Rolling Stone (12/15/94, pp.93-94) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...Madonna has come up with some awfully compelling sounds....lush soul and creamy balladry....Bass-heavy grooves pushing along when more conventional sentiments threaten to bog it down..."
Musician (12/94, pp.91-92) - "...BEDTIME STORIES is closer to her first three albums, putting a heavier emphasis on pop and dance content than on straight-up soul....BEDTIME STORIES doesn't raise hackles or cultivate controversy....It simply concentrates on the music..."
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #26 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Stephen Holden's list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "...Easily Madonna's best album..."
NME (Magazine) (12/24/94, p.23) - Ranked #30 in NME's list of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
NME (Magazine) (10/29/94, p.47) - 9 (out of 10) - "...Initially sweet and polished, BEDTIME STORIES is ultimately her most lasting LP to date..."
Personnel: Madonna (vocals); Tommy Martin (guitar); Colin Wolfe (bass); Marius DeVries (programming); Niki Harris (background vocals); Dallas Austin, Rick Sheppard.
Producers: Nellee Hooper, Madonna, Dallas Austin, Dave "Jam" Hall, Babyface.
For Madonna, pop music is the canvas of her greatest aspiration. While some critics might be ready to write her off, BEDTIME STORIES reasserts Madonna's claim to the R&B/dance floor turf she ceded to others as her own productions became elaborately self-conscious. And where performers like R. Kelly filled the breach with risque, sexually explicit fare, BEDTIME STORIES marks Madonna's return to a more stylized, elegant form of R&B.
Not that Madonna has gotten herself to a nunnery, as the soft-focus ooohing and aaahing of "Inside Of Me" demonstrates, but the overall approach on BEDTIME STORIES is less carnal, more romantic (like the difference between the Supremes and Salt N' Pepa). But in collaborating with innovative producers such as Babyface and Dallas Austin, Madonna has again positioned herself on the cutting edge of modern R&B (compare the layered, collage-like production of "I'd Rather Be Your Lover" and "Human Nature" to Dallas Austin's innovative collaborations with Joi on THE PENDULUM VIBE, or, for that matter, with the eerie "Bad Baby" from P.I.L.'s METAL BOX).
The spooky "Sanctuary" samples Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" to create an African backdrop for Madonna's tale of earthy devotion, while the Icelandic diva Bjork's elliptical "Bedtime Stories" propels Madonna way beyond the limits of language on this crafty, near Eastern textured arrangement. The Oriental-flavored R&B of "Take A Bow" provides a confessional epilogue for this delicately-mannered program.
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