WTF?! Flashback – Enigma


Face it: you knew someone who owned or has owned this album. You yourself may fall into one of those categories as well. Basically, anyone who merely had a passing interest in dance music in 1990 undoubtedly got down to some Enigma, particularly the smash single “Sadeness Part 1.” Musical alchemist Michael Cretu managed to mix New Age downbeat boogie with Gregorian monk chants and turned everyone on to the tune of millions of cha-chings! Yep, even I fell for it more due to a sheep mentality than an actual like for the stuff, and somewhere my cassette copy is languishing in a basement collecting dust.

MCMCXC A.D. was successful enough that new CDs of just chants alone were becoming hot sellers. Cretu had created a monster, one that was crossing boundaries from the dance floor and VH-1 to car stereos and – perhaps more importantly – bedrooms of listeners who used the disc as part of their sex play. However, it’s hard to imagine that the plain Jane chant CDs themselves got as much attention once the hip factor of going back to the source sans beats wore off (and I have a feeling for most that probably wore off after the first minute of play).

To my ears, the album is now even more of a goofy curio than it was originally. It’s a complete style over substance recording, but the legions of Enigma fans still swear by it, as well as the followup album The Cross of Changes, which went in a slightly different, but no less flighty direction. Indeed, Cretu has managed to keep the Enigma name going all these years, with varying results. But it’s MCMCXC A.D. that will forever be the biggie of the catalogue. But then again, it was the same year that everyone was throwing tons of money and attention at Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, so anything was truly possible in 1990.


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