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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April, 2003, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
American Life: Your views
Madonna's next project is writing children's books
American Life is Madonna's first album featuring new material since Music was released three years ago.

It includes James Bond theme tune, Die Another Day, and controversial single American Life.

BBC News Online's Ian Youngs said: "She says that every record she makes is a progression - but this album gives a worrying sense that she is now moving backwards."

But what do you think?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I think American Life has some of the most personal songs she has ever done. TRUE fans of Madonna will love it. I hope she goes on tour with this album.
Michael, England

Don't let the American Life single put you off, it's by far the weakest link on an otherwise terrifically produced album (although seems to work much better when placed on this album).

I fail to understand the harsh criticism from certain quarters. Tell me another of Madonna's contemporaries, let alone pop rivals that can clain to make music as inventive yet melodic as this. A a few listens it ingrains itself and you find yourself humming. Stand out tracks have to be Hollywood, Love Profusion and Nothing Fails.

On the whole, this is a much more of a complete album than Music and an excellent starting point for her next 20 years in the industry. I await her next album with baited breath!
Rob, UK

I did not like it at all. I think she put this album together at the last minute to coincide with and take advantage of the current situation. She flopped on her last movie, and so she is desperate to remain competitive with all the younger and more talented divas out there. She should retire! I gave her CD away...
Joseph, Puerto Rico

What a great emotional journey to take listening to all of her songs. I will never tire of her, and what she has to share
Stephen, England
Madonna's new album is another brilliant success. Admittedly, not all of the songs are smash hits; however, in defence of Madonna, there are very few albums, regardless of artist, that have such a track record. Nevertheless, the album has a catchy and modern feel, and indeed, some great songs, including Love Profusion and Nobody Knows Me. This album deserves to be given a chance. Perhaps listen to the songs a few more times than only once, many will grow on you.
Marc, Canada

I think it really says something when critics hate this album so much while the people and fans seem to love or like it. Critics don't have real jobs, they just fill in the blank spots on slow news days. I think more people should question the need and the value of entertainment critics. We don't need them. We're perfectly capable of making our own opinions - and that should have you shaking in your boots!
John, USA

I bought the CD yesterday and only got half way through it. None of the tracks have grabbed me, especially the all important opener American Life. Perhaps the CD will grow on me, however I went to bed a little saddened and longing for the day Madonna used to bring out exciting, exhilarating songs that you couldn't wait to hear again!! She's still an icon and fabulous, however I think she seriously needs to reveiw her musical/artistic direction.
Anon, UK England

I love Madonna. But she has no business rapping.. What a joke. It reminds me of the time David Hasselhoff and Jennifer Love Hewitt thought they were recording artists and made albums. If you want to find something to spend all that extra money and time you have - spend it on a charity. Please. I think it's time for her to concentrate on being a mum.
Xian, USA

I have listened to the album 6 times now. It really is super. What a great emotional journey to take listening to all of her songs. I will never tire of her, and what she has to share.
Stephen, America

I'm confused by this album. Hollywood and Nothing Fails are great pop songs, Love Profusion and Intervention also good. Other tracks less successful, particularly the confessional ones (Mother and Father, Nobody Knows Me, I'm So Stupid).

However, when Don't Tell Me came out I thought it was terrible, now I think it's the best thing she's ever done. I bought Lucky Star when I was 11 and Madonna's been with me ever since. American Life is an experimental album and I reckon it's a grower. So don't give up on it yet!
Tara Hanks, UK

This is the best album since Erotic, full of electro pop and harsh beats, but with more of an edge and a sentimental side than music. Ground breaking stuff. Madonna - you're a genius
Gary Bowden, UK

Madonna rapping on her latest single is like hearing your mum trying to be Missy Elliot
T Carr, London
The album is truly amazing, showing Madonna still have what it takes to be contemporary and ground breaking. This is a much softer sound, and emotionally charged. Nothing Fails has to be one of the best Madonna tracks ever.
Stuart Borley, England

If she'd stayed uptempo and materialistic we'd all be saying "How pathetic! Why doesn't she act her age?" So she acts her age and everyone thinks she's lost her ability to reinvent herself. I suppose since you can't please everyone, you may as well just please yourself. I actually relate to a lot of what she sings about... Maybe this time around she wants us to think instead of just dance? (In the end, I do have to say, it does seem a little too artsy).
Mark, USA

