Section 6: The Meanings
Is it true that Sadeness is about a particular person?
Sadeness is about Marquis de Sade (pronounced sahd). Marquis de Sade was born in 1740 and died in 1814. He was a controversial French novelist and essayist whose works were considered so obscene that many of them remained unpublished until the mid-1900s. He is regarded by some as insane and offensive, and by others as brilliant and descriptive.
Donatien Alphonse Francois Sade was born in Paris and started showing signs of mental disturbance in his 20's. This disturbance was shown through his scandals, acts of cruelty, and sexual behaviour. Sade spent most of the years from 1768 to 1803 in prison as a result of his writings and action. He was placed in an asylum in 1803, where he died in 1814.
Some of Sade's better known works include Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795), and 120 Days of Sodom, which was not published until 1904. In his writings, Sade tried to show that criminal acts and sexual abnormalities are natural to human behaviour. Not surprisingly then, the word sadism comes from his name! (Sadism refers to the enjoyment of cruelty, usually for sexual gratification) These days, his works are used to illustrate certain psychological theories.
It is interesting to note that on MCMXC a.D. the track is called Sadeness (notice the extra 'e'), a reference to his surname which was the result of a wordgame that Michael Cretu and his manager, Jürgen Thürnau, made up. The single that was released in the UK and Australia was called Sadness due to the record companies deciding to go with the dictionary spelling. The actual Gregorian chant in the song was recorded in Bayern, Germany between January 7 and 9, 1976.
Information gathered from the World Book Encyclopedia, and a letter from Jürgen Thürnau & Michael Cretu, March 1995
Callas Went Away is about Maria Callas, who was born in 1923 and died in 1977. She was an American-born soprano who become one of the world's best-known opera singers because of her fiery temperament and stirring singing & acting abilities. She made her debut in Athens at the age of 14, and made her U.S. debut in 1954 at the age of 31.
Callas Went Away has references to Maria Callas in both the mentioning of her voice in the lyrics, and the use of soprano singing throughout the song.
Way to Eternity should remind you of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind since its melody line is taken from the theme to this film.
The Voice & The Snake has a direct link to the Book of Revelation from the New Testament of the Bible. The Book of Revelation notably discusses the scroll with seven seals. When each seal was broken open, a particular result occurred - the first on the earth, the second on the sea, the third on the rivers, the fourth on the sun, the fifth on the beast, the sixth on the stars, and the seventh on the air. You will notice that this also relates to the first 'verse' of the track. Below is the references of the second 'verse', which details exactly what the result was, with the corresponding quote from the Bible:
The earth turned grey
The first angel blew his trumpet. Hail and fire, mixed with blood, came pouring down on the earth. A third of the earth was burnt up, a third of the trees, and every blade of green grass (Rev 8:7)
The sea turned black
Then the second angel blew his trumpet. Something that looked like a huge mountain on fire was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea was turned into blood (Rev 8:8)
The rivers turned red
Then the third angel blew his trumpet. A large star, burning like a torch, dropped from the sky and fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water (Rev 8:10)
The sun turned cold
Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet. A third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that their light lost a third of its brightness (Rev 8:12)
The beast turned pale
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle that was flying high in the air say in a loud voice, 'O horror! horror! How horrible it will be for all who live on earth when the sound comes from the trumpets that the other three angels must blow!' (Rev 8:13)
The stars turned fast
Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet. I saw a star which had fallen down to the earth, and it was given the key to the abyss. (Rev 9:1)
The air turned to poison
Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet... the horses' heads were like
lions' heads, and from their mouths came out fire, smoke, and sulphur.
A third of mankind was killed by those three plagues: the fire, the smoke,
and the sulphur coming out of the horses' mouths (Rev 9: 13, 17-18)
The Rivers of Belief is essentially a continuation of The Voice & The Snake and Knocking on Forbidden Doors as it continues through the Book of Revelation in the Bible. The first reference is shown where in the song it is sung "And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, silence covered the sky". In Revelation 8:1, it is stated that "When the lamb broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour".
The second reference is where it is sing "Take me back to the rivers of belief my friend. I look inside my heart. I look inside my soul. I promise you, I will return". The rivers are in reference to Revelation 22:1, where it is stated "The angel also showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, and coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb". The rest is in reference to where John falls down to his feet, ready to worship the angel. Here he is told "'Listen!' says Jesus. 'I am coming soon! I will bring my rewards with me, and give to each one according to what he has done" (Rev 22:12).
