15 Years with American Life
Madonna released her ninth studio album 15 years ago today, April 22, 2003.
Her second album to carry a Parental Advisory sticker after 1992’s Erotica, American Life was entirely produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, marking their second collaboration after Music. Perfectly embodying the sense of rebellion of the record, the album and first single artworks were created by French designers M/M Paris using images from the dedicated photoshoot by Craig McDean with Madonna sporting her iconic brunette hairdo.
The eponymous first single – released on April 8 – was immediately the centre of one of the hardest striking controversies of Madonna’s career that eventually led her to pull the video for the song directed by Jonas Åkerlund and to release the following statement:
I have decided not to release my new video. It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.
While an edited version of the video featuring Madonna singing in front of a backdrop made of flags of different countries premiered on April 16, 2003 on VH1, the theme of the original video made a comeback in the live performance of the song in the second section of Re-invention Tour the following year, with the video backdrop also using footage from the original videoclip.
Today we celebrate the 15th anniversary of this incredible album with a special gallery of promotional images – including those featured on the Q Magazine cover story in April 2003 – courtesy of Warner Music Group – click to zoom.