I downloaded the CD in the form of pirated mp3s before the official release date. Having listened to the "songs", the files are no longer on my hard drive. She should be paying us to listen to it!
Nick Stutley, UK

I excitedly bought a copy, the queen of pop releasing another album and all that - utter trash, that's what it is.
Sambird, UK

Madonna rapping on her latest single is like hearing your mum trying to be Missy Elliot.
T.Carr, London, UK

I am a fan of Madonna but her latest two songs have been terrible. Die Another Day is by far the worst song of the Bond series. Maybe the fact that the same producor has been used on this album as the last means that it has grown old with me, I don't know.

What I do know is that she always has something to say and that is important in the music industry, she has input into her songs and her look, she can reinvent herself for the time, showing herself to be a good business woman.

I think she is "a relic" is some ways because she did sum up some feelings at moments through the eighties but the fact that she is still doing it means that she is still "relevant", just having a bad music stage, in my opinion.
David Simpson, Durham, UK

American Life is THE best album she has made since Like a Prayer 14 years ago
Gary Richardson, UK
I admire Madonna for having lasted so long with so many people out to get her - I loved her 1980s material and some of the early 90s (not Erotica). Ray of light wasn't bad, but the album Music, the cover of American Pie and this latest single are awful.
Daniel, UK

Having had a listen to the new album, I have to say there is nothing new on this album. It sounds like Music Part 2. I wasn't deeply thrilled with Music and this album is redundant. I've bought all of her albums since the she began, but I will have to pass on this one. I don't think she's done anything outstanding on these two albums and really needs to think about a new direction. What happened to reinvention, or does that just pertain to her image? Also, the lyrics on American Life make me want to cringe. How old is she? They sound like an 18-year-old wrote them. br />Anon, USA

I have just finished listening to her new CD American Life. A pure masterpiece. She has no competitor. Madonna is the goddess. And she looks so young, so pure, so sexy.
Didier, Belgium

OK, for the first time ever, she's gone out of the track. Die Another Day and American Life are far from good. But try to listen to the whole album... Hollywood, Nobody Knows me and Easy Ride are gonna be the first tracks for her next greatest hits collection!
Peter Roddick, Brazil

It's true that with every release she has made, there has been a plathora of advertising, and shows, and publicity... which is normal, because that is how you promote an album. Madonna is definitely still relevant. She is the only female innovator and musician that exists. American life is a top notch album...and Madonna is still the reigning queen of pop, regardless of all the rubbish she is getting.
Rony Abdallah, london

I have just heard her latest album American Life and I see no reason why she should retire. To all of you out there, hear it. I feel it's the best piece of music that has come out after a long time. Madonna - you rule!
Ratnang Singh, India

Madonna has been written off so many times in the past that to hear journalists still doing it today makes me laugh. She is still relevant and she still has something to say. American Life is THE best album she has made since Like a Prayer 14 years ago. Her movies may not be the greatest, but her music certainly is.
Gary Richardson, United Kingdom

Sadly it seems these days she can't even spot a good bandwagon and is making music that sounds dated before it's even released
Matt Wood, Wales
Have you heard the new album? First listen to it and than criticise!!! For me she's the one in terms of creativity and reinventing her music. Listen to the new Celine Dion album, there's nothing suprising and fresh there. Then put the American Life album on! You will be amazed and thrilled at what a real artist like Madonna can do.
Piotr Glogow, Poland

OK, her new album is not much artistically but the media has always been rough with her. Critics have always bashed her if she did something wrong and praised very little if she succeeded. You don't like the album, OK. Don't go questioning her pop status.
Shahab Yunus, Pakistan

I feel that this new Madonna album is her finest piece of work. To begin with I wasn't too impressed with the single but as soon as I heard the rest of the album I was hooked. For the first time ever I have an album where I love every single track. I've got a feeling this CD will stay in my stereo for the rest of the summer (and a long time thereafter). Madonna really is the only iconic figure of our time. I hope people give this album a chance and make up their own minds. It's an absolutely stunning piece of work and deserves huge amounts of praise!
Benjamin Davis, UK

