Bedtime Stories (Madonna album)
|Studio album by Madonna|
|Released||October 25, 1994|
|Singles from Bedtime Stories|
Bedtime Stories is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on October 25, 1994 by Maverick Records. Madonna collaborated with Dallas Austin, Babyface, Dave "Jam" Hall and Nellee Hooper, deciding to move into a more R&B direction. Madonna tried to soften her image after releasing several sexually explicit works earlier in the decade.
The album was inspired by contemporary R&B and new jack swing, developing a generally more mainstream, radio-friendly sound. Like its predecessor Erotica (1992), Bedtime Stories explores lyrical themes of love, sorrow, and romance, but with a toned-down, less sexual approach. Critics described the album as "autobiographical". The album's final single "Human Nature" addresses the controversy surrounding Erotica, while "Bedtime Story" was written by Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. Bedtime Stories received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the album's candid lyrics and production, and was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 38th Grammy Awards.
Commercially, the album proved to be successful. Debuting and peaking at number three on the Billboard 200, the album was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It also became her fifth number-one album in Australia and peaked within the top five in other international territories. Bedtime Stories has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Four singles were released from the album. The lead single, "Secret", gave Madonna her record-breaking 35th consecutive top ten single on the UK Singles Chart, while "Take a Bow" spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Other singles released were "Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature".
Writing and development
The album began as a collaboration with Shep Pettibone, and was to be stylistically similar to Erotica. However, due to Madonna's wish to soften her public image, as well as her admiration for Joi's The Pendulum Vibe album (which contained tracks produced by Dallas Austin), she decided to move towards a more R&B direction with a generally mainstream, radio-friendly sound. Madonna did thank Pettibone in the album sleeve notes for "understanding." It remains the last time Madonna collaborated with him.
The album is unusual in Madonna's long career as being one of the very few occasions where she collaborated with well-known, established producers (the other exceptions being Nile Rodgers on Like a Virgin, David Foster on Something to Remember and Timbaland, Pharrell and Nate "Danja" Hills on Hard Candy). The album features writing collaborations and production work by R&B producers such as Dallas Austin, known at the time for his work with TLC; Babyface, who had worked with Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton; Dave Hall, who had produced Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige; and Nellee Hooper, who had produced Soul II Soul. Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, meanwhile, co-wrote the title track with Hooper.
Several songs from this album found their way onto the cutting room floor for one reason or another, including "Your Honesty", which later surfaced on the 2003 EP Remixed & Revisited. "Freedom" was used for a rainforest benefit album titled Carnival! and "Let Down Your Guard" (rough mix edit) appeared on the UK and Australian CD single for "Secret". See the list of unreleased Madonna songs for details. "Forbidden Love" is an entirely different composition from another song with the same title on Madonna's 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor.
Musical style and themes
Co-written by Babyface (who also provides backing vocals), the Canto-pop styled ballad became Madonna's first US number one in almost three years and became the number one highest-selling single of 1995.
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Bedtime Stories was described as "a warm album, with deep, gently pulsating grooves." It features a largely "new-jack R&B" sound. Erotica also incorporated the New Jack Swing style, but Bedtime Stories draws influences from contemporary R&B rather than dance music. The sound was compared to artists such as Aaliyah, Changing Faces, Joi, Mary J. Blige, TLC, and Xscape. "Secret" includes "acoustic guitars, expertly sweetened vocals and producer Dallas Austin's signature R&B beats." "Bedtime Story" is more electronic, later inspiring Madonna to work with producers such as William Orbit and Mirwais Ahmadzaï.
While the album is intended to be more mainstream and less controversial than its predecessor, it includes perhaps some of Madonna's most confessional and confrontational work. Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "she not only unloads on the media but also details a troubling and deeply personal view of romance. Never have her lyrics been this autobiographical." The lyrics contain a "mix of sorrow and romance." "Human Nature" "snipes back at the press" for its reaction to Madonna following the Erotica and Sex book controversies. She sings, "Did I say something wrong?/Oops, I didn't know I couldn't talk about sex (I musta been crazy)." Though Madonna sought to restore her image through the album, she has also stated that this period of her life was designed as a "vengeance period" for all the people (in particular the media) who were trying to invade in her private life, and that once it was all out in the open, she hoped that they would stop and focus on her music.
The album contains samples from some rather prominent songs and artists. "Inside of Me" samples Aaliyah's first single, "Back and Forth", and The Gap Band's "Outstanding". "Sanctuary" contains a sample of "Watermelon Man" by Herbie Hancock from his iconic Head Hunters album. "Human Nature" samples "What You Need" by hip-hop group Main Source.
Bedtime Stories, ever since its release, has received generally positive reviews from critics. Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four out of five stars and a positive review, claiming that it "is a warm album" and that it "offers her most humane and open music". Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly gave the album a positive review as well, giving it a B+ grade, and writing that "the new tracks work less as individual songs than as a sustained mood" and that Madonna "still has something to reveal". Barbara O'Dair of Rolling Stone also gave the album a favourable review and three-and-a-half stars out of five, writing that "Madonna has come up with awfully compelling sounds". In addition, Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave Bedtime Stories a positive review and four out of five stars, writing that it is "a fluffy-pillowed concept album that unfolds like a musical fairy tale".
