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Released: December 1990

Rating: 4.229 (average of 11 ratings)

Genre: dance/ new age

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. The Voice of Enigma
  2. Principles of Lust:
    a. Sadeness
    b. Find Love
    c. Sadeness (Reprise)
  3. Callas Went Away
  4. Mea Culpa
  5. The Voice & the Snake
  6. Knocking on Forbidden Doors
  7. Back to the Rivers of Belief
    a. Way to Eternity
    b. Hallelujah
    c. The Rivers of Belief


sales in U.S. only 4 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated 900,000
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 15 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 6
peak on U.K. album chart 1 1

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Sadeness (12/15/90) #5 US, #1 UK, #67 RB, #6 MR
  • Mea Culpa (3/30/91) #55 UK
  • Principles of Lust (8/10/91) #59 UK
  • Back to the Rivers of Belief (10/22/91) #68 UK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

“Michael Crétu’s attempt at fusing everything from easy listening sex music and hip-hop rhythms to centuries-old Gregorian chants couldn’t have been more designed to tweak the nose of high art, a joyously crass stab straight at a mainstream, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. The result is something that shouldn’t exist, but in its own way results in as much of a cultural scramble and explosion as anything Public Enemy were doing around the same time, crossing over the Euro-disco and new age spheres with style” (Raggett).

“Credit Crétu for an open ear for whatever works, which is precisely why Sadeness, the first part of a longer track called Principles of Lust, turned into a fluke worldwide hit. Snippets of monks invoking the Almighty effortlessly glide in and out of a polite but still strong breakbeat, shimmering, atmospheric synth and flute lines and a Frenchwoman whispering in a way that sounds distinctly more carnal than spiritual (as her gasps for breath elsewhere make clear). Guitar and male vocals add to the album version’s try-anything-that-works approach, as do attempts at shuffling jazz beats and horns” (Raggett).

“If nothing quite equals that prime moment elsewhere on the album, MCMXC A.D. still trips out on the possibilities as it can, right from the opening Voice of Enigma, inviting all listeners to sit back, relax, and take a gentle trip” (Raggett).

“Crétu certainly isn’t trying to hide anything – Callas Went Away goes right ahead and adds a sample of Maria Callas herself to the chirping birds and soft beats, while elsewhere the flutes, beats, monks, and French voices merrily go about their glossy business. About the only thing missing is the kitchen sink, making the entire album the ‘MacArthur Park’ of its day” (Raggett).

Review Source(s):

Last updated April 6, 2008.