Of course Madonna is relevant. However, I just heard Madonna's whole album (50 minutes!), and what she seems to be saying on every track is that having everything does not equal happiness. She also attacks "material things" and how the media has trapped us into wanting these things. So, the question is: Why is she doing the same thing that she's preaching against? If she so hates the spotlight why not relax at her mansion instead of scheduling to appear on every single late night show there is? Her whole album says she doesn't want this hoopla, and then she goes and does exactly that while promoting it.
Asam, Canada

Don't judge the album on the first single American Life - the rap is funny and ironic, but still cringe worthy. I'm not keen on it. The album however is a nothing short of brilliant. Not as good as Ray Of Light, but far better than Music. Granted Madonna is no spring chicken, she's 45, but she's not past it and certainly not read for knitting! I say good for her.
Thomas, UK

Unfortunately, it seems that Madonna has lost her touch and indeed, her place on the throne as Queen of Pop. Music was, at best, a worthy successor to Ray of Light but didn't really tread any new ground and it seems that American Life is, once again, more of the same. What Madonna really needs to do is go back to her roots and make music that's more a reflection of her own creativity rather than jumping on bandwagons and creating music that is a reflection of current trends. Sadly it seems these days she can't even spot a good bandwagon and is making music that sounds dated before it's even released.
Matt Wood, Wales

Not as instantly accessible as Music or Ray of Light, but nonetheless a progression for Madonna
Gerry, Australia
She still looks sensational but crikey, her American Life single doesn't half stink (the faux rap bit towards the end is especially awful). Let's hope the album is better.
Steven Craig, Scotland

Music journalists never ask why Tom Jones or Mick Jagger insist on making complete fools of themselves at their ripe old (jurassic) ages! Madonna is only 44 for goodness sake! Just 'cause she happens to be a woman and a mother do you expect she stop being an artist? Anyway, I know you'll never show this message...
Michelle Vigar, Malta

Why does Madonna insist on having computerised beats behind her? Madonna's Ray of light was excellent, but since then she has stuck with safety rather than creating good music, and her current track is utter trash!!!! Continuing like this and she will have the chart sucess of Michael Jackson and that's bad!
Andrew, UK

This is Madonna's most accomplished and most adult album to date. It seems that this time she is justified to describe her work as art whereas often before it was pure pop. This sound is original but needs some getting used to. It does not have the same instant accessibility as most of her back catalogue but the growers are always the most enduring. It makes me laugh that everytime Madonna releases new music we have to go through the whole arguement of "NOW her career is over" when in reality she just gets better and better. I'm glad we still have the superstar left, the world would be so much duller without her.
Paul, London, UK

The album is absolutely genius - I bought it yesterday and listened to it five times. Although not quite Ray of Light, it is clearly better than the unrelated group of songs that made Music. It is true that repeated listening improves a Madonna album so don't expect critics to jump on it.
Kevin, Germany/UK

After only a couple of listens, two songs are really standing out, Nothing fails, and Mother and Father. Both could easily become future Madonna classics!
Sean Murray, Australia

Her new album is for sure much worse than the previous ones. But it is not so bad, it is just different and perhaps we need time to take a liking to it. Having listened to the CD for the first time I also felt disappointed.
Michal, Poland

This album is honest and catchy. Go out and get it.
Jacob Casey, USA

Not as instantly accessible as "Music" or "Ray of Light", but nonetheless a progression for Madonna. The guitars are here to stay - the vocals are warm, the songwriting is good. Nothing Fails and Easy Ride are perfect ballads. The title track is very clever both lyrically and sonically although it takes a while to get used to the rappy bit. She has definitely matured now, hence the interesting ballads, and there's still a few big pop hits for the kids (American Life, Hollywood, Mother & Father). Expect dance mixes galore for every single. It's definitely worth a listen and I don't think she need worry about losing her title.
Gerry, Australia

She used to have this originality about her songs and personality but, now she is leaning towards computerized music sounds and it's terrible!
Manny, Canada
I read the reviews and had bought the single before buying the new American Life album. I cannot see where Ian Youngs is coming from. The new album is very good indeed and quite a departure from the previous instant gratification dance tunes Madonna was so good at. There is a great balance between acoustic and electronic music and her voice has really matured.

