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.
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.
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
BEDTIME STORY 5/5
TAKE A BOW 4/5
on July 11, 2004
Perhaps the most underappreciated album in her catalogue, even more so than Erotica. This album is the last gasp of the true Madonna we all came to love before Kabbalah, electronica, and a new joy for preaching claimed her soul :p
Starts off with a catchy song named "Survival" in which she sings "I'll never be an angel, I'll never be a saint it's true, i'm to busy surviving, whether it's heaven or hell I'm gonna be living to tell" which basically sums up Madonna in a nutshell. It's followed by the fabulous "Secret" with it's warm vocals and infectious production, then gets into two mediocre songs "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" and "Don't Stop" before picking up again with "Inside Of Me." This song is supposedly about her mother but it never felt that way to me, either way it's good tune with sweeet lyrics. Next up is an instant classic, Maddy's kiss off to her critics during the Erotica era, "Human Nature," "Did I say something true, oops I didn't know I couldn't talk about you" she says in an obviously irritated tone that is the perfect response.
I could go on and discuss the remaining songs, which are all great, but now I wanna mention her voice. She sounds great on this album and it's obvious she worked real hard in the studio to pull off the tuneful and varied sounds she uses to color her vocal.
All in all this was an excellent contribution to her discography and better than some of her later work.
on July 5, 2004
well i'd have to say that this is my favorite madonna cd ever. i feel that this cd is very diverse, making it a pleasurable listen throughout. the cd starts off with more dancey-like tracks such as "i'd rather be your lover" and "don't stop" and moves on to slower ballads including "inside of me" and "forbidden love"... this cd just has it all! just when you think madonna is all in love and "missing that special someone", well you are greeted with the famous "human nature" a track that does not fail to show yet another side of madonna; that of an outspoken strong woman... you can feel r&b influences [thanks to many contributions with babyface] as well as pop, but this cd also has the amazing track "bedtime story" with its techno-ambient feel [bjork being one of the co-writers of the song...mmm makes sense?] this track is arguably one of the most "different" type of song madonna had ever done at that point in her career ["ray of light" is another story]...
all in all i think that anyone who enjoys a true good mix of music all in one cd will enjoy this work to the fullest! whatever be your mood, pop this in and enjoy!
on June 21, 2004
It was not until I bought Bedtime Stories a few weeks ago that I realized that this is Madonna's most consistent and pleasing album ever. This might be because I am a rabid fan of r&b music, and to date, this is Madonna's most r&b album ever. The album is entirely pleasing because Madonna employed hitmakers like Babyface and Dallas Austin, both of which are r&b producing megaforces. The latter two succeed in giving Madonna warm, sensuous grooves. Madonna's vocals shimmer on tracks like Survival, with it's new jill swing influences and lush harmonies, and Secret with hits pulsing beats and Madonna's shimmering vocals.
Madonna turns the ballad 'Love Tried to Welcome Me' into a confessional poem of sorts when she declares: 'Love tried to welcome me/But my soul drew back/ Covered with dust and sin...' Every track is a winner on Bedtime Stories. Human Nature, with its hard driving beats and Madonna's biting lyrics, add another dimension to an already superb album.
Madonna closes this excellent album with 'Take a Bow,' a haunting and tender ballad fleshed with bittersweet lyrics. This indeed is among Madonna's best work ever. A must have for even casual listeners.
on May 28, 2004
This is one great piece of work. Madonna experimented with R&B and it sounded great. There were a few tracks that, to me, didn't seem to click. The title track "Bedtime Stories" is rather bizzare and out there. I'm not sure if I understand it completely and for me that was one of this release's flaws. The others are a great assortment of materials that seemed to go with the flow for Madonna. "Erotica" had Madonna flirting with the audience over sex and her views on it. After the flirtation, she takes you in, seduces you with these tracks, and closes out what seems to be her "Sex" days. It's rather smart musically.
There were great tracks on here that have over the years come to be known as Madonna's staple hits. "Secret" has one of the most alluring beats and chorus' that I've heard. It's slow grooving with an nice story that you have to admire Madonna for taking on. "Human Nature" is right up there as being one of the best tracks from this CD. It's shocking when you first hear it; she curses and then tells you she's not sorry. Songs like this are worth a listen to. They're not just mindless releases but thoughtful and empowering. "Take a Bow" is a fittinc conclusion to the CD. It sounds different from her other things and the message seemed to allude to the fact that Madonna was moving on in her career, life, and progress. It was a great transition into her future releases.
As for tracks that don't often get much mention, they were surprisingly good. I found them all to be different from her other material. They were less pop and, as she set out to do, sounded more R&B-like which was a genre she fit in well to. "Survival" is a great song- up-tempo, great vocals, a nice rhythm. I think this was single-release worthy and I'm not sure if it ever got that treatment. "Don't Stop" is a good song that's meant for dancing; the only flaw is that it has lines such as "say la-dee-da-dee" but other than that, a good take on a song. To round out the seduction Madonna lays out, "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" is catchy and leads into the more intimate part of the CD. "Inside of Me" and "Forbidden Love" are moodier, more sensual while not being overly vulgar.
This CD could be summed up in many manners. Great, a masterpiece, interesting. Sure. It's all of those things. I also would like to say that it's fun. I look at it as a continuation of "Erotica" and I'm not sure why it doesn't get its deserved acclaim and attention. Regardless, this is a CD that belongs in your collection.
on March 7, 2004
After the controversy surrounding the "Justify My Love" video, the "Sex" book and the "Erotica" album took Madonna's normally cute and innocent sex symbol image over the edge, she realized it was time for her to clean up her act. The result was "Bedtime Stories", a reflective release that was her last album for four years and a major preview of "Ray Of Light", which is a classic album.
In a way, "Bedtime Stories" is the last album to feature Madonna's siganture song style. It's the last one to feature anything blatantly sexual or extreme. It's amazing to see how Madonna contradicts herself on the album. On the somber opening track "Survival", she talks about how she managed overcome great strife and controversy and seems like she's apologizing, then she announces she's not sorry on the freaky but still very good "Human Nature", which became another hit single for The Material Girl. A little skewed, isn't it? "Secret" and "Take A Bow" were the other big hits from the album. In fact, the latter became the biggest hit of her career, staying at # 1 on the Hot 100 for 7 weeks.
"Bedtime Stories" is a highly underrated album that should be rvisited and realized for the great work it contains. It marks the end of Madona's bad - girl image, at the appropiate age of 36. Also, there are several beautiful pictures of Madonna in the booklet that are nice to look at.
on February 18, 2004
I'm a big Madonna fan, but I don't automatically like everything she does just because it's Madonna. I have to say, this is the Madonna album I always come back to. To me it's where I had wanted her to go since her first album. I like her doing R&B. I have a DJ gig where I play music from The Brand New Heavies, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Joss Stone, Craig David, etc and this fits right in. I love it when I throw on I'D RATHER BE YOUR LOVER or SURVIVAL and people start bopping in their seats trying to figure out if it's new Madonna music or old Madonna they'd never heard before. I usually go from Brandy's I WANNA BE DOWN right into INSIDE OF ME.
I think this album was highly underrated and I, too, am surprised by the fact that some of the best songs on here never made it to radio or even to live performances. If you have a karaoke button on your Awia stereo, hit it when you play FORBIDDEN LOVE and her vocal goes into the background and Babyface is whispering loud and clear "Don't go near the fire, don't go in the dark, don't give into your desire, he will only break your heart." It's pretty cool. I'd love to see her venture back into this genre. I thought it suited her well. BEDTIME STORY and SANCTUARY do seem a bit out of place on this album, but they were a definite foretelling of RAY OF LIGHT.
People love and hate her for her diversity. She has done R&B, Pop, Electronica, Rock, dabbled in country, Show tunes, and has some of the most striking ballads of our time. We forget that she writes & produces most of her music. That takes some talent.
I love that I've been able to give this album a second life in the club where I DJ. I'm thinking of buying a few used copies to give away as prizes.
on January 9, 2004
My fifth favorite Madonna album. If you listen closely to this album, you will hear a major sound change. On her previous eight albums, Madonna has been known as an artist to record Pop music. For this album, the album being her nineth album, she has decided to experiment with mixing R&B with Techno, making it Techno R&B. That is an amazing combination, which makes this album one of Madonna's best.
Not a bad song. She's right. Sometimes life can be all about survival.
The first single from the album. What a song. A love the acoustic guitar. The song is about a person who tells his or her lover that he or she is a transvestite. Her vocals are so smooth on this song that it gives me the chills.
I'D RATHER BE YOUR LOVER
Not bad, but not all that great.
A great song to dance to. She talks about getting everybody to get up and just dance. The first verse simply says, "Get up on the dance floor. Everything is grooving. Get up on the dance floor. Got to see you moving. Let the rhythm take you. Let the baseline pump you. Feel it in your body. Sing la dee da dee". The chorus simply says, "Don't stop doin' what you're doin', baby. Don't stop. Keep movin', keep groove. Don't stop doin' what you're doin', baby. Don't stop. Keep movin', keep groovin'". A song that should not be skipped.
INSIDE OF ME
Madonna had written this for her mother, who passed away of breast cancer, when Madonna was only five years old. The music weird for a dedication, but I thought this was a nice gesture. It shows how much Madonna loves and misses her mother.
The fourth and final single from the album. First off, the song is awesome. Madonna wrote this song to tell the critics and the press to but out and let her perform the way she wants. In the chorus, she says, "And I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry. It's human nature. It's human nature. And I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry. ... Handle it". She's right about that. Why should she have to be sorry for what she did in 1992-1993? She'll express herself through music the way she wants, even if it means through sex. They need to know that sex does sell and it sells very, very well.
Amazing song. Although this was not a single, some fans favored this ballad so much that Madonna had to include this on her greatest ballads compilation SOMETHING TO REMEMBER. I don't blame anybody for loving this song. I love it too. Great song. My favorite part is where she sings, "If I only had one wish, love would always feel like this. Wishing on the stars above. Forbidden love. If I only had one dream, love would be more than it seems. Forbidden love. Forbidden love. Love without doubt. Love without doubt. Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac".
LOVE TRIED TO WELCOME ME
This is a beautiful song. I guess it means that she is not loved by anyone and does not want to be loved by someone out of pity.
Although I love this song, it creeps me out.
The third single from the album. Very techno, but a killer song. The video is to this song has to be her weirdest video ever. But I like it and it fits the song perfectly, I think.
TAKE A BOW
The second single from the album. This became her eleventh #1 hit single and it became her best-selling hit single, grabbing the #1 spot for seven whole weeks. YOU GO, MADONNA.
This is a must-have Madonna album. Don't listen to the people that said this album is great. They are not as big of fans of Madonna as I am. I am Madonna's biggest fan, which means I really pay attention the music I hear from her and I know what's actually good and what's not. So far, she has given us the goods, no wait... She has given us the greats and this album is one of her greats. Buy this album 'cause I said it's a great album. Trust me.
on January 5, 2004
One of Madonna's most underappreciated albums to date. In my opinion, it's one of her best albums, and my favourite ever made by her. Every song has a special meaning, like "Human Nature". There are true gems on this album. "Secret" and "Take A Bow" did it well in the charts. "Take a Bow" became her greatest hit ever. Well, it peaked at the #1 spot in the US, but it didn't even get a chance to hit the Top 10 in the UK, making it her worst single from this album there.
I just don't understand why they didn't make this single material. It's one of my favourite tracks from this album with meaningfull texts. To me, it looks like perfect radio material, what a shame. Once you hear this song it can be that it will get stuck in your head. Yes, it is one example of "those songs". Great melody and chorus. 8.5/10
The first and prabably best single on this album. It's a song about a transvestite that tells her/his secret to her/his lover. That also is the message related behind the title song. I love the guitar and Madonna's vocals in here. This song won't get bored after listening 10 times or so to it. 9/10
3: I'd Rather Be Your Lover
This song is kind of fun and can be kind of irritating either. This song has a groovy beat and even has a guest entry, done by Me'Shell NdegéOcello. It makes the song complete. It's one of the many songs on this album with an R&B flavour, but this one also contains some rap, it's pretty cool. The thing that bugs me is that the chorus is played way too much! But the song is good enough to forget about that. 8/10
4: Don't Stop
I had my doubts about this song, when I heard it for the first time I knew I was going to like it, but, there is something that is missing here. Sounds kind of something that would be played in the eighties alot, doesn't it? Well, don't look back there. This is Madonna's goodbye to that time. No single material, but it was played on the radio sometimes to replace "Human Nature" because of its offensive language. Overplayed chorus once again. 7.5/10
5: Inside of Me
Well, I really like the background sounds on here. This again would be perfect single material, but it just couldn't happen. Kind of mellow song about her mother and the state Madonna's in. 8/10
6: Human Nature
Not one of the best songs on here, but surely a big favourite! Madonna against the media, well, that's the thing that makes this song great, the meaning of it, the text. That's the thing that makes this a powerfull song, strangly even good enough for a dance. 8/10
7: Forbidden Love
A classy love song. Great tune, great leading vocals by Madonna, and you even get to hear Babyface on this one with his backing vocals. The more you listen to it, the more you will like this one! As the song goes on, it will get better and better, giving you the chills! Love this one. 8/10
8: Love Tried to Welcome Me
Someone who can't get in love. That's what this song is about. Great vocals. This song is mainly based on taste. Well, it's not really my taste, but don't get me wrong. I like it. 7.5/10
Very original! It can take a while to get used to. It wouldn't be great single material, but it's surely cool listening to because of its dark sounds. This song was way before its time. Cool electronic beats. 8/10
10: Bedtime Story
I was very suprised when I saw the video of this song, it's stunning! The song didn't impress me that much. Again, way before its time. 7/10
11: Take a Bow
A huge hit. And I don't really understand why. Again, backing vocals by Babyface. The melody sounds very charming and catchy. While it didn't make the Top 10 in the UK, it is her biggest single to date in the US. I'll give this song a chance by grading it high above average because of the sounds and vocals. I also like the video. 8.5/10
OVERALL GRADE: 8
Underestimated but perfect. That makes this album special. I truly recommend this one!