Song of the Day #4,794: ‘X-Static Process’ – Madonna

Yesterday, I wrote about Madonna’s knack for not standing in the same place, changing producers and musical styles from album to album with a professed goal of never repeating herself.

Well, she broke her own rules on her next release, 2003’s American Life. Teaming up again with producer/co-writer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, she delivered an album similar in sound to Music but less impactful.

Coming on the heels of the September 11 attacks, American Life was her most political album to date. She takes broadsides at American culture, decrying materialism and superficiality the way only a pop superstar can. The early songs are lyrically silly and sonically annoying.

The album redeems itself with a trio of acoustic tracks in its back half. If you paired them with similar songs from Music, you’d have the makings of an excellent unplugged album.

The best of those is today’s track, ‘X-Static Process,’ which finds Madonna on guitar and vocals delivering one of her most intimate performances.

American Life debuted at #1, but sold “only” 680k albums in the U.S. and 5 million copies worldwide, making it her lowest-selling album to that point. It was the closest thing to a slump in her career so far, and set her up for a comeback just two years later.

[Verse 1]
I’m not myself when you’re around
I’m not myself standing in a crowd
I’m not myself and I don’t know how
I’m not myself, myself right now

[Chorus]
Jesus Christ, will you look at me?
Don’t know who I’m supposed to be
Don’t really know if I should give a damn
When you’re around, I don’t know who I am

[Verse 2]
I’m not myself when you go quiet
I’m not myself all alone at night
I’m not myself, don’t know who to call
I’m not myself at all

[Chorus]
Jesus Christ, will you look at me?
Don’t know who I’m supposed to be
Don’t really know if I should give a damn
When you’re around, I don’t know who I am

[Bridge]
I always wished that I could find
Someone as beautiful as you
But in the process, I forgot
That I was special too
[Verse 3]
I’m not myself when you go quiet
(I’m not myself when you’re around)
I’m not myself standing in a crowd
(I’m not myself all alone at night)
I’m not myself and I don’t know how
(Don’t know what I believe)
I’m not myself, myself right now

[Chorus]
Jesus Christ, will you look at me?
Don’t know who I’m supposed to be
Someone say if I should give a damn
(Don’t really know if I should give a damn)
When you’re around, I don’t know who I am

[Outro]
I always wished that I could find
Someone as beautiful as you
But in the process, I forgot
That I was special too
I always wished that I could find
Someone as talented as you
But in the process, I forgot
That I was just as good as you

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,794: ‘X-Static Process’ – Madonna

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    There’s nothing like a political album to turn you off.😀

    Meanwhile, this is a lovely song unlike anything I have heard from Madonna before. Curious to know who she is singing about here.

  2. Peg says:

    Ali G 😊

  3. Amy says:

    I have no recollection of this album at all, but I guess I was busy being a mom to two, one under 2, when this album dropped. I do like this song but will take your word for it that I’d be unlikely to like the rest of the album.

  4. Amy says:

    This album wasn’t on my radar at all, though I don’t think that’s surprising given I was busy with two kids, one under the age of 2, when it dropped. As much as I like today’s song, I take your word for it that I’d be unlikely to enjoy the rest of the album.

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