Sadeness Part I Review

[Sadeness part 1 Cover]

by Gavin Stok June 3 1996

The first single from MCMXC a.D., Sadeness, is as good as a single as MCMXC a.D. is as an album. Featuring 4 mixes, each proves its own worth through the uniquely different samples and rhythms that each has.

The single begins with the radio edit of the track which is essentially the same as on the album but without the lead-in and lead-out. Mixing what have become known as the Enigma 'trademarks' it perfectly blends Gregorian chant, French lyrics, flute, and electronic sounds to evoke a spirit and energy which is sensual and unmistakable. Together with the beat, it has a flow and sound which is unrecognised in any pop or radio song, yet is as addictive and catchy. The radio edit of the track is one which has stood the test of time, and will continue to for many years.

The extended trance mix of the album is literally identical to the radio edit but instead goes for 5:04 due to there being an extra 40 seconds of music bridged in at the 2:35 mark. Through the use of a different beat and the way the extra lyrics are spoken, it gives the track more of a sense of drama. This is further heightened due to the lead up of the part of the track where the music stops and you just hear Sandra breathing being longer. I prefer this version over the radio edit for this reason.

The meditation mix is shorter than the album version with a duration of 3:01. It has a different beat, complete with bells, and sounds Indian in nature. What it offers is a quieter version of the track, with dramatic parts of the original track removed, and the calming sounds of bells instead being prominent. Unfortunately though the track is too short for the listener to get invovled in. This version of the track appears on the limited edition of MCMXC a.D., but this version has an abrupt ending whereas the album version stretches out to lead into the next track.

Finally the violent US remix of the album offers a totally different view of the track. As the title suggests, it is heavier and focusses more on the sadism factor of the track than the calming sensual tones! Featuring men screaming, a pounding beat which consists of men grunting, an electric guitar riff, and the sound of thunder, the track loses all of the sensuality that features in the other versions. The Gregorian chants are still there, but all the female vocals are gone. What is so appealing about this mix is that it is so different from the album version. It offers a totally new perspective on a track and gives it a totally different direction. One has to wonder whether this type of track is what Michael Cretu created before the version of Sadeness that we hear today, or after. Regardless, this mix is a fantastic variation on the final thing and best heard loud!

Overall the Sadeness single offers 3 distinctively different mixes of a track each of which are as original as the album version. For this reason alone it is an essential part of any fan's collection.

Best Remixes

  • Extended Trance Mix
  • Violent US Remix