Wipe Off The Dust: Rediscovering What 'Bedtime Stories' Was All About

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometime between being Mistress Dita and a "ray of light", Madonna released in 1994 a luxurious set of tracks under the title, Bedtime Stories. Most have amnesia when it comes to this record, even though it spawned hit singles such as "Human Nature" and the gorgeous, "Take A Bow". I'm one of those people who had this record because A) I'm a Madonna fan and B) because of the singles released. Not because it's another gem of an album from the Queen of Pop, more like, it was obligatory to have because once you're a fan of Madonna, you have to have the complete collection. It would take me years to finally sit down and appreciate this album and in a turn of events, its actually my favorite Madonna album, right after Like A Prayer. Unfortunately, my first response to this was along the lines of "this is making me sleepy, let me pop in True Blue instead". The girl has to learn and get grown, right?

My naivety aside, rediscovering Bedtime Stories years later as an older and wiser individual, was like what Esthero coos about "the electric blanket...is warm", this is what Madonna's 6th effort is. It's lush, comforting, and sensual without all the sexual gimmick that Madonna overly uses to get your attention. Here the music and Madonna's lush and sometimes hypnotic vocals speak for themselves, and no doubt since she recruited R&B/Hip-Hop/Trance producers, Dave Hall, Dallas Austin, Babyface and Nell Hooper and artists like Bjork and Meshell Ndegeocello to assist in the makings of these musical stories. The results are Madonna getting in the Lounge and House groove, not to mention becoming more soulful than she's ever been (and believe me, Madonna has had her R&B moments). Madonna had been edging towards this sound since 1990's "Justify My Love", and almost got there with 1992's Erotica, but here on Bedtime Stories, Madonna has achieved a more nurturing and sensual tone that is soothing to the sound.

We know about the singles of Bedtime Stories, but what about the songs in-between....

I'd Rather Be Your Lover
Meshell Ndegeocello (who we must remember is signed to Madonna's Maverick label) adds her dialogue to this scratchy R&B mid-tempo that had a groove liken to what Zhane and Mary J. Blige achieved prior.
Don't Stop
An uptempo smooth pop track that has a slight disco feel to it due to the swoops of strings laced in. A nice little hand-clapper with motivational speech from the Material Girl.
Forbidden Love
Anybody who knows a lil' somethin' about 90's R&B, knows that Babyface was the producer of choice if you wanted a seductive soul anthem. Here 'Face adds his velvet vocals to this slice of sexy that is somewhat forgotten nowadays.
Love Tried To Welcome Me
Covered with dust and sin...oooh, how fetching. A Spanish guitar driven lullaby that feels like you have submerged yourself into warm tropical waters. After hearing this, you probably don't want to come out of the water.

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