In interviews Madonna has said that she has moved away from her ego-driven lifestyle and the American Life album demonstrates this much more than Ray of Light or Music. Great album - keep it up Madonna.
Droopy Dru, UK

This is the worst. I am embarrassed for her. She is trying to immitate the younger generation (rapping??!) in the entire album. Try again lady.
Paula, USA

Two words:very dire. I grew up on Maddy's stuff in the 80s but seriously, bleeps, burps, guitar and vocals don't constitute a song. (Were they supposed to be songs?)
Dennard Summers, US

The music has a type of simplicity - tune your guitar to open G and rock out to some Chuck Berry, add some Ray of Light-ish high frequency accents and spoken word and you have this album. Personally, I don't really like it very much, but it will probably do OK. There are a couple of new concepts in there.
Cris Nelson, US

While the new album isn't a step forward, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's one backwards. Like many critics have said, this is just an unnecessary sequel to her Music album. Yes, some of the songs aren't good, but some of them are comparable to her greatest tracks (namely Nothing Fails and Easy Ride). Of course, as long as she has the ability to push people's buttons, Madonna will never be passe, no matter what's wrong with her music.
Asam, Canada

I've been a fan of Madge's since the early 80s and have been to all her concert tours all over the world! Bought every single record ever released and loved almost everything she's done except for this piece of rubbish!

Sorry Madge, looks like you've had your day chick. Move over and let the other kids shine on through. I think it's best that you retire in the countryside with the hubby and kids!!!
Bev, Switzerland

I used to really love Madonna's music but, her latest song/album is not very good at all. To be totally honest, I turn the radio station off whenever I hear it. She used to have this originality about her songs and personality but, now she is leaning towards computerized music sounds and it's terrible!!!
Manny, Canada

I find myself enjoying most of it probably because it isn't very pop-ish
Luke, Canada
Madonna's new album is brilliant - her work is always high quality and she constantly manages to reinvent herself - she puts all the present one hit wonders to shame!
Jocelyn Lortie, UK

Madonna's American Life is her coming of age album - bitter, sweet, soulful and completely stripped of ego; another hefty dose of religious introspection and self-discovery. The album has an immensely polished and stylised sound - and for the record, her voice has never sounded so confident. Definitely an album worthy of the level of deconstruction and debate it has caused. Think Music meets Like A Prayer.
Myrddin Gwynedd, Twickenham, London

She is the best, with American Life she has opened my eyes and my heart. She rocks the world once again. Sorry guys but she is here with a brilliant album. Madonna for ever!!
Lucia, USA

She has done a great album with American Life, despite some people from BBC. Her song are full of inspiration and emotions. She's still on top and for me and for many more, American Life is the best ever and many more to come, that she will blow us away with.
Cesar, UK

I will admit - I did not like the first single American Life but after listening to the others, especially Mother and Father, I am blown away! I cannot wait till Tuesday to buy a copy
Carl, USA

Madonna needs to get a clue and leave well enough alone. This new album is quite boring, nothing like her past works. I wish her well with her writing of children's books.
Jennifer Smith, USA

I've only listened to it once so my views may change but I found it very touching in places...I don't recall being moved by a Madonna track before but some songs on this one are very emotional. You feel you get a glimpse of the real person. The production is wonderful..a great balance of acoustic and the 70s synths etc. and her voice is better than ever. A great album - I think after a few more listens when it really (hopefully) will grow! Die another Day is an amazing track as well! Easy Ride with its stupendous strings arrangements took my breath away.
Jussi, UK

Seems most reviewers are not rating this highly. I never liked Madonna but gave this a listen because of the video controversy. I find myself enjoying most of it probably because it isn't very pop-ish. One or two songs have almost laughable introspective lyrics I would expect more from an adolescent. But overall the music is great and some of the lyrics are right on time for the current state of world affairs.
Luke, Canada

The beautiful electronic ballads are among her best songs, and the album is very cohesive. I can't stop listening to it
Josh, USA
This album's the bomb! Really cools songs and she even raps. I've never wanted to buy a CD my dad would buy too, but I guess Madonna's that good! Mother and Father is the best track, American Life is the worst. Everything else is very good too.
Zack, UK

I was highly suspicious of this album, primarly because of Madonna's "anti-Americanism"...however I must confess, she has seduced my mind with a creative dissenting opinion. I dig her new album!
James Robb, New York city, USA

First of all, this is a superb album. she sounds amazing and each song really moves me. Some are dancey, some are slow and thoughtful, some are dark and some are hopeful. It is an album that makes you think.

