Thursday, November 6, 2014

Madonna-Bedtime Stories (1994)


Well that didn't take very long, now, did it? Me delving back into the 'M' entries of my music collection, that is. When I keep thinking about all of my favorite songs by everybody's favorite 'Material Girl', it's only inevitable that another date with the great pop princess Madonna is right on the horizon. Make that a late date, as I literally woke up from an evening nap and decided to stay up into the eleven o'clock hour to jam to "Bedtime Stories", my second all-time favorite Madonna album after 1984's "Like A Virgin". Hey, I'd get out of bed to listen to some Madonna any night of the week! And I've always liked how the title suggests that the music here has a nighttime, let's-get-ready-for-bed theme and feel to it.....or at least that's how my mind and my ears have interpreted it over the years. As with all of Madonna's albums up until 1998's "Ray Of Light", I have no less than three favorites, er, 'bedtime stories' on this 1994 gem, beginning with the bubbly, lightly-jazzed-up r&b number "Survival". Yes, it's that chilled voice of hers and the r&b/jazz/funk combination that turns me on here, and I like how she samples some of the lyrics from a couple of her own hits when she sings the lines 'whether it's heaven or hell, I'll be living to tell' and 'I'll never be your angel' (1986's "Live To Tell" and 1985's "Angel", of course, would be the hits I'm referring to). "Secret" is as seductive as it is addictive; I always get hypnotized by this song to the point I'm playing it over and over and singing along to it over and over! It's that smooth r&b groove layered between that subtle bubbly bounce and that piercing violin accompaniment that gets me going here, not to mention the way Madonna repeats 'mmm-mmm, something's coming over' in the main chorus. It's like, following that acoustic guitar intro, I can't wait until the beat kicks in! The bubbly r&b bounce doesn't stop on my #3 fave, "Don't Stop", which hypnotizes me into playing it and singing along to it repeatedly in much the same way that "Secret" does! I like that double-voice effect of the two Madonna's during the second parts of the two verses. Then that line where she goes 'sing lotty dotty'? It's like vintage, candy-sweet 80's Madonna wrapped in one tantalizingly playful package! Boy, I've sure gotta hand it to Madonna and the producers of these 'bedtime stories'; they sure knew how to get a guy all tranced into the music! Before R&B star Rihanna was applauded for her 2007 performance of the break-up ballad "Take A Bow", the Material Girl had already given her own show-stopping rendition on the final 'bedtime story' of this album. I'd forgotten Madonna even sings 'the show is over, say goodbye' in the lyrics. Proves how long it had been since I last listened in on this one before tonight rolled in. Whether there's romance in the air or heartbreak deep within, I get all swallowed up in these dreamy, lullaby types every time. Ironically, the album's title track doesn't fit the r&b/jazz/funk/trip-hop theme that reigns supreme in the production all throughout the rest of the album. Instead, it's a chilled downtempo cut where it's the producers mixing work that gets the most notable attention from my ears. And thinking about Rihanna now and that "Good Girl Gone Bad" album for which her "Take A Bow" was recorded, Madonna was pretty much a 'good girl gone bad' herself when she came out with her memorable hit, "Human Nature", not to be confused, of course, with the other memorable 1982 hit not having the same lyrics by the late King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. Oooh, I nearly missed out on mentioning another lovely bedtime story that I could sink into all night long: "Love Tried To Welcome Me". That atmospheric orchestral accompaniment, combined with Madonna's hushed vocals and the strumming of that Spanish guitar, makes this one feel like a never-ending daydream that I don't wanna wake up from! Wide awake now after playing these songs for myself again, so going to bed right now is definitely not an option:

1. Survival
2. Secret
3. I'd Rather Be Your Lover
4. Don't Stop
5. Inside Of Me
6. Human Nature
7. Forbidden Love
8. Love Tried To Welcome Me
9. Sanctuary
10. Bedtime Story
11. Take A Bow

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