Sadeness (Part One)

Album: MCMXC A.D (1990)
Charted: 1 5


  • The title is a combination of the words "Sade" and "sadness." "Sade" refers to Marquis de Sade, a French novelist whose sexual activities gave us the word "sadism." He believed sex had to be painful in order to be pleasurable.
  • The background vocals are a Gregorian chant, which is a kind of singing popular in a lot of church music. The lyrics are in Latin, which are how many of the chants were sung in church.
  • The Gregorian chant on this song came from a recording of The Kapelle Antiqua Choir, which is based in Munich. When this became a hit, the choir sued Enigma, who did not ask permission but did distort the sample. They settled the case.
  • Enigma is the husband and wife duo of Michael and Sandra Cretu. Michael worked as a studio musician before working on his own material under the group name Enigma, Sandra providing the vocals.
  • "Sadeness (Part One), is the first of three parts that comprise the 11 1/2 minute track "Principles of Lust." The other two parts are "Find Love", and "Sadeness (Reprise)". >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2

Comments: 33

  • Alexander Balmore from San Salvador Who is the Woman Who appears in the Video Sadeness? Thanks
  • Naziru Mustapha Danlami from Africa,nigerian Where is the enigma came from ?
  • Chris from Germany one of the best and unusual chart songs of the last 30 years

    This was made by a german musician of Romanian descent. no one knew that at the time. In the USA the song was huge. The album sold 5 million copies and the Single reached #5. KROQ again was the first radio station to play that song
  • RosieFor me, this song (rather like the whole album MCMXC) is about the duality of concepts. Heaven vs hell, virtue vs vice, spiritual vs physical gratification etc. He states it quite directly in one of his closing moments on the album. "If you believe in light, it is because of darkness etc". The idea that one cannot exist without the other. (Or at least one has no meaning without the other for point of reference - eg would we notice the experience of daylight, if we never experienced nighttime?)

    I guess this is the conflict explored during this song Sadeness, can I truly understand God/Heaven/virtue if I have not experienced the Devil/Hell/vice? A theme that continues throughout the whole album, including the personal conflicts it generates.

    This black and white view of the world does seem rather Medieval; young perhaps. I find there is a maturation of thought in the album "Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi", where things are looked at things through the softer lens of leadership, inspiration and teaching, rather than the opposing absolutes.

