MCMXC a.D. is the debut studio album by the German musical project Enigma, led by Romanian-German musician Michael Cretu. It was released in Europe by Virgin Records on December 3, 1990, and in the United States by Charisma Records on February 12, 1991. Cretu became fascinated with mixing archaic sounds with modern music after producing German pop singer Sandra’s song “Everlasting Love”, for which he experimented with Gregorian chant. Following Michael Cretu and Sandra’s marriage in 1988, Michael developed the idea of the musical project Enigma and recorded the album over the course of eight months in 1990 at A.R.T. Studios.
MCMXC a.D. combines new-age music with dance rhythms, as well as combining themes of religion and Gregorian chant with sexuality, for which the album received generally positive reviews from music critics. The Gregorian chant was taken from recordings by Capella Antiqua München, which resulted in the Munich-based choir’s label, Polydor Germany suing Cretu and Virgin Records for infringing on its “right of personality”. The case was dropped after Cretu agreed to pay compensation.
Commercially, MCMXC a.D. became a worldwide success, reaching the top 10 on record charts in 10 countries, including charting at number six in the United States, staying on the country’s Billboard 200 chart for 282 weeks. It was certified quadruple platinum in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Four singles from the album were released: “Sadeness (Part I)”, “Mea Culpa (Part II)”, “Principles of Lust”, and “The Rivers of Belief”. The lead single topped charts worldwide.
- “The Voice of Enigma” 2:21
- “Principles of Lust”
b. “Find Love”
c. “Sadeness (Reprise)” 11:43
- “Callas Went Away” 4:27
- “Mea Culpa” 5:03
- “The Voice & the Snake” 1:39
- “Knocking on Forbidden Doors” 4:31
- “Back to the Rivers of Belief”
a. “Way to Eternity”
c. “The Rivers of Belief” 10:32