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I decided to review Susan Boyle's CD 'I dreamed a dream' as I am currently listening to it. I have had this CD since it was released in 2009, and after hearing Susan Boyle on Britain's got Talent I knew I had to have it. After release this CD instantly became the UK's best-selling debut album of all time, and I can see why!
When I am in the mood for singing, I often put this CD on and turn the volume up as loud as it will go! Now I will be the first to admit that my voice isn't great, but having it turned up loud enough means I can't hear my own voice which is perfect! I usually then dance around the kitchen while making a cake!!!
I adore Susan Boyle's voice, and the selection of songs on this CD are perfect. There are 12 songs on the CD (although it seems that some CDs have bonus tracks, but mine does not) and my favourites are 'Cry me a river' and 'How great thou art'.
Susan Boyle has a very distinctive voice and although many young people would not be interested in her music due to her image, it is definitely worth a listen!
The CD can be purchased from amazon etc. for around a fiver nowadays, which I think is great value for what is my favourite CD, with 43 amazing minutes of song!
Isn't it amazing how a bit of a furore can pass you by. I have never seen The Godfather Trilogy or Gladiator, I don't get all hot and bothered by Cheryl Cole one way or another, and I was not party to the patronizing "Susan Boyle CAN sing" debacle of last year. Britain's Got Talent is the offspring of Simon Cowell, and basically provides a more varied form of talent spotting than its sister show X Factor. Last year, Scottish born Susan Boyle stepped onto the ...Talent stage and wowed audiences with a rather impressive singing voice. Most of the wow factor came from the fact that she looked like somebody's spinster cat loving great aunt. Now, had she looked like Katherine Jenkins or the likes, wouldn't it have been just fine if she could sing like her. However, the world decided to give her a pat on the back for being ugly and talented.
Anyway, I stayed out of the whole thing. I don't care what she looks like, and I don't care whether she can sing. On evidence of this dreary affair, which will no doubt appeal to granny's the world over, I wont be buying into any of it anytime soon either. As expected, its nothing more than an over-produced collection of teary cover versions that serve only to highlight Boyle's impressive, but quite un-dramatic, voice. She can certainly carry a tune, but she would be best served at her local chapel in the cats choir. The whole affair smacks of zero-charisma, and on the few headlines I've read, a fragile woman being bulleted to the front pages by a cynical marketing team who see her as a sympathetic role model to those with talent but without the face for television.
In it's defence, the album certainly serves its purpose. The songs are handpicked to perfection, and will be familiar to most of its target audience. The title track "I Dreamed A Dream" would be sublime in a different collection of songs, with Boyle attempting to add some dramatic flare to proceedings, but here it just sounds like everything else. Credit where it's due though, the song is the best of the collection. "Wild Horses" will be the other most known track from the album, having charted last year. As it comes early on in the album, its fairly inoffensive. However, when she steps into sacred territory, like on "Cry Me A River", I wanted to rip the CD out of the player. Other more upbeat original's, get the piano and self pity treatment here as well. Madonna's "You'll See" is turgid, whilst "Daydream Believer" is just monotonous. However, I have to admit, that its not so much the individual songs that I found grating, but the mere volume of treacle flavoured dreariness that holds the whole thing underwater.
Boyle herself deserves all of the praise that has been heaped upon her. She isn't your typical talent show winner, although it should be noted that she actually came a bewildering second on the show, and has a rare singing talent that isn't often discovered on X Factor or Britain's Got Talent. She has also managed to earn her success without succumbing to the pop charts need to constantly re-invent and glamorise everything. She isn't cool, or beautiful, or any of the other requirements to have a lengthy pop career. She's just a frumpy middle aged woman who had the balls to overcome the snobbery directed at people like her, and that must have been a really brave thing to do. Whilst I listened to this album out of curiosity, I would probably not buy it or similar albums from Boyle, but I' certain there is a large market for her. Otherwise, she wouldn't have just released her second successful album.
This album is made up of the 12 following tracks:
I Dreamed A Dream
Cry Me A river
How Great Thou Art
Up To The Mountain
Who Was I Born To Be
The End Of The World
The Susan Boyle phenomena would perhaps not have emerged the way that it has if it were not for second-generation Welsh warbler, Charlotte Church, who popularized it cool to be operatic even in the pop charts. Susan is an additional treble in the musical spheres, the X Factor saw her potential via the electric responses from the audience, who were astonished by the fact that a not so pretty woman could sing like a shrilling sparrow with more octaves than a sea echoing cave.
