"It's nice... and that's about it." is where I am with Take A Bow. I have to give it credit for being the song that was the first big step in repairing her image post-Erotica, but for this to be her biggest hit in the US... why? I guess it was really good timing and a beautifully shot and aesthetically pleasing video.

The Babyface sound was HUGE at the time and all over radio.
Two albums top ten in the U.S and WW. Queen of Quarantine.
Worldwide iTunes Album Chart - 2020/05/01 |
3 NEW Madonna - I Don’t Search I Find 1 3 (x1)
8 = Madonna - Bedtime Stories 2
That special with Kurt Loder was glorious.

"I've never met the woman... Rather transparent, wouldn't you say?"
"Is that damn Bodyguard soundtrack still number one?"
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It's like a symphony condensed into 5 minutes. I know people say it's very of its time but I'd be hard pressed to find something else Babyface worked on that matches its scale and romantic sweep.


Also, it's not like other forum favorites aren't very "of their time." Such a silly criticism.
The slightly haunting imagery of Sanctuary combined with that vocal and Watermelon-Man-sampling beat always stunned me. I tend to think of the song as a precursor to Mer Girl. Kinda sends shivers down my spine. It feels dark.

“Who needs the sun, when the rain's so full of life
Who needs the sky, when the ground's open wide
It's here in your arms I want to be buried
You are my sanctuary...
Who needs a smile, when a tear's so full of love...
Who needs a home, with the stars up above
Who needs the light, with the darkness in your eyes”
Take a Bow is glorious and when the next tour comes around, I can expect the usual "She should perform it" posts.
I may get slapped for saying this, but I honestly don't know if she could vocally perform that song now. Madonna had a such a deep voice back in the early 90s. She did perform it at least once on the Rebel Heart Tour. "Take a Bow" resurrected her music career in the US BIG TIME. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing that song. It was insane.

Bedtime Stories really deserves its own mini-tour. I'm repeating myself, but, oh, well. It's such a sophisticated body of work.

Honestly, nothing beats 90s Madonna. The 80s were big for her but people were still on the fence about her actually being a creative force. The 90s not only had the music but the persona and really pushing boundaries. The woman literally had a new hairstyle every other week. It was just amazing. It was her iconic decade. There were so many sides to her presented.

I would love for Madonna's past albums to be re-released on cassette. I have all the vinyls.

EDIT: Bedtime Story music video storyboard art:





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Continuing my Madonna rare videos hunt the other day, managed to track down a few new ones and remind myself of some that I forgot about, so thought I should make a tiny list and highlight a few. Excluded the Dan O Rama/Aviddiva ones as, rightfully so, most of them have been uploaded by M's channel.

After digging through some ETV archives and various websites, I have uncovered the existence of:
Beautiful Stranger (ETV Bonus Mix)
Beautiful Stranger (Calderone Remix)
Express Yourself (Remix)
Express Yourself (Original Audio Version)
I'm pretty sure I've seen a remix video of Beautiful Stranger on TV many years ago but it appears they're not anywhere to be found on video sharing websites. Any chance anyone knows what I'm on about and maybe has a clue where I can find these?

I love these little bits from her archive and the easter eggs in each video with outtakes and the use of b-roll.
I love how Bedtime Stories worked as commentary on her perceived image/treatment by the media and public, even just on a more allegorical level in songs that are not explicitly about it, AND how it doubled as a warmer sonically, more romantic take on the subjects she first tackled with Erotica, feeling a bit like a resolution/last chapter/catharsis for everything the Erotica era had brought. It was all so incredibly intuitive, poetic, and effective. And that's before considering how the album works as a bridge from her Erotica sound to her Ray of Light sound. The craftsmanship, the growth, the layers. A true artiste.

Take a Bow is also phenomenal. The idea that its not very Madonna is so odd to me, I can't see how it doesn't fit perfectly with Rain, Live To Tell, Spanish Eyes, and I'll Remember. Same sense of melody, similarly grand arrangement, similar scale in terms of approach and subject lyrically, etc.
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