    That is my take on "Sadeness MCMXC anyway.
  • Krzysztof from PolandDo anybody known, where teledisk was created? I'mean I think, I remember this doors...
  • Jaswalt from Warrior, AlabamaAaron of Malaysia, it's funny how ones experiences while young influence how we feel when we hear a song like this. I grew up in the California desert and spent countless moonless nights hiking in the hills and listening to this song on many of those occasions. Yes, hiking late on countless moonless nights. Now when I hear this song I picture myself driving with my girl on a moonless night in the desert mountains with a sky lit brilliantly only by the countless stars above. We'd stop at a lookout point some 4,000 feet above the twinkling lights of a desert city below. Even up this high and well after midnight, the air is warm and the breeze is strong. Fortunately this is not just imagination, but a reality many times experienced. I know your idea is different, but it's awesome how this song has this power to transport one.
  • Jaswalt from Warrior, AlabamaSeveral people here have mentioned how the church sees sex as evil. Churches do NOT teach that sex is evil to any extent. Promiscuity is why churches rail against. There is not type of sex or amount of sex that the church is against. On the contrary, any church that is honest with its parishioners, teach that sex, often, even adventurous, is necessary to keeping a happy, lovely, healthy marriage. There's plenty of scriptures to back it up. Just read Song of Solomon. It's in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. It's basically 2300 year old love poetry.
  • Anthony from Rome GaYou think that's scarey listen to the eyes of truth.
  • Eduardo from Mexico CityHi everyone. I like a lot Enigma and have four of the records and listened a lot in the 90s. I don't know if I'm crazy but have you tried to analyze the songs and the messages in the records? It's like if Mr. Cretu belongs to any secret society. For example, the lyrics of "Second Chapter" of "The Cross of Changes" clearly states " we came out from the deep to help to understand but not to kill, it takes many lives to succeed to clear the deeds of many hundred years". In the same album, the song " Silent Warrior" I believe the lyrics talk about Jesuschrist and the "cross of changes".
    And what about the álbum "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi" (the King is dead, long live the King). The whole álbum talk about the loss of a Master or Leader. For example, the hommonimus song "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi" begins with a sound like a telegraph, like sending a message to the whole world "things are changing but nothing changes and still there are changes Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi". With the song "why!" clearly express the sadness for lossing the "friend" and asks why this happened.
    Finally in the song "The Roundabout" states in some part of the lyrics that "...the die is teaching us to live". Is like if someone has killed and there is a big loss and asks why and a message of be careful we have to be aware and learn how to hide ourselves.
    Well, maybe I'm delirious but for me there are some facts or key mesases in the lyrics of this great musician.
    Regards from Mexico City!!!
  • Nino from Roxas, PhilippinesThe dichotomy between body and soul. And mind and heart.
  • Aaron from Petaling Jaya, Selangor, MalaysiaWell, this song is always with me wherever I am, home, car or even my mp3 player. My parents think I am too obsessed with it. But for me when I listen to this, I imagine myself just driving through some misty cold road in the hills like early in the morning with my girlfriend. Just park the car and make love all day and listen to this song. Wow. Wish I can do that though!
  • Gunnernkosa from Kampala, UgandaI really like this song, but after internalizing the lyrics, I find it very crazy. To me, this song is talking about the struggles that the average person has in their daily lives, regarding evil and good, i.e. making a choice between wrong and right. In the song, some one asks Satan what he seeks. The person in question wonders how Satan can give so much pleasure, yet he is against God. The person therefore fails to resist the pleasures offered by Satan, and keeps asking for more...

    Kampala, Uganda
  • Bob from West Leyden, NyI agree with Kristy of Saco Maine

    (correction in location of city)
  • Ryan. from Saint Clair Shores, MiThe guy from Vancouver nailed it. He pretty much added to what I thought that song was about, which was essentially the struggle between religious beliefs and sexuality.
  • Justine from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysiadave, leah and theo,

    you guys can disagree till the cows come home (and i really don't understand how hard it is to give google a chance) but the chants are NOT gregorian or native american or japanese (all non-asians love to credit japan for every damn thing under the sun). alan's right. it's an aboriginal drinking song from the ami tribe in taiwan.

  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeHi guys. With redgards to the question of the origin of the chants. I read it somewhere when the song first came out in the early to mid 90s and that is how I found out the Chinese tribe. I did a search and I found the entry on Wikipedia here
  • Theo from Johannesburg, South AfricaAlan, I disagree also. The chants in "Return To Innocence" are actually excerpts from an ancient Japanese drinking song
  • Chris from Washington Dc, DcI agree with Kristy. An ex-girlfriend would ALWAYS play this song when we were having sex. Needless to say, if this happens to play on Internet radio at work, I have to press the skip button...
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NySorry, Alan but the source of the chant in Return to Innocence is Native American.
  • Kathiya from Kandy, OtherThe first time I listened to this song, I didnt know a single Latin word of it...Somehow or other it reached the depths of my soul....its music...its mistery...its dream...
    Then I Sade was there stannding in front of me, holding out his hand....
    I think that simple experience would tell you all how great this song is, and how it can arouse the power of imagination in human mind.
    I, the daughter of dreams, and of it.
  • Intertextual from Vancouver, CanadaFirst of all, I really think this song, and many of Enigma's songs are about the conflict between the physical (body, sexuality, corporeal) and the spiritual (meaning of life, spiritual evolution, values and morals). This is immediately made clear in the music itself - the contrast between the ethereality of much of the spiritual/religious music such as Gregorian chants and others that they sample, with their grinding, techno, primitive and sexy beats.

