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on July 20, 2014
This is one of the few albums of Madonna that I love in its entirety. She sings R&B style music and all of the songs are a pleasure to listen to. It's a very laidback album and not one necessarily for dancing to...but more of an album to relax to.
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on February 14, 2010
'Bedtime Stories' came out in 1994, I was 4-years-old and still running around in pre-school and didn't know who Madonna was just yet. I officially became a fan of Madonna's in 2000 when she came out with her 'Music' album. I remember dragging my poor mother out to the now defunct record store 'Sam The Record Man'(a store here in Canada) on Boxing Day because my Aunt Becky had given me a gift certificate for Christmas. Of course I had heard songs like 'Like A Virgin', 'Frozen', 'Beautiful Stranger', 'True Blue' and her cover of 'American Pie' and many others.

Unfortunately, when I moved from Oshawa, Ontario to Courtice, Ontario six years ago my copy of the 'Music' album got lost in the move and for a while I just shrugged it off and didn't bother get a new copy until last summer.

My interest in Madonna made it's return about a year ago when I heard she was coming out with an album where she was working with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland because I had been a fan of their work. It really gave me a big kick in the butt to start my own personal Madonna collection so I started listening to sound bites on Amazon and much to my surprise with each album I previewed I realized that I had not only heard a lot of the songs before, but that I had liked them. I'd say I was still a fan of her's but not a real huge fanatic like I am now. Madonna to me at the time - [before I started running down her collection of albums to buy] was more half and half with her. There were songs of her's I heard and liked, but after purchasing her 'Music' album at the time I was young and just wasn't interested in Madonna as much as I was other artists at the time. But now, I can honestly say she is one of my top 10 favourite musicians, and I am glad that as I got older, I started to explore more of her work, and become more familiar with her work and appreciate her for the fabulous musician she really is and appreciate the cultural impact she has had on pop music and music in general. I guess it's a case of better late than never.

I now own six Madonna albums - Erotica, Bedtime Stories, Ray Of Light, Music, Confessions On A Dance Floor and Hard Candy. While I love every Madonna album I have purchased, 'Bedtime Stories' is the one that is the gem of my collection, the one that keeps me coming back for more. This is an R&B album and after the cold, bone chilling feel of Erotica, Madonna wanted to come back in a more softer setting after the whole SEX book and Erotica controversy, do something a little more friendly for the public. I think she also wanted to let people in a little bit because while there are some care-free, fun tracks there are also a lot of ballads filled with sadness.

I remember when I walked into the record store where I bought this album, and I was a little confused. I had seen the album cover on Amazon's website and seen that Madonna's picture was upside down, however when I got to the record store I was in (it was a used CD record store), I had found Bedtime Stories' cover with Madonna right side up. I remember saying to myself "what the f**k?" Did someone just bring this in the cover the other way around or what?" then later I found out that it had been a printing mistake, that the photo was initially suppose to be upside down but accidently released it right side up so they went ahead and re-released it upside down.

It was almost like Madonna wanted to come out with an album that had her put everything out on the table, all her emotions and what exactly she had gone threw because I had heard that in past interviews around the time of 'Bedtime Stories' release, Madonna had gone threw a hard time in her life and after listening to this album you can hear what she may have went threw.

It's not just the music I enjoy the most, it's also the cover and the blue tray. Madonna looks her best on the cover and the fact that the photographers used some sort of special lighting called Helvetica 25 Ultralight I think brings out the softer, more accessible side of Madonna she was striving for. It's very direct, it's almost like Madonna is laying in bed just waiting for you to come and join her, sit with her so she can tell you stories about love, longing, lust, having fun, secrets and jerky people.

The album opens with 'Survival' - which to me is Madonna showing her own version of 'girl power' so to speak. No matter how much people put you down whether it's talking trash about you behind your back, hurt you in some way or try to stand in your way that you can survive anything no matter what negative thing life throws at you. 'Survival' is followed by the slow groove 'Secret'. 'I'd Rather Be Your Lover' reminds me of Madonna's earlier days where she just sang silly, cheesy songs. The same formula is used in the next track, 'Don't Stop' where Madonna produces a simplistic, fun, care-free party song.

