Maybe it’s a recent addiction to electronic music that has made Madonna’s new album, American Life a cheap fix, maybe it’s the acoustic guitar or perhaps it’s hearing the Queen of Pop herself rap – wait, rap?! You read that right. Just when you thought Madonna had emptied her bag of tricks, the 44-year-old mother of two has done it again. What exactly she has done remains a bit puzzling, but manages to work in trademark Madonna fashion.
The Material Girl’s journey of self-discovery has, once again, inspired her 10th and most reflective album, wherein she relates all she has learned in her rocket to fame to the outside world. This album is not as much a work of musical genius as it is a bookmark of current American pop culture.
In a society suffocating with bling-bling, soy lattes, Mini Coopers, and reality television, Madonna’s latest work strives to make a statement about American materialism and her search for personal meaning within it all.
The album’s title track and current single sums up the overall feeling and sound of her entire album. Diluted electronic beats built around acoustic guitar-driven tabs transport the listener to the posh Hollywood club’s dance floor while the lyrics repeat, “Do I have to change my name?/ Will it get me far?/ Should I loose some weight?/ Am I gonna be a star?” In “I’m So Stupid,” more finely tuned, drawn out vocals reminiscent of indie rock goddess Liz Phair flow in perfect balance with guitars and electronic beats.
Still, Madonna’s overall message seems a little ironic, considering her bold statements poke fun at the society that bolstered her to the international icon she is today. However, Madonna continues to show her audience that she will not shy from controversy all while proving that growing older only means growing wiser (and better looking, apparently). Alongside many of the cultural benchmarks she prods, Madonna will always remain a defining symbol of American life.
[Kami Shallenberger is currently in the studio, laying down tracks on her own rap album. Word.]