„Sadeness (Part I)“ is a song by German musical project Enigma. The song was released in November 1990 as the first of four singles from their debut album MCMXC a.D. (1990). It became an international hit, reaching number one in 24 countries. In the United States, the song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on it’s dance chart. A sequel to the song, „Sadeness (Part II)“ featuring Anggun, was released on Enigma’s eighth studio album, The Fall of a Rebel Angel (2016).
„Sadeness“ was written by Michael Cretu (under the pseudonym Curly M.C.), Frank Peterson (under the pseudonym F. Gregorian), and Fabrice Cuitad (under the pseudonym David Fairstein). The lyrics are in Latin and French; the Latin text includes a quotation from Psalm 24:7-8. The Extended Trance Mix from the CD single contains some additional male French lyrics. The female French lyrics in both this version and the regular one are whispered by Cretu’s then-wife, Sandra, who at the time of Enigma’s formation had already had hit singles as a solo artist.
The Gregorian vocals were mostly taken from the 1976 album Paschale Mysterium by the German choir Capella Antiqua München with conductor Konrad Ruhland, specifically from their track „Procedamus in pace! (Antiphon)“. The vocals were at first used without permission; a lawsuit followed in 1994 and was settled by compensation.
The song was named „Sadeness (Part I)“ on it’s single release in Germany, and „Sadness Part I“ on it’s single release in the United Kingdom and Japan. It is a sensual track with an insistent beat based around „questioning“ the sexual desires of Marquis de Sade; hence the German release name of „Sadeness“, as opposed to the English word of „Sadness“ used in the UK release.
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