I wish that people who judge Die Another Day would not think of it just as a Bond song. OK it was different from other Bond songs, but it is a fantastic tune, catchy and strong.

And the rap in AL...it is really tongue in cheek. She is not pretending to be "down with da hood" or whatever, she is just doing her thing.

Stop knocking her, and Ian Youngs - I don't think you have listened to the album at all. Her voice sounds better than ever, the lyrics are more thought-provoking than ever before. This is a truly personal album! Musically, it carries a lot of the Music production, but is more fresh sounding and exciting.

Quit knocking and judging her. Enjoy what she brings to the table. It is delicious.
Steven, UK

Lyrics have never been her strength, and yes, the rap sounded a bit weird. But come on, the beautiful electronic ballads are among her best songs, and the album is very cohesive. I can't stop listening to it.
Josh, USA

I am so sick of hearing how Madonna is a good business woman. Nobody calls Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton good business men and they are still around. When you hear critics hack away at Madonna there is an awful lot of sexism in what they say. She's it, the real thing. Get over yourselves.
Jim, USA

Maddy's American Life has no life. It's tired sound represents a Madonna that has finally lost her direction. Nothing cutting edge or interesting here, just forced beats and lyrics that make little sense.
Greg Glasscock, USA

As a long-term Madonna fan, there is good and not so good on this album. No bad! However, with repeated plays all of her albums have become better, so who knows?
Paul Harris, England

Whilst the album is not as high a standard as Ray Of Light, it is an improvement on Music. Madonna does still set the standard for those around her. Madge is still the queen of pop and will be for a very long time yet to come.
Alistair Cheetham, United Kingdom

This is a great record - I was worried that we were going to be given another Erotica or Bedtime Stories which I thought were both disappointing but I love this record. Some of her best songs to date are on it especially Mother and Father, Nothing Fails and Easy Ride. Her most accessible album for a non-convert. She's not playing any games with our perceptions of her on this record. There are no games with semantics, no persona to hide behind.
Jogn.G, UK

Having only listened to it a few times, I can definitely say I like it. Often with Madonna's albums I have found that I have to wait a while before I can say which songs I really like or do not like.

This album seems a bit of a continuation of Music in sound, but certainly not in her singing style, songwriting, or subject matter. All considered, it is definitely a good album.
Patrick Brice, United States

Madonna has definitely had her day. The James Bond theme tune was dire and now American Life is worse! The only reason these songs are getting airplay is because of her previous hits which were back in the 80s! She should have called it a day back then!
Jay, Ireland

This album is another gorgeous collection of catchy songs and musical experiment
Steve, USA
It's hard to know what album the critics have been reviewing, because Madonna's new one, American Life, may be her most perfect pop confection yet. Gone are the somewhat awkward chord progressions and strained vocals, in their place are super-catchy, instantly accessible choruses and classically pleasing melodies. Her voice has shed the notable but pretentious hystronics of Evita, and is smooth and clear. Yes, she's made a folk-pop album with rapping. Strange? Yes.
Steven Wong, Hong Kong

Madonna is truly amazing. Twenty years of outstanding and groundbreaking music. This album is another gorgeous collection of catchy songs and musical experiment. Beyond controversy, Madonna is also a classy songwriter.
Steve, USA

Ray of Light was a great song but her new stuff sounds pathetic! Her time has come and gone, leave your legacy alone!
Nikhil, USA/UK

Umm, Madonna is the bomb - her new album is amazing. Quit making with the fake news.
Jim Dwyer, USA

Not sure about the line "I drive my Mini Cooper" in the track American Life. I thought that was a British institution unless I have missed something here!
Nick Mottram, UK

I managed to get my hands on a copy of the album last Thursday before it is release in the UK. It's brilliant. I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's Madonna. Enough said.
Oliver Broad, UK

When I heard the title track to Madonna's new album I just knew the new album was gonna blow. Let's face it, her last album Music was mediocre at best. I was blown away when I heard the rest of the tracks on American Life. Aside from the title track it's her best album. I didn't think she could top Like a Prayer. She did. So she's still relevant to me.
Tom, U.S.A.

Madonna's dull Life story
21 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
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Madonna fights to keep pop crown
18 Apr 03  |  Entertainment

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