Despite the large success of lead single "Secret", which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, Bedtime Stories got off to a mild start. It debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200, with 145,000 units shifted in its first week, achieving a gold certification after six weeks. Soon after, however, the album began to lose steam and descend the charts. It was not until the release of the second single, "Take a Bow", that the album picked up pace and made a noticeable rebound. The album was eventually certified 3× Platinum in the United States. and was nominated for a Grammy Award. In the UK, the success was moderate; it debuted at number two behind Bon Jovi's Cross Road.
The album enjoyed less popularity than "Erotica" in Europe but was still commercially successful in that region, reaching the top five of almost every European country. "Bedtime Stories" hit number two in France, shifting over 200,000 copies there, and became a number four hit in Germany, moving in excess of 500,000 copies in that market. The album also enjoyed significant success in Spain, where it shipped over 100,000 units. By the end of its chart-run, "Bedtime Stories" was certified double platinum by the IFPI, for shipments of in excess of two million units throughout Europe.
In Australasia, "Bedtime Stories" enjoyed even greater success than Europe, debuting at number one in Australia and within the top five in New Zealand. It went on to be certified triple platinum by ARIA, for shipments of over 210,000 copies.
The album also found success in the Asian market. It entered the Japanese Oricon Weekly Album Chart at number nine, continuing Madonna's uninterrupted streak of top ten hit albums there. It went on to sell over 400,000 units in Japan.
- "Secret" was released as the album's lead single in September 1994.
- "Take a Bow", produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, was the album's second single. It became Madonna's first single to top the Billboard Hot 100 since 1992, spending seven weeks at the pole position, the longest a Madonna song has ever spent at number one. The music video portrays Madonna as the neglected lover of a bullfighter; it won Best Female Video at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.
- "Bedtime Story", co-written by Björk, was released as the third single in February 1995. The music video, directed by Mark Romanek, is housed in New York's Museum of Modern Art. It was described as "perhaps the single with the most unfulfilled hit potential in Madonna's 20-year career."
- "Human Nature" was released as the fourth and final single from Bedtime Stories. The music video features Madonna and her dancers in BDSM-inspired leather.
|1.||"Survival"||Madonna, Dallas Austin||Nellee Hooper, Madonna||3:31|
|2.||"Secret"||Madonna, Austin, Shep Pettibone||Madonna, Austin||5:03|
|3.||"I'd Rather Be Your Lover" (featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)||Madonna, Dave Hall, Isley Brothers, Christopher Jasper||Madonna, Hall||4:39|
|4.||"Don't Stop"||Madonna, Austin, Colin Wolfe||Madonna, Austin (additional production and remix by Daniel Abraham)||4:38|
|5.||"Inside of Me"||Madonna, Hall, Hooper||Hooper, Madonna||4:11|
|6.||"Human Nature"||Madonna, Hall, Shawn McKenzie, Kevin McKenzie, Michael Deering||Madonna, Hall||4:54|
|7.||"Forbidden Love"||Babyface, Madonna||Hooper, Madonna||4:08|
|8.||"Love Tried to Welcome Me"||Madonna, Hall||Madonna, Hall||5:21|
|9.||"Sanctuary"||Madonna, Austin, Anne Preven, Scott Cutler, Herbie Hancock||Madonna, Austin (remixed by Hooper)||5:02|
|10.||"Bedtime Story"||Hooper, Björk, Marius De Vries||Hooper, Madonna||4:53|
|11.||"Take a Bow"||Babyface, Madonna||Babyface, Madonna||5:21|
- Shep Pettibone has been added as co-songwriter of "Secret" by ASCAP, he is included in the inlay sleeve of GHV2 Remixed: The Best of 1991–2001
- Samples: "Survival" – "Hey Love" performed by Stevie Wonder. "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" – "It's Your Thing" performed by Lou Donaldson. "Inside of Me" – "Back and Forth" performed by Aaliyah, "Outstanding" performed by The Gap Band and "The Trials of Life" performed by Gutter Snypes. "Human Nature" – "What You Need" performed by Main Source. "Forbidden Love" – "Down Here on the Ground" performed by Grant Green. "Sanctuary" – "Watermelon Man" performed by Herbie Hancock
Charts and certifications
Cross Road by Bon Jovi
|Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
November 6–12, 1994
MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana
- Madonna – vocals
- Dallas Austin – drums, keyboard
- Babyface – synthesizer, background vocals
- Donna De Lory – background vocals
- Niki Haris – background vocals
- Suzie Kattayama – conductor
- Jessie Leavey – conductor
- Tommy Martin – guitar
- Me'Shell NdegéOcello – bass
- Colin Wolfe – bass
- Jessie Leavey – strings arrangement
- Craig Armstrong – strings arrangement on "Take a Bow"
- Producers: Madonna, Dallas Austin, Babyface, Marius De Vries, Dave Hall, Nellee Hooper
- Engineers: Michael Fossenkemper, Brad Gilderman, Darin Prindle, Alvin Speights, Mark "Spike" Stent
- Mixing: Jon Gass, Daniel Abraham
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