    In my opinion, Enigma is not at all Christian in their theology - they offer absolutely no solutions, but only bring the ideas into question. Enigma uses religious music from many different cultures including Christianity, Islam, Hindu, and native peoples, etc. which suggest they are much more easily classified as New Age - a belief that all religions share common spiritual beliefs, but there is no true theology or discipline behind New Age: it is based on personal exploration and it is "situation-specific."

    If you were to listen to all of Enigma's music, some of it is explicitly New Age, especially the concept behind the name of one of their albums, The Screen Behind the Mirror."

    The Marquis de Sade may be the writer who others later used as a historical figure in the term sadism or the practice and beliefs of sado-masochism, but contemporary sado-masochism is entirely different than what the Marquis described or practiced.

    I see this song as clearly playing with (not coming to any conclusions about) the idea of sadism as a sexual/spiritual practice - it believes there is a spiritual release into Oneness, through the techniques of domination of submission through sexual practices that include pain and humiliation. Practitioners describe a religious ecstasy when certain thresholds are crossed.

    The Marquis de Sade is referred to as a representative of the practice of sado-masochism. In a sense, the questioner is conflicted between her Christian beliefs that sex, domination, submission, pain and humiliation are evil, while she herself is tempted by them, or perhaps has experienced them.

    She asks:
    Sade, tell me
    Sade, give it to me ("give it to me" is a sexual reference)
    Let us come in peace (a play on the word "come")
    In the name of Christ, Amen (a teasing sacrilegious reference in this context).

    Sado-masochism is a paradox, because it promotes a powerful pleasure to its practitioners, and a type of spiritual experience that feels "divine" while using techniques that are generally considered evil.

    Ironically, some interpretations of Christianity, particularly as practiced the Medieval era, promoted submission and domination by the Catholic Church, including self-flagellation and the punishment of the body (the corporeal) to achieve the incorporeal (spiritual awakening).

    Keep in mind that Michael and Sandra Cretu also live on the Spanish island of Ibiza, reknown for its wild, rave and party scene, and are highly involved in the dance club music industry.

    Finally, in many of Enigma's videos, there are explicit references to the celebration of the body and sexuality, and references to sado-masochism.
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeSorry but I disagree. "Return To Innocence" had chants that were recorded of some tribe or monks from some part of China
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEngima's other big hit (1993's "The Return To Innocence") also featured Gregorian chants. I like this song, although I must admit it's very frightening to listen to in the dark...
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaI think this song is about Sade, the singer (she sang smooth operator).
  • Sebastian from Providence, RiI was visiting a website the other day, and they made a poll about which Enigma song has more sexual content. Guess what? This one won. I love this song, but not just because of that. It is good.
  • Marlow from Perththis whole album was a revolution. towards modern day trance... certainly a pioneer of todays electronica
  • William from Toronto, CanadaThis is one very creepy song in my opinion. from the Monks chanting to the orgasmic breathing in the middle.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandTakashi, you're talking out of your arse... This song is immence and very listenable
  • Dale from Henderson, KyHey Kristy from Saco,ME sounds like we need to get together and listen to Enigma ;) and that is all I have to say :)
    -Dale Evansville,IN
  • Kristy from Saco, MeThis is a great song to have sex to... thats all i have to say. :)
  • Takashi from Tokyo, JapanI think this song is annoying. No offense to anyone who likes it, but it gave me nightmares when i first heard it...:)
  • Lauren from Schertz, TxI was told it's all very Christian/Religious and failed to see it at first. I suppose if you look deep enough, it is.

    I'm not very Christian, but Enigma is great nonetheless.
  • Stephanie from Thurmont, MdYes, the Gregorian chant is popular in church music. But if you look beyond the fact of the chant, and actually go and translate it--not only the chant in this song, but the chants and foreign language bits in many of Enigma's songs--you realize something else: Enigma's music is deeply religious and Christian. The version of the song that I posted the lyrics for is from the album "Love, Sensuality, Devotion." There are many versions of this song, however.
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