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> Secret ● 25 years on
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Medellíam
post Oct 23 2019, 08:08 PM
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In early 1994, Madonna continued to work with Shep Pettibone on an album that would follow the sound of Erotica, however her decision to explore a softer, R&B sound led to Madonna replacing Pettibone with names like Babyface, Dave Hall and Dallas Austin. The latter reworked one of Pettibone's productions, 'Something's Coming Over Me', taking it from the depths of the club and giving it a soulful, acoustic funk makeover. Re-titled as 'Secret', the song deals with the realisation that we are in control of our destiny and happiness.

'Secret' was officially released as the lead single to Bedtime Stories on September 27th. Ahead of release, Madonna teased the song in an audio message available online, one of the earliest examples of using the Internet as a means of promotion. Access to album information, artwork and a music video snippet were later available.

Directed by Melodie McDaniel, the music video combines classic Hollywood beauty and a rough modern contemporary. Madonna evokes the style of Jean Harlow as she journeys through the streets of Harlem, passing people of many looks and backgrounds going through their daily life. Referring to the setting of the video, Madonna commented on the misconception of Harlem being a place of sadness and despair, despite there being a lot of beauty to be seen, even if it's not immediately recognised or appreciated. Further into the video, Madonna finds herself in the lap of a maternal older woman who baptises her and, in the closing moments, Madonna is united with a man and child. Upon its MTV premiere on October 4th, the video generated many a theory of what the 'secret' may be. It received strong rotation on the network, as did the official remix video, which became the first of its kind to top their music video countdown.

A lack of TV appearances, performances and magazine interviews was purposely decided as a way to bring the attention back to the music and not on what Madonna said or did. The decision seemed to pay off as 'Secret' was another commercial success, particularly in the US where its #30 debut was the third highest of Madonna's career, eventually climbing to a peak of #3 as well as topping the Hot Dance Songs chart. In the UK, 'Secret' became Madonna's 35th consecutive Top 10 since 1984's 'Like a Virgin' - a record still held to this date.

'Secret' was successful in its attempts to move on from the controversy surrounding the Erotica era without sacrificing what was loved about Madonna: a bold look, an air of intrigue and a great pop song. 25 years on, what are your thoughts on 'Secret'?
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Medellíam
post Oct 23 2019, 08:14 PM
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Live Performances

Wetten, dass..? (1995)



Drowned World Tour (2001)



Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008)



Rebel Heart Tour (2016)

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Medellíam
post Oct 23 2019, 08:21 PM
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'Something's Coming Over Me' demo

The original Shep Pettibone version, titled 'Something's Coming Over Me', remains unleaked. It is said to be more in the style of 'Vogue', with a driving drum and bassline replacing the guitar and R&B tones. There's also no humming or "my baby's got a secret". The bridge of the song sees Madonna wailing into sexual moaning, similar to that on 'Love to Love You Baby' by Donna Summer.

Warner Bros. in-house promo



In Summer 1994, Madonna recorded an in-house interview for Warner Bros. Records, where a preview of 'Secret', 'Take a Bow' and 'Human Nature' can be heard.

Online message



Hello, all you Cyberheads! Welcome to the 90’s version of intimacy. You can hear me… You can even see me… But you can’t touch me… do you recognize my voice?… It’s Madonna. Often imitated, but never duplicated. Or, should I say, often irritated? If you feel like it, you can download the sound file of my new single Secret, from my new album, Bedtime Stories, which comes out next month. I just shot the video in New York, and will be premiering an exclusive sample of it online. So check back soon. In the meantime, why don’t you post me a message and let me know what you think of my new song. And by the way, don’t believe any of those online imposters pretending to be me… ain’t nothing like the real thing. Peace out.
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HauntedHaus
post Oct 23 2019, 08:43 PM
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I absolutely adore this song. It is so brooding and dark and mysterious and for me, it's an essential 90s track. One of her finest, classiest moments wub.gif
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Medellíam
post Oct 23 2019, 10:12 PM
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I'm always inclined to call this underrated but there's clearly a lot of love for it based on the fact it's still in the Ultimate Madonna Rate countdown. I guess it being the most low-key of her lead singles, both in its sound and the promotion surrounding it, plays a role in my assumption. All her others may have entered with a bang but I do think 'Secret' was enough of a statement to make given the album it represented. It introduces us to the calmer tones and the reflective nature that would be present on Bedtime Stories, but we also get that sense of mystery in regards to what the 'secret' may be, which is enforced by the ambiguity of its video. That helps build a bit of hype and intrigue that would have been created from traditional promotion.

Madonna always seems to excel on these guitar-driven down-tempo numbers as it allows her to sell the song with her voice and she does that beautifully with those heavenly harmonies and her lower-register. Love the mysteriousness; I particularly like the theory this was about a closeted man and they help each other realise it's no life at all not to live as you are.

I discovered upon researching the background of Bedtime Stories that Madonna actually wanted 'Bedtime Story' to lead the album (plans for the music video had already begun as early as August 1994) but the record company flat out refused. I can understand why they'd be so adamant as it's one of Madonna's least commercial sounding songs and would be far too risky off the back of the Erotica period. It also doesn't represent the album's sound at all.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Nov 5 2019, 09:49 AM
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This is the only version of the song I really listen to:

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dandy*
post Nov 5 2019, 05:32 PM
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I absolutely love Secret. It’s definitely the high point of Bedtime Stories for me. I remember being disappointed when I first heard it but it really grew on me about a year after it’s release and it’s been a firm fave ever since.

Just listened to it now and the production had held up really very well indeed too.

Tawdry... I used to listen to that version back when it was released as I bought the remix single by mistake!
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