" "Frozen" (1998) (file info) - play in browser (beta)
o A slow tempo dance track featuring Madonna's voice over layers of string arrangements and synthesizers. In the UK, it was seen as a "big comeback," becoming her first song ever to debut at number one and her first since 1990.
" "Don't Tell Me" (2000) (file info) - play in browser (beta)
o Featuring acoustic guitars and a techno beat, it became a top-ten hit worldwide.
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In 2000, Madonna released her follow-up film to Evita. The film The Next Best Thing was a disappointment at the box office and was panned by critics. Madonna contributed two songs to the film's soundtrack, namely "Time Stood Still" and European number one "American Pie", a dance cover version of the 1970s Don McLean single. Music (2000), her eighth studio album, had Madonna slightly step away from the exploration of spirituality and fame to get back to the "party" spirit of dance, pop, and house music. However, she retained the introspective poignancy of Ray of Light in songs such as Paradise (Not for Me) and introduced guitars for a more folky note, notably in "Don't Tell Me" or ballads such as Gone. Music debuted at number one on the U.S. albums chart and became her first number one album release since Like a Prayer (1989). Mainly co-written and produced with French house musician Mirwais Ahmadzai, the album produced three singles, including the worldwide number one "Music." The album's third single "What It Feels Like for a Girl" featured a controversial music video, directed by Madonna's husband Guy Ritchie, and was banned by MTV and VH1 after just one airing due to its graphic violence. Not to be deterred, Madonna released the video as a video single and it became the best-selling video single of all time. To promote the album, Madonna staged a much-publicised visit to the Late Show with David Letterman, her first full appearance on the show since her infamous 1994 visit. This time she surprised viewers by playing an acoustic version of "Don't Tell Me" on guitar, the first time she had played the instrument publicly since fronting the Breakfast Club and Emmy in the early 1980's. She would continue to incorporate her guitar-playing into each of her future tours. After staging small one-off club shows in both New York City and London (the later providing for her first-ever performance streamed live on the internet), Madonna opened the 2001 Grammy Awards with an energetic performance of "Music".
The music video for "Music" (2000).
In 2001, Madonna embarked on the Drowned World Tour, her first tour in eight years. The concert tour was successful, was the subject of a television special in the US, and was released on DVD in November 2001 to coincide with the release of her second greatest hits album, GHV2. Unlike her previous compilation, GHV2 did not include any new songs, although clubs did receive multiple mega mixes for promotional play only. In 2002, she wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Die Another Day, and had a cameo in the film as a fencing instructor. The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for both a Golden Globe for Best Original Song (and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song).
2003-2006: Commercial ups and downs
The original video for American Life (2003) was widely seen as controversial and was revoked on the day of its release due to its graphic images and antiwar message.
Madonna's ninth studio album, American Life (2003), in which her lyrics were themed on the aspects of the American dream, fame, fortune and society, polarized music critics with both extremely positive and extremely negative reviews. Arguably her most daring and musically extreme album, American Life presented a darker and more serious side of the singer. Once again, she teamed up with Mirwais with string arrangement contributed by French musician, Michel Colombier, who had already collaborated on Music, a gospel choir, and prominent acoustic guitars. The music video for the first single, "American Life" caused controversy in the US, as it contained visceral scenes depicting war, explosions, and blood. The day before the video was to air on European television, Madonna pulled it and released instead an edited and much tamer version, which showed her singing in front of flags from around the world. The song failed to perform well on the U.S. singles charts, peaking at thirty-seven. Having sold just 4 million copies, American Life is the lowest selling album of her career. However, the album did peak at number one on the U.S. albums chart and became her second consecutive album to do so. American Life produced three more singles, which all failed to chart in the U.S., although they became modest hits around the world.
Later that year, Madonna performed a re-mixed version of her song "Hollywood", which was arranged by Stuart Price aka "Thin White Duke" (whom she later would work with again for her Confessions album)with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliot at the MTV Video Music Awards. The performance caused controversy as Madonna kissed both Spears and Aguilera during the performance, and resulted in tabloid press frenzy. That fall, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears' single "Me Against the Music", which became a dance hit in the U.S. In an effort to boost sales of American Life, Madonna released Remixed & Revisited, a remix EP that included remixes and some interesting rock versions of songs from American Life as well as "Your Honesty", a previously unreleased song from the Bedtime Stories era. The EP did not perform well on the charts and peaked outside the top 100 on the US albums chart. A lesser-known aspect of the American Life era is that Madonna worked with fashion photographer Steven Klein in what was to become a photo and video installation entitled X-static Process that would tour in major art galleries around the world. These images were to be used for her Re-Invention Tour.
In 2004, Madonna embarked on The Re-Invention Tour, which featured fifty-six dates in the US, Canada, and Europe and became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million. Also in 2004, Madonna was involved in a brief legal battle with Warner Music Group, with whom she co-owned record label Maverick. The legal dispute ended with Warner Music Group buying Madonna's shares in the record label. In January 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song Imagine on the televised U.S. aid concert "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope", which raised money for the tsunami victims in Asia.
On August 16, 2005, her 47th birthday, Madonna was seriously injured after falling off a horse at Ashcombe House, her Wiltshire home. She suffered three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone, and a broken hand from her fall. Following her accident she filmed the video to her first single, "Hung Up," from her upcoming album "Confessions on a Dance Floor." At the time of filming the high-energy