'Inside Of Me', I think is Madonna reaching into her past a little bit by letting out the emotions of losing her mother at a young age. The song reflects that despite the fact that someone close to you is gone, they are still alive inside your heart and even though they aren't there physically, they are spiritually. Up next is my personal favourite Madonna song of all time, 'Human Nature'. 'Human Nature' was a statement for Madonna because it saw her confronting her critics about how much torment they put her threw when she went threw the whole SEX book and Erotica stage of her career but she does it in a bit of a sarcastic sense and a bit of a 'oh, oops...did I do that' attitude, like she really didn't give a damn. I find Madonna fun when she's being bitchy, I don't know why but she's frickin' gold when she's being a b**ch in her songs.

That's why I absolutely love 'Human Nature' - while Madonna is being is being confrontational to the critics, she's also doing it in a sarcastic sense but also saying she's not sorry, she's no one puppet and people really need to just shut up and leave her alone. Also, that she will do what she wants, when she wants whether anyone likes it or not.

'Forbidden Love' sounds like it's about a love you know probably isn't right for you but you kind of want it anyway, like you can't resist the temptation.

'Love Tried To Welcome Me' is the most emotional and saddest song on the album, when you read the lyrics you can't help but sort of feel sorry and empathize with the context of the lyrics. A beautiful, emotional ballad from Madonna that sadly probably doesn't get much recognition.

'Santuary' is definitely a different ballad from the rest on the album because it has a completely different feel from the rest of the ballads, when you read the lyrics the track seems it is about how having each other is the most important thing in the world, like nothing else is important. I could be wrong, but that's just my opinion.The title track of the album 'Bedtime Story' stands out on it's own on the album because it is an electronica track written by Icelandic musician Bjork and saw Madonna giving a precursor or preview of what she would pursuit later on in the 90's for her album 'Ray Of Light'.

Finally, the album ends with the gorgeous ballad 'Take A Bow' - produced by Baby Face and probably one the biggest hits of her career because the song charted at number one for weeks. I think this song is what finally gave Madonna redemption from the critics and when I listen to this song it comes to me as you think you know someone and things between you and them are great, but then something happens like they hurt you in someway and eventually they show their true colours.

Sadly in these days 'Bedtime Stories' probably wouldn't be considered Madonna's biggest album of her career and that's too bad because it is a wonderful album. I also think depending on the situation, a lot of people can relate to a lot of the deep concepts within the context of the songs on here. That being said, if you're a Madonna fan or not yet a Madonna fan but are interested in becoming more familiar with some of Madonna's music, definitely give 'Bedtime Stories' a shot because it is a nice place to stop on the Madonna discography road.

Anyway, I'm done rambling on about Bedtime Stories' greatness because I had to retype this all up after my laptop went crazy on me last night just as I was finishing the original review so if this review seems a little crumby it's because I had to re-write and rethink every thought I had written in the original review.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 1, 2012
Listening to 1994's "Bedtime Stories" again after all these years, I've come to the realization this effort does not hold up as well as alot of her other work and has deservedly been relegated to a footnote in Madonna history. This despite the fact that it contains her most successful single ever. Though it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks in 1995, "Take a Bow" feels very manufactured and generic, like she and Babyface sat down to write a commercial, Adult Contemporary hit. The song is pleasant but innocuous and lacks PASSION. The vocal performance seems sterile unlike other ballads such as "In This Life", "Rain" and "Live To Tell"--even "Crazy For You" showed more emotion.

The remainder of the album contains listless tracks such as "I'd Rather Be Your Lover", "Inside of Me", "Forbidden Love", "Love Tried To Welcome Me", or hip-hop wannabe numbers that contain too much sampling. Madonna responds to the Sex/Erotica/Body of Evidence backlash in a couple of disparate tracks: the wistful opener "Survival" and angry, defensive "Human Nature" where she proclaims "I'm not your b**ch".

The incessant fuzzy 'n scratchy 'let's-make-it-sound-like-70s' sampling gets tiresome here and the only highlights are the hit single "Secret" which to me sounds like the perfect anthem for gay self-acceptance; the mid-tempo feel-good bopper "Don't Stop" which transcends sometimes silly lyrics; and the darker, experimental pairing of "Sanctuary" and "Bedtime Story". Had the album been built more around these two songs and Madonna tried a darker approach to her music, this would have been a more interesting project and may have aged better.

