20

Nobody Knows Me

Madonna

American Life (2003)

Back in the days when people actually bought CDs, I used to have a habit of making sure to give one full, uninterrupted listen to an anticipated album to get my first impression. When I did this for “American Life,” as soon as I heard “Nobody Knows Me,” all I wanted to do was go back and listen to it again. And again. Madonna’s most hit-or-miss album hit it out of the park on this track, which I remember one critic describing as sounding like “a synth keyboard falling down a stairwell.” (I think they meant it as an insult – to me, that’s high praise.) The production won my heart, with its unusual 4-on, 4-off beat pattern (I’m hard pressed to think of another song that employs that style), and the auto-tuned vocals actually are in service of the song’s lyrics, obscuring her true voice because, well, nobody knows her. And I particularly love the twist on the meaning of “social disease” — wanting to escape that desire to fit the mold that “infects” so many people. I don’t know that many other people would call this song a highlight of the decade, but in a way that makes me all the more appreciative — it becomes my little personal gem.


(note: this is a remix of the original – both are great)

Also check out: Goldfrapp’s “Koko” — I’m not typically one to say “make sure you listen to this loud,” but, you really should.

One Response to “20”

  1. andy butler says:

    This is in my top 3 of the decade. My hands down favorite Madonna song (is that crazy or what?).

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