and seven Top 10 dance singles (FIVE of which hit #1). It may not have been up to par with other releases by Madonna, but it was still a huge success in and of itself.

    Besides two weaker songs in "Hollywood" and I'm So Stupid," the rest of the album is an incredible personal peak into the psych of the most important recording artist of all time, just not as commercially accessible as her other works due to the high-electro feel of the album.

    Definitely a love it/hate it album in Madonna's discography, but for most of us with a real appreciation of her work, this is yet another brilliant album from a musical genius and I, for one, think it's one of her strongest albums, period.
  6. Oct 24, 2013
    When Madonna released American Life in 2003, she took it as a gamble. The politically-charged video for American Life may have been taken too literally but really the album itself takes a mostly toned down approach from Music. there are still sprinklings of electronic music but some songs like Love Profusion harnesses the acoustics of the guitar. Nothing Fails serves almost as a Like a Prayer Part 2 with its soaringly moving choir. The lead single itself is not as bad as critically penned. It was the subject that mattered and I wish she had stood her ground and release the awesome video instead of puling it off air, replacing it with a dull flag-bearing video. Expand
  7. Dec 17, 2013
    Madonna's weakest effort by far. The message of this album gets lost in its pop sensibilities. Its as if her producers shied away from either being too political or too forward thinking and the result is a limp sounding record with subpar lyrics. Expand

See all 90 User Reviews