Twenty years after the release of the single, the “Queen of Pop” releases the original video clip of the song, “landing” her audience in a grotesque environment with harsh symbolism
Editor: Myriam Kiassou
Through a surreal time capsule, Madonna takes us to 2003, yet distant, with the release of another, “forbidden” video clip of the iconic and possibly underestimated – for many of the fans – “American Life”.
Exactly 20 years after the release of the single, the “Queen of Pop” releases the original video clip of the song, “landing” her audience in a grotesque environment with harsh symbolism that aimed to embellish the modern lifestyle and wildness war’s.
The images of brutal violence were, at the time, considered extremely harsh and it was eventually preferred that the song be released with an alternative similar video clip which is understood to be based on scenes from the original.
The five-minute clip started off seemingly bland, with models walking a runway in military uniforms as the then-brunette Madonna sings about life “at the center of glory” wearing her signature khaki shirt and beret.
The video, however, takes a drastic turn afterwards when the models mingle with victims of war, who begin to engage in extreme violence as blood spills onto the catwalk.
The “unhinged” audience laughs excitedly and cheers as an unprecedented bloodbath unfolds on the catwalk even as bloodied and dismembered bodies are dragged onto the stage.
Images of actual war victims then flashed across the screen before Madonna “ran out” from backstage in a tank, eventually killing the crowd with a grenade.
The shocking but definitely impressive video was the singer’s comment on the then ongoing American invasion of Iraq, “mixing” haute couture with the brutality of war.
The intense reactions and the embarrassment caused by its content, however, resulted in the artistic product “finding a wall” with Madonna finally deciding to release the, as we now understand, extremely censored-collected version of it.
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