Unless you're a huge fan and want her entire back catalogue, the best songs here are available on a Greatest Hits package and you aren't missing much by leaving these boring stories in the past.

SURVIVAL 3/5
SECRET 5/5
I'D RATHER BE YOUR LOVER 3/5
DON'T STOP 4/5
INSIDE OF ME 3/5
HUMAN NATURE 3/5
FORBIDDEN LOVE 3/5
LOVE TRIED TO WELCOME ME 4/5
SANCTUARY 4/5
BEDTIME STORY 5/5
TAKE A BOW 4/5

THREE-and-a-HALF STARS.
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on October 27, 2001
After all the controversy surrounding her "Erotica"/"Sex"/"Body Of Evidence" triple play in 1992, Madonna took a step back and quietly released "Bedtime Stories," a very introspective and emotional album filled with lots of hidden treasures and only a few hits. It's usually overlooked now, but given the chance, this one really stands out. This is a huge departure for Madonna. As an artist, she consistently pulls trends from the underground and introduces them to the mainstream. With "Bedtime Stories," she did the exact opposite: she used the popular sounds of the time, for the most part, but still managed to make it sound fresh and appealing. The album kicks off with "Survival," a "shoulda been" hit single that pretty much sums up Madonna's take on those who criticize her: "I'll never be an angel. I'll never be a saint, that's true." Produced by Dallas Austin (who was fresh off of his success with TLC and "CrazySexyCool"), it works very well. Madonna fires back at her critics explicitly with "Human Nature," which has a huge bass line and sounds like a hip-hop experiment. You'll either love it or you'll hate it--and that's a classic Madonna approach to music making. The album is also loaded with several R & B inspired numbers. "Love Tried To Welcome Me," "Inside of Me," "Don't Stop," and "Forbidden Love" share a variety of producers, and it's obvious that Babyface (who produced a handful of the tracks) had a profound influence on a great deal of the album. His presence is most obviously felt on "Forbidden Love" and the album closer, "Take A Bow," where he provides distinct background vocals. There are also a few tracks that come out of left field. "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" is another hip-hop inspired track, with guest vocalist Me'Shell N'degeocello. "Don't Stop" is the only thing that approaches being a dance song, but it's closer to being mid-tempo. "Secret" is a laid-back piece of summer fare with an unexpected acoustic backing track and some of Madonna's best harmonizing since "La Isla Bonita." And the one-two punch of "Sanctuary" and the Bjork-penned "Bedtime Story" puts a unique spin on the entire album. While "Sanctuary" and "Bedtime Story" are not at all suited for radio, they somehow manage to fit on this album without making it sound disjointed. The lyrics on "Bedtime Stories" are quite confessional. These are, for the most part, songs about longing and loss. But they also focus on the notions that longing and loss often come from within. While Madonna must have been hurt deeply by the critical barbs lobbed at her between 1992 and 1994, she mixes her rebuttals with a sense of personal responsibility, admissions of mistakes, and reminders that she is, deep down, a vulnerable human being, like the rest of us. Taken in the context of Madonna's career progression, "Bedtime Stories" is a link between the early days of courting controversy and her current approach, which is based more on personal fulfillment. "Bedtime Stories" is also the antithesis of "Erotica," and it's often hard to imagine an artist who would be able to turn out two such different albums in the space of four years (and she ultimately went one better--the "Evita" soundtrack was her next project, and that doesn't seem like the expected next step from either album). Where "Erotica" intentionally sounded cold and electronic, "Bedtime Stories" is as warm as a fireplace on Christmas morning. If there were one piece of criticism one could possibly add to this album, it's the inclusion of "Take A Bow" at the end of the album. The song progression builds and evolves into the electronica pairing of "Sanctuary" and "Bedtime Story," but the inclusion of "Take A Bow" as the final track is almost too abrupt. "Take A Bow" is the most lyrically accessible song on the album, and also the most contemporary sounding, but it almost strikes as an afterthought--a single that was tacked on at the end to increase album sales. Had it been placed earlier in the album, it would have fit right in. Nevertheless, this is the one small discrepancy I found in this otherwise perfect album. Madonna has done some albums bogged down with filler ("Like A Virgin," "True Blue," "I'm Breathless"), but this one sparkles from beginning to end. An extremely enjoyable album, released when the artist needed to prove to critics that she could still make music that excited the general public, "Bedtime Stories" is a delightful addition to Madonna's ever-evolving career.