Apart from the reference to the Bible, The Rivers of Belief also has a reference to some CD booklets of MCMXC a.D.. On all but the US booklets of this album is the following:
The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom. (W.Blake)
* The pleasure of satisfying a savage instinct, undomesticated by the ego, is uncomparably much more intense than the one of satisfying a tamed instinct
* The reason is becoming the enemy that prevents us from a lot of possibilities of pleasure. (S.Freud)
* If you believe in the light, it's because of obscurity.
If you believe in happiness it's because of unhappiness,
If you believe in God, then you have to believe in the Devil (Father X, Exorcist, Church of Notre Dame, Paris)
As it is clearly seen, the last quote is very similar to some of the lyrics in the track, although not identical.
Silent Warrior is interpreted as Cretu's "position against the murderous insanity of colonisation and the combined genocide of the American Indians".
Information taken from Music Mag article from January 1994.
The Dream of the Dolphin refers to an old saying of the shamens telling us that the dolphins have slept away the conquest of the land and envy man for it. This is how scientists explain why dolphins attack creatures of the sea but not humans.
Information taken from Music Mag article from January 1994.
On the back cover of the album The CROSS of Changes is the track listing with each track's number surrounded by a symbol. The number of edges (connected 'lines') for each track is the same as the track number itself (for example, track 2 has 2 edges). In a letter from March 1995, Michael Cretu stated that the album was partly based on Numerology, but gave no further details.
Researching further some numerological theories can be put into place:
- There are 9 tracks on the album, and 9 images inside in the CD booklet (ie. excluding the front and back cover).
- The front cover is similar to the image for track 1, an orange circle.
- The first image inside the booklet, with the track listing, is the figure 1 in a circle (1 line).
- The second image, a man with some sort of illuminated cloud over is head, is a representation of metaphysical dualism (mine and matter). So the number 2 comes into play.
- The third image, an astronomical chart, has a 3-sided pyramid in the centre.
- The fourth image, the Hindu god Shiva, is not a certainty. It is, however, represented as a 4-sided square.
- The fifth image, a pentagram, has 5 sides. The pentagram is one of the oldest religious symbols and is usually linked with Celtic or Pagan religions. The 5 points represent the 5 elements - air, water, earth, fire, and spirit.
- The sixth image, currently unknown, has 6 wings and 6 circles.
- The seventh image, currently unknown but probably Islamic in nature, has not yet been worked out.
- The eighth image, an octagon, has 8 sides.
- The ninth image, probably a representation of the solar systems (the sun in the middle with the planets surrounding it), references 9 planets.
- The back cover has the same image as the that for track 9.
The writing on the CD itself is ancient Sumerian, dating approximately between 4,000-2,000B.C. The astrological symbols on the outside represent each house of the zodiac, including their position in the sky. From the top of the CD going clockwise they are Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Aries (there's an error here somewhere because I mention Aries twice!). The symbols in the middle of the CD represent seven of the twelve "celestial" bodies (the Sumerians believed in a twelth planet which orbited every 3,600 years). These are, from the top of the CD going clockwise, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol (Sun), Venus, Mercury, and Luna (Moon).
- The woodcut litho is a drawing of the Hindu god Shiva performing the dance of creation
- The drawing of a man inside a double circle is believed to have come from witchcraft and ceremonial magic. The upright five-pointed star within a circle is a religious symbol known as the pentacle. The symbols within the circles are planetary, showing Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, and Venus. Traditionally the pentacle is not shown depicted with a man, and would have element symbols (starting with the Akasha element), not planetary symbols.
The varying artwork in the booklet to Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi! and its accompanying singles shows "man machines" - a blend of human and machine. Thought by some to be a camera, the machinery is in fact "The Enigma Cryptographic Device", one of the best known ciper machines in the world. It was a device used during World War II by the German military to encode confidential material. The material sent was eventually decrypted by the Allied forces, consequently helping them in their war effort.
The device consisted of five main parts:
- A plugboard (containing from 0 to 13 dual-wired cables)
- Three ordered rotors, ordered left to right, which wired 26 input contact points to 26 output contact points positioned on alternate faces of a disc
- 26 serrations around the periphery of the rotors which allowed the operator to specify an initial rotational position for the rotors.
- A moveable ring on each of the rotors which controlled the rotational behaviour of the rotor immediately to the left by means of a notch
- A reflector half-rotor (which did not in fact rotate!) to fold inputs and outputs back onto the same face of contact points
The "morse code" at the start of the album has no meaning according to Michael Cretu. He states that the sample used comes from space.
The Child In Us uses the Gregorian chant Puer natus est nobis. It refers to Isaiah 9:6 in the Bible which describes the child born to humanity and how the government shall be upon its shoulders. It also states that His name will be called good things.
Go to Section 7: Miscellaneous