While American Life certainly wasn't the kiss of death for Madonna, her ninth studio album did end one of the winningest streaks in the history of pop. Although the LP—which was released 15 years ago on April 21, 2003—did debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, it became the lowest-selling studio LP of her career up to that point. And the reviews were mixed at best.
The title-track lead single was one of Madonna’s first bona-fide flops, certainly by her standards. It barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 37. Even worse, it was the object of derision for her stiff, silly rap in the second half where she rhymes “latte” with “shoté” and “MINI Cooper” with “super-duper” and “trooper.” No one wants to hear Madonna rap about her lawyer, manager, agent, chef, nannies, assistant, driver, jet, trainer, butler, bodyguards, gardener and stylist. Not then, and not now. The failure of “American Life” made it hard for the album to recover with subsequent singles “Hollywood,” “Nothing Fails” and “Love Profusion” missing the Hot 100.