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on October 22, 2001
Madonna's "Bedtime Stories" -- an album that openly takes on the fact that critics, quite pre-maturely, declared her "over with" -- is an amazing cast of light on Madonna's career. Its mixes of R&B and hip-hop sounds create a soothing and relaxing environment that can either make you dance or calm you down.
The first single released from the album, as well as one of her most popular to date, "Secret", is an amazing acoustic ballad/pop song that is as much lyrically talented as it is catchy. Madonna's strong, deepened voice (compared to the higher pitch of her earlier works) gives a sense of longing that creates a mood for the track that is truly awesome.
The title track, "Bedtime Stories", offers Madonna's first true step into techno... Which probably led the way for her work in her "Ray of Light" and "Music" album. Its peculiar sounds and simplistic lyrical composition sends a sense of relaxation no matter where you are.
Highlights of the CD include her very intriguing and open attitude "Human Nature", one of the album's most hip-hop oriented sound but one of the most powerful lyrical approaches. "Inside of Me" and "Sanctuary" remain Madonna's softer side, as well as the extremely popular ballad "Take A Bow" with R&B producer/artist Babyface.
"Bedtime Stories" is truly a relaxing and soothing album that offers a range of of R&B sounds often accompanied with strange hints of hip-hop and acoustics.
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on September 26, 2001
Madonna decided to prove the critics wrong when they said her career was over after the Sex book, the Erotica album, and the movie Body of Evidence all came out around the same time, which got a lot of negative responces. Though this album is not her most popular, it still contains some of her best music, and the one of the biggest singles of her career, Take a Bow. The songs on the record that really stand out include Secret, Forbidden Love, Love Tried To Welcome Me, and the haunting Santuary. Notice, all the songs just mentioned are slow to mid-tempo songs. Not bad for a entertainer who's mostly known for her dance-pop tunes. Human Nature is a entertaining song that tells the audience what she has to go through with the critics who bash her for being sexual, when all she's doing is being herself. Bedtime Story is a very creative song which Bjork helped write and produced. The other three songs, Survival, Don't Stop, and Inside of Me help round out the album, Survival being the opening song, Don't Stop being the usual dance song, and Inside of Me being the song that talks about losing someone truly loved. Over all, this is a must have for Madonna fans. If you are a big fan of her dance songs, this album might not be for you, sense most of it is slow, mid-tempo songs.
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on September 26, 2001
Madonna decided to prove the critics wrong when they said her career was over after the Sex book, the Erotica album, and the movie Body of Evidence all came out around the same time, which got a lot of negative responces. Though this album is not her most popular, it still contains some of her best music, and the one of the biggest singles of her career, Take a Bow. The songs on the record that really stand out include Secret, Forbidden Love, Love Tried To Welcome Me, and the haunting Santuary. Notice, all the songs just mentioned are slow to mid-tempo songs. Not bad for a entertainer who's mostly known for her dance-pop tunes. Human Nature is a entertaining song that tells the audience what she has to go through with the critics who bash her for being sexual, when all she's doing is being herself. Bedtime Story is a very creative song which Bjork helped write and produced. The other three songs, Survival, Don't Stop, and Inside of Me help round out the album, Survival being the opening song, Don't Stop being the usual dance song, and Inside of Me being the song that talks about losing someone truly loved. Over all, this is a must have for Madonna fans. If you are a big fan of her dance songs, this album might not be for you, sense most of it is slow, mid-tempo songs.
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on February 15, 2001
The theme of this ablum is: it's lonely at the top. Funky, too. Released in October 1994, Bedtime Stories has a little something for everybody. This is a good thing because after Sex and Erotica were released, everyone wanted a piece of Madonna. Here, she embraces R&B, which sounds like second nature to her. Bedtime Stories features some of her best songs to date. Listening to this disc is very lonely. But it's a beautiful kind of loneliness. There's romance in yearning. The only song Madonna had no hand in writing Bedtime Story, which was written by Bjork and a few others. On Human Nature, Madonna does a lethal counter attack on her critcs saying they punished her for telling them her fantasies. Human nature is one of Madonna's most lethal tracks, but also one of her best. The album kicks off with Survival, and ends with the brilliant ballad Take A Bow. Here are how the tracks rate from 0(bomb)-10++++(outstanding)
1. Survival: She ain't no angel, but she'll be living to tell. A great album kickoff! Hey, it's all about survival! 10++++
2. Secret: This baby's got a secret. One of her best singles! 10+++
3. I'd Rather Be Your Lover: She could be our sister, mother, friend, or brother. Great song! 10+++
4. Don't Stop: Great R&B dance track! 10+++
5. Inside Of Me: Pretty good. 10
6. Human Nature: 2nd best on the CD! Her lethal attack on the critics who said bad things about Erotica. 10++++
7. Forbidden Love: This song is lonely, but good. 10+
8. Love Tried To Welcome Me: Good song. Not that bad. 10
9. Sanctuary: A Very beautiful song! 10+
10. Bedtime Story: 3rd best on the CD. Let's get unconsonsious with Madonna. 10+++
11. Take A Bow: The best on the CD! A lush, beautiful, heartbreaking ballad! 10++++
Overall Grade: A+ (10+)
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on February 6, 2001
Madonna doesn't screw around. She's the consummate chamelion, and this album represents just how talented she is, and the level of her artistic genius. Both "Secret" and "Take A Bow" were huge hits-everyone knows that already. But while both are great songs, the art doesn't end with the hits as it often does. "Bedtime Story," also a single but unfit for radio, is one of those songs that you can't help but listen to over and over again because of its masterfully-crafted sonic landscape. The video is a classic as well. Another single, "Human Nature," would have best been left for an album track since it's not a great radio song either, but once again spawned a great video.
The rest of the album is filled with lush, dreamy, sensual musical composition that demands listeners to listen to the LP in full. "Survival," released as a single with "Bedtime Story," is the ultimate album opener with an instant hook that makes you glad you forked out the money for the CD. "Inside Of Me" is one of her most hauntingly beautiful works of art. A beautiful ballad with an unforgettable melody and gorgeous lyrics. "Forbidden Love" is a great love-making rhapsody. "Love Tried To Welcome Me" and "Sanctuary" are epic ballads that are unlike anything ever recorded...Madonna obviously didn't concern herself with the norm on these gems. It's a beautiful album, and the official inspiration for Ray of Light. Buy it- it's definitely her most lasting musical statement. One of few LPs that will sound just as good 20 years from now than it does today.
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on August 18, 2000
By far the best Rhythm and Blues album a pop performer could do. Madonna keeps pushing that creative mind of hers into overdrive, this time with a funky mix of R&B, hip-hop, pop and even techno. She's really done it all when you hear this album. It's her artistic vision in many different shades. The album wanders interestingly into new territories that I'm sure Madonna never thought she would get into.
The album starts off with the autobiographical account of fame "Survival". It's a very strong track that's brilliantly upbeat dance with a funky twist. "Secret" is one of her best singles ever. A new direction altogether with blues laced guitars and her most captivating singing ever. She hooks you in with her voice. Smooth production of urban hooks combined with near trippy lightness make songs like "Inside Of Me", "Forbidden Love" and "Sanctuary" very interesting. Each has a distinctive style that keeps the record following. The return to the dance floor is found on the disco grooves of "Don't Stop". Also worth note are her complicated yet brilliant singles "Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature". "Bedtime Story" is a Bjork co-penned number that really floats lightly from deep techno to dance pop. Madonna's sensitive voice really makes it operate well. "Human Nature" is hip hoppy trip with Madonna battling the censors and critics armed with anger, honesty and cool jazzy production.
The whole album wraps up with the beautiful ballad "Take A Bow". With the help of Babyface, Madonna makes another heartbreaking ballad with lush strings and a great combination of the two superstar's vocals. That's something that just can't be bought. Another hugely diverse collection from the woman that changed the face of pop. I think it's easy to say that it was the help of the hip producers (Dallas Austin, Nelle Hooper, and the one's mentioned), but it's Madonna's artistic vision that makes the album flow so greatly while other pop albums with various producers sound clunky and mixed. It's a romantic mix of tragedy and hope all in one that manages to all fit together perfectly. Check out Madonna's best album if not second best after "Erotica".
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