ON THE MORNING of September 11, 2001, Madonna was due to perform one of the final shows on her Drowned World Tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. By noon, the show had been rescheduled and the world had changed irrevocably.

After completing the tour, she wasted little time before getting straight back in the studio with producer Mirwais, with whom she had created most of 2000’s Music. Shaken by 9/11, Madonna was in a period of introspection, telling reporters that fame and fortune had made her oblivious to the gruesome realities of the world. She spent a year and a half creating her most politically charged, socially driven, and divisive album to date. At the top of the agenda was poking holes in the so-called American dream.

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