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 Madonna raps about soy lattes, and upsets her inner circle ...



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 Missy Elliott gives her stamp of approval, and Madonna rejects Hollywood and "stuff" ...



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 The Ethereal Girl explains why there's so much suffering in the world ...





 Listen To Madonna's American Life Now



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 Madonna: Her American Life






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Norris: Too many times it's the differences we focus on, and that's what creates conflict. And it's the allegiance you feel to a nationality or an ethnicity or a religion that ...

Madonna: ... Or I'm a New Yorker, I'm an American, I'm a this, I'm a that. You stay over in your box, and I'll stay over in mine. It's what keeps us all in this fragmented way and that's why we're all enemies and that's why nobody is talking to each other, that's why there's so much suffering.

Norris: Is your daily life quite a bit different from what it was before Lola was born in 1995?

  "'American Life' was like a trip down memory lane."
Madonna: It's hugely different from even a year ago. Absolutely. Huge.

Norris: Is family the focus and then everything else takes its place?

Madonna: My family, my work, my spiritual life. I mean, I love watching movies and doing silly, frivolous things, but I find I have much less time for those things.

Presumably less time for reminiscing, as well — if she ever did much of that. Despite the fact that 2003 marks two decades in the game for Madonna, and more importantly, two decades of relevance, she's never been one for nostalgia. I've long wondered why it is that she has always seemed so singularly uninterested in the past.

Madonna: My own past? I'm just one of those people who likes to keep everything moving this way [points forward]. Although I didn't particularly do that with writing this record, did I? I see early incarnations of myself as a less evolved version of what I am now, and I don't want to go backwards. I don't want to hold onto an unevolved version of myself.

Norris: So does it make it hard to find something interesting or worthwhile in what you created 10, 12, 15 years ago in your art?

Madonna: I can look back and see things I've done, pick and choose things, and say, "Yeah, that's interesting." But honestly, I don't spend much time doing that because I've got too much to say now and too much to do now.

Norris: So if you could snap your fingers and make, say, everything pre-Ray of Light disappear, would you?

Madonna: No, absolutely not. I don't want to make my past disappear, but I want to learn from history and move on.


  "I don't want to make my past disappear."
Norris: Will there be any celebration or any marking of your 20 years in the music business?

Madonna: This momentous occasion? I haven't actually thought about it to tell you the truth.

Norris: If the record is any indication, you seem to be in a reflective mood. But more on a personal level.

Madonna: Should I have a reflective party? Everybody can just come and we can sit down and we don't have to talk to each other, we can just think! Let's have a séance.

On that spiritual note, rather than American Life, Madonna considered naming her latest album Ein Sof, a kabbalistic term meaning "without end," "limitless," or, as the final song on the record suggests, "continuous," "like a circle."

Norris: One of my favorite tracks is the last one, "Easy Ride."

Madonna: Which it so hasn't been.

Norris: But you say you don't want it to be an easy ride.

Madonna: And every time I listen to that track I think, "You so didn't get it, OK?"

Norris: And it talks about coming full circle. Do you think you have?

Madonna: Yeah, and I like the imagery of a circle anyway, because there's no beginning and no ending. And to me it represents immortality and that is the essence of art.

Norris: And you're not going to, say, five years from now, be refuting what you said today about life and what is important?

Madonna: I'm not going to tell you any of those things. I can't predict that. I can only tell you that this is where I'm at right now. I think this is the beginning of an incredible journey.


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Photo: Warner Bros.

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 "American Life"
American Life
(Warner Bros.)



 "Die Another Day"
Madonna
Die Another Day
(Music from the Motion Picture)

(Warner Bros.)



 "Music"
Music
(Warner Bros.)



 "Don't Tell Me"
Music
(Warner Bros.)



 "Nothing Really Matters"
Ray Of Light
(Warner Bros.)



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