By the time that Susan had struck Gold by appearing on the X-Factor show as far back as a year ago, Julie Andrews look-a-like, Connie Fisher was performing in the UK Tour of The Sound of Music, but struggling with her vocal chords, she had to have an operation. Boyle's enigma was at fever pitch, so singers like Connie were drowning faster than a lifeboat in crisis, because that is how it all works in the fast lanes of instant success and why it is that Susan Boyle will also suffer the same fate once new talent arrives around the next block, which is good news for those who dislike her music.
Now before I am given a skull and cross in my review (hopefully not), I would like to point out that even though I am not moved by Susan's voice, does not mean that I don't admire her individual success and ambition, just her tonal artistry that seems to fluctuate according to whether she sings live or in a studio. Lastnight, she appeared on a televised show (I cannot recall the name of it or the channel) as was watching it in the break whilst waiting to find out the Eurovision results. Anyway, I was struck by just how raw her sound was compared with the "I dream a dream" album compilation, her voice in this sounds digitally mastered, so that it swipes out any imperfections.
The CD that features "Memory" "Wild Horses" "Amazing Grace", "You'll see" and so forth, are given their own unique character with Susan's voice, though lacks some fundamental diversity in vocal-expression that when she performs live, has a much more natural, sometimes off-key, yet richer and deeper quality, you are listening to what essentially is a falsified representation of her pure sound when you put on these latest tracks. The tempo in each song fits accordingly to the pace of the lyrics, Susan is often ahead of them or somewhere behind them, so you have plenty of opportunity to pick up on the velvet-perfected rendition of her technically adjusted voice. The background instruments try and carry her through in some places, though they get swallowed by her shrill, so they are not necessary compliments whilst she is in full chorus.
The technical-editing have virtualy stripped her pure voice and rendered her a new one, leaving the listener with a supernaturally-imposed smooth and manufactured gift, we are to assume that we can't tell the difference, yet I certainly can if no one else. Susan Boyle then becomes something else, but not the woman who sang live on X factor, but someone right out of the musical operatic societies, it takes considerable years to reach that level of vocal expertise, Susan had only taken fundamental singing lessons a couple of years before she became even nationally acknowledged.
Her ability to deliver a silk-effect yodeling in the studios, with all its sophisticated formatting and editing devices, cannot move me unless the music producers quit from taking extreme measures to manipulate great sounds that end up being far too sleek for their own good.
The thing about Susan Boyle, is that although she has an outstandingly stunning set of lungs that gifted us with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the depths of depravity "Les Miserables" (Literally means The Miserables) from French to English translation: she gave us something spectacularly fluid that centered away from the headlights of persistent 'takes' on familiar conventional anthems such as "Ava Maria" or "Pie Jesu" most classical singers begin their careers on these as in the case of Charlotte Church. Susan did something different and picked on a less recognized melody, our multicultural society, haven't all grown up on French-Anglo classical pieces.
Whether she had the added advantage of cappella training before composing the tracks on this CD is not known, but given that she has had a very scheduled traumatic time in health retreats due to all the stardom stress, would seem highly improbable, so am more than convinced that the studios she performed, must have been solely responsible for the pristine outcome of her perfectly ironed voice that to me, sounds as if she has just risen from the heavens like a reincarnation of Karen Carpenter, the only harmonious female singer of the 20th century to have been born with the perfect sound outside of the Jazz arena, no other woman vocalist to date I am aware of, can ever top this, not even Carry Fisher.
But Boyle is no Karen Carpenter is certain when you listen to her live, so am left feeling betrayed by a voice that isn't entirely natural, however beautiful it may be after all the manipulation of it.
This disturbingly serene audio CD and all its legendary tracks, send you on a kind of mesmeric odd journey down nostalgia lane in some places and take you far away in others. There have been many cover versions for all of these tracks over time, but each band and solo artist adopting different sound mixes, tempo and instruments to create a unique interpretation.
The famous Madonna ballad "You'll See" in this album, drifts into oblivion for me because I cannot associate it with anyone but Ciccone singing it, with the barely there techno mixes in the background, gives us the full capacity of her humming rhythm that the song needs nothing more. When Susan sings it, it loses its original meaning when there are few instinctive pauses and absent passion for how it ought to sound, despite the fact that she does eerily sound rather like the queen of pop in this track and a few others. I particularly dislike the slow and deadly sad "Daydream believer" the chirpy Monkees made it a sensational cover hit in 1968, now it sounds like an injured memory sketch.
