Today in Madonna History: January 5, 1995

On January 5 1995, Madonna’s fabulous Bedtime Stories album was certified platinum (for shipment of 1 million units).

Barbara O’Dair reviewed the album for Rolling Stone magazine:

After the drubbing she has taken in the last few years, Madonna deserves to be mighty mad. And wounded anger is shot through her new album, Bedtime Stories, as she works out survival strategies. While always a feminist more by example than by word or deed, Madonna seems genuinely shocked at the hypocritical prudishness of her former fans, leading one to expect a set of biting screeds. But instead of reveling in raised consciousness, Bedtime Stories demonstrates a desire to get unconscious. Madonna still wants to go to bed, but this time it’s to pull the covers over her head.

Still, in so doing, Madonna has come up with some awfully compelling sounds. In her retreat from sex to romance, she has enlisted four top R&B producers: Atlanta whiz kid Dallas Austin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Dave “Jam” Hall and Britisher Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul), who add lush soul and creamy balladry. With this awesome collection of talent, the record verily shimmers. Bass-heavy grooves push it along when more conventional sentiments threaten to bog it down. Both aspects put it on chart-smart terrain.

A number of songs — “Survival,” “Secret,” “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” (to which Me’Shell NdegéOcello brings a bumping bass line and a jazzy rap) — are infectiously funky. And Madonna does a drive-by on her critics, complete with a keening synth line straight outta Dre, on “Human Nature”: “Did I say something wrong?/Oops, I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex (I musta been crazy).”

But you don’t need her to tell you that she’s “drawn to sadness” or that “loneliness has never been a stranger,” as she sings on the sorrowful “Love Tried to Welcome Me.” The downbeat restraint in her vocals says it, from the tremulously tender “Inside of Me” to the sob in “Happiness lies in your own hand/It took me much too long to understand” from “Secret.”

The record ultimately moves from grief to oblivion with the seductive techno pull of “Sanctuary.” The pulsating drone of the title track (co-written by Björk and Hooper), with its murmured refrain of “Let’s get unconscious, honey,” renounces language for numbness.

Twirled in a gauze of (unrequited) love songs, Bedtime Stories says, “Fuck off, I’m not done yet.” You have to listen hard to hear that, though. Madonna’s message is still “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” This time, however, it comes not with a bang but a whisper.

Today in Madonna History: November 29, 1994

On November 29 1994, the second single from Madonna’s Bedtime Stories album, Take A Bow, was released. The song was written and produced by Madonna and Babyface.

In Steve Sullivan’s Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings Volume 2, he reviews the hit single:

A gorgeous melancholy ballad of unrequited love, with the object of the singer’s affection being someone who hides behind a role playing mask which only she can see. Babyface makes the song virtually a duet with Madonna, echoing her words with his high tenor wafting dreamily behind her, and the song’s minimalist arrangement is impeccably elegant.

Today in Madonna History: November 23, 1994

On November 23 1994, Madonna was interviewed by Jana Lynne White at the St. James hotel in Los Angeles for Canada’s long-running, award-winning series, TheNewMusic. Jana had previously interviewed Madonna in 1992 during promotion for the Erotica album.

Today in Madonna History: November 19, 1994

On November 19 1994, Bedtime Stories‘ lead single, Secret, peaked at #2 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart in the U.S.

Secret would spend a total of 26 weeks on the Hot AC chart.

Today in Madonna History: September 8, 1994

On September 8 1994, Madonna presented the award for Video of the Year at the MTV VMA’s. She was escorted onstage by David Letterman, poking fun at their supposed feud following Madonna’s infamous profanity propelled appearance on Letterman earlier that year.

The appearance was intended to generate buzz for her soon-to-be-released single, Secret and its accompanying album, Bedtime Stories.

Today In Madonna History: July 15, 1995

On July 15 1995, Madonna’s Human Nature single peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

The North American Human Nature single was backed with the album version of Sanctuary.

Today in Madonna History: January 7, 1995

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On January 7 1995, Take A Bow slid to #21 on the UK Singles chart after reaching a peak of #16 on December 24th, 1994.

While Take A Bow remains her longest-running #1 hit in the US, its disappointing UK chart performance marked an end to Madonna’s spectacular run of 35 consecutive top-ten UK singles from 1984’s Like A Virgin to 1994’s Secret. Take a bow, indeed!

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