American Life

A young Madonna once mentally raped me while she jogged with a bodyguard in Malibu. (I recognized the copious crucifix jewelry). Kudos to nude hitchhiking, fruity dance troupes, graveside nuns, gothic tundras and peep shows for 10-year-olds (the videos). Her music, however, was nondescript pap marinated in reverb (a style annexed by such recent Divas as J-Lo). American Life has a dry, focused sound, but you can hear all the flat notes. Four tracks (3, 6, 7 and 11) prevail, with strong guitar riffs by Mirwais Ahmadzai; the rest is geared toward shaved brow inebriates lost in strip malls at 11 a.m. The title cut begins with gastric duck-call synth, then shifts to a Campfire Girls’ ballad, then to obscene hip-hop. Life is a kitschy-schizy diatribe, but it all goes down like a $1.99 Australian Shiraz.