===producers and musicians====
Arranger: Steve Mac.
Personnel: John Parricelli (guitar); Steve Mac (piano, keyboards, synthesizer)
Dave Arch (piano); Chris Laws (drums); Mae McKenna (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Ren Swan, he is the voice audio editing, enhancing, and mixing producer
There is nothing pop about this album when all of the tracks are carefully deliberated classical hymns as opposed to moody ballads or racy numbers you want to get up and dance, so have no idea why it comes under that genre. A baronial identity is impossible to alter and we witness the predominate strength of her soprano lungs far more in this compilation than any non-classical sounds, she is simply not cut out to be something she isn't, but then, so has her voice been formatted so that does come across quite strongly and why other people listening to the CD, will be enamoured and lulled by its misleading rapture.
Last April as i settled down to watch an episode of Britains got talent, I along with most of the UK, just thought it would be a normal Saturday night with a bunch of talentless idiots prancing round on the stage trying to impress Mr white teeth get me the sunglasses Simon Cowell.
What i was not expecting was a rather enjoyable night , the contestants had upped the par on the previous year and it seemed all sorts of talent was crawling out of the wood work , the first two sections of the show seemed to be bursting with talent and it was shocking how some talented people slipped through the net.
As the third or forth section of the show started my hubby said this segment would be where all the silly acts or really silly people would be screened so i opted to put the kettle on and make a cuppa,
When i arrived back in the living room and settled once again on the sofa this woman had appeared on my screen.
Dressed in a gold outfit that seemed more in keeping with the 1970's her hair seemed to been borrowed form Kevin Keegan .... you know the one he sported way back in the early 70's and she seemed to have a large caterpillar housed in the middle of her forehead, This my hubby informed me was a mono-brow.
As she introduced herself and talked in her strong Scottish accent i along with hubby sat and giggled and basically tried to suggest exactly what her so called talent would be , she did come across as a "Tim nice but dim " kind of character, and I am sure i was not alone in these thoughts especially when she made her offer towards Piers Morgan.
Then she Introduced what she was going to sing, " I Dreamed a Dream" as i said i cringed mainly at the thought of how she was going to ruin the song and secondly for the embarrassment it may cause her , after all the audience did not seem to favour her being any good , Me, The nation , the Audience and the panel had already judged her before she even sang a note .....
As the music started I was thinking of where my Les Miserables cd was so i could bin it!! .... I had a feeling she was going to ruin the song for me so I would never be able to hear it again without picturing this woman!!
Then she opened her mouth ... the voice made me lift my head and stare at the television in amazement , she sang well beyond my expectations , how wrong i was to judge her as being awful when i had not heard her voice, she sang with gutso she was living her dream on that stage and the nation the panel the viewers all sat in awe , her singing surpassed all i had heard in the recent months she made me feel on a high i was shocked and was screaming at hubby that she was the one that she had to go through.
I prayed she would not get an "X" and it was great to see that the panel could see beyond her looks and give her the chance to prove herself. After all she deserved it she proved everyone wrong and I did feel awful for giggling at her when she first appeared on the screen Susan really showed us that looks are not what matters , its whats on the inside that counts and Susan stole the show I personally think she made Britains got talent .... Susan Boyle is an act I think will be hard to live up to.
After seeing Simon Cowells reaction to her when she first walked on stage i was doubting he would allow her through , After all he looks at people and sees pound signs it was clear that Susan Boyle was no pin up, But i prayed that he would see beyond that and put her through on her voice, Thankfully he did.
And she made it through all levels and survived right through to the bitter end , giving us some great performances and showing the nation that you can dream a dream and have it granted.
Although she made it through to the final she did not win ... which to this day has me baffled, !!
and i did think it would be the last we heard of Susan Boyle, she did not win so what use was she,? she had bought the nation together and to me personally had put the "Great" back in to Great Britain.
Thankfully the panel had spotted her talent and the fact that the nation was gripped by "SuBo" fever and decided to give us all what we wanted which was to hear more of her voice , so they gave her the chance to make an album and this is where I got excited.
As soon as it was mentioned that she was to release an album i was checking every piece of entertainment news to see when it would be released where i could