Return to Innocence

"Return to Innocence" is a song by German musical group Enigma. It was released on 4 January 1994 as the lead single from their second album, The Cross of Changes.

"Return to Innocence"
Enigma Return to Innocence single cover.jpg
Single by Enigma
from the album The Cross of Changes
Released4 January 1994 (1994-01-04)
Recorded1993
StudioA.R.T. Studios, Ibiza
GenreNew-age, worldbeat
Length4:03
LabelVirgin / EMI
Songwriter(s)Michael Cretu, Kuo Ying-nan, Kuo Hsiu-chu, John Bonham
Producer(s)Michael Cretu
Enigma singles chronology
"Carly's Song"
(1993)
"Return to Innocence"
(1994)
"The Eyes of Truth"
(1994)
Music video
"Return to Innocence" on YouTube

It became the project's most successful international single after "Sadeness (Part I)", reaching number one in over 10 countries (including Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe), number three on the UK Singles Chart, and the top five in several countries, including Canada, Germany and New Zealand. It also reached the top 20 in France and number two on the Eurochart Hot 100. "Return to Innocence" was the project's biggest hit in the United States, reaching number two on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and number six on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40.

HistoryEdit

The song's melodic and talking vocals in English are provided by Angel X (Andreas Harde), and a short talking vocal by Sandra ("Death is not the beginning of the end, that's the return to yourself, the return to innocence"), while an Amis people chant ("Elders' Drinking Song") is repeated, which opens the song. Difang and Igay Duana, from the Amis, were in a cultural exchange program in Paris in 1988 when their performance of the song was recorded by the Maison des Cultures du Monde and later distributed on CD.[1][2] The producer of Enigma, Michael Cretu, later obtained the CD and proceeded to sample it. In addition, the drum beat of the song was sampled from the Led Zeppelin song "When the Levee Breaks", played by John Bonham.[3]

The song was used to promote several types of media in the mid-1990s, including film and TV commercials. In autumn 1994, the song was featured in an episode of the TV show My So-Called Life. In 1995, the song was used as the closing theme in Disney's live-action film Man of the House, as well as in the opening and closing of an Outer Limits episode. In 1996, the song was further popularised when it was used in a television advertisement to promote the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Julien Temple directed the video, which depicts a man's life in reverse, starting with him dying and ending with his baptism as a baby. (See also List of Enigma videos#The Cross of Changes).

Critical receptionEdit

Ned Raggett from AllMusic said it is "not quite up there with "Sadeness" in the popular culture in the U.S. but almost inescapable elsewhere."[4] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote that Enigma "resurfaces with a far more accessible, but no less cool pop/hip-hop kicker." He added, "The track's insistent beat is good bait for a song that is chock-full of unusual male chants and breathy female vamping. Somewhere between the two is an irresistible hook and melody that assures much-deserved success at both radio and club level."[5] Cashbox noted, "Now, experts at the Virgin Records hitmaking laboratory have concocted a new, even more startling scenario: Enigma as hit song-makers! Wild, but true. The life's work of one Michael Cretu, a zealous Romanian attempting to go where no new age musician has gone before. Enigma is threatening to break free of the genre's tacky shackles, making the world safe for ambient artists everywhere."[6] Dave Sholin from Gavin Report called it "a haunting production that won't go by unnoticed."[7] Jonathan Riggs from Idolator commented, "If all of human existence across time were a movie, "Return to Innocence" is the song that should play over the end credits." He added, ""Return to Innocence" was then and remains now universally epic, instantly recognizable, largely incomprehensible and endlessly moving. Like us. Like life."[8] Alan Jones from Music Week described it as a "mysterious new collage of sounds" and "a haunting and well-constructed piece that sets ethnic-sounding emoting and softly wpoken phrases against a dance beat and a swirl of soft synth sounds." He stated, "Satisfying and unique."[9] James Hamilton from the magazine's RM Dance Update declared it as a "slinkily atmospheric rolling sombre 0-88-0bpm Euro smash".[10] John Kilgo from The Network Forty deemed it a "melodramatic chant".[11] Richard Paton from Toledo Blade said that it "captures that melange of sounds, the intensity of the beat, and the wafting vocals and chant".[12]

Legal disputeEdit

In March 1998, Difang and Igay Duana sued Cretu, Virgin Records, and a number of recording companies for unauthorised use of their song without credit.[13][14] The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and all further releases of the song were credited (including royalties) to the Duanas, aka the Kuos — their Chinese name. The Kuos were an indigenous Taiwanese couple from the Ami tribe.[15] Cretu has stated that he had been led to believe that the recording was in the public domain and that he did not intentionally violate the Kuos' copyright.[16]

Track listingEdit

4-track CD single

  1. Radio Edit – 4:03
  2. Long & Alive Version (remixed by Curly M.C. and Jens Gad) – 7:07
  3. 380 Midnight Mix (remixed by Jens Gad) – 5:55
  4. Short Radio Edit – 3:01

5-track CD single

  1. Radio Edit – 4:03
  2. Long & Alive Version (remixed by Curly M.C. and Jens Gad) – 7:07
  3. 380 Midnight Mix (remixed by Jens Gad) – 5:55
  4. Short Radio Edit – 3:01
  5. "Sadeness (Part I)" (Radio Edit) – 4:17

Charts and certificationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Taiwan Couple Sue Enigma for Vocals". apnews.com. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  2. ^ Tan, Shzr Ee (2008). "Returning to and from "Innocence": Taiwan Aboriginal Recordings". The Journal of American Folklore. jstor.org. 121 (480): 222–235. doi:10.1353/jaf.0.0005. JSTOR 20487599. S2CID 153601866.
  3. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r198552
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  5. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Pop Singles: Reviews" (PDF). Cashbox. p. 12. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  7. ^ Sholin, Dave (11 February 1994). "Gavin Picks: Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. p. 46. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  8. ^ Riggs, Jonathan (20 November 2014). "The 50 Best Pop Singles Of 1994 (Featuring New Interviews With Ace Of Base, TLC, Lisa Loeb, Real McCoy & Haddaway)". Idolator. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  9. ^ Jones, Alan (22 January 1994). "Market Preview: Mainstream - Singles - Pick of the Week" (PDF). Music Week. p. 12. Retrieved 13 April 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Hamilton, James (5 February 1994). "Dj directory" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). p. 7. Retrieved 14 April 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Mainstream: Music Meeting" (PDF). The Network Forty. 10 June 1994. p. 22. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  12. ^ "SOUNDS: "THE CROSS OF CHANGES" Enigma". Toledo Blade. 13 March 1994. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  13. ^ Channel News Asia (28 March 1998). "Taiwan Aborigines Sue Enigma, Music Companies". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Channel News Asia.
  14. ^ Craig Rosen (4 March 1999). Enigma Sued By Aboriginal Couple Over Song Rights. LAUNCHcast.
  15. ^ Richard F. Roper (23 June 1999). Taiwanese Settle Lawsuit Claiming Their Original Composition Was Stolen; They Will Now Set Up Foundation. Business Wire.
  16. ^ http://www.geocities.com/enigmalair/rtiarticle5.html RTI Article (archived), EnigmaLair, Geocities.com
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External linksEdit