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  • Creator Killer: The album marked the end of Madonna's nearly 20-year streak of chart success in her native United States. It divided critics and fans for its anvilicious message and failed forays into rapping and folktronica, the songs seen as filled with Clueless Aesops that did less to satirize modern America than they did to make Madonna look like an out-of-touch celebrity complaining about First World Problems. The title track was poorly received and became her lowest-charting Top 40 hit in the US, peaking at number 37, not helped by US radio stations blacklisting her due to it coming out during the US invasion of Iraq, while its music video was so controversial that MTV pulled it at her request a day after its premiere and hastily swapped it out for a different one that was just her singing in front of a backdrop of various flags. While it didn't end her career, it still marked the point at which she went from the most daring woman in pop music to a nostalgia act who played it safe. While she has continued scoring hits worldwide and bounced back with the follow-up Confessions on a Dance Floor, she never fully recovered from the backlash in her home country, only scoring four more Top 40 hits there since thennote  and none since 2012. As Todd in the Shadows put it in his review of the album, after American Life you didn't need to have an opinion about Madonna anymore.
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  • Working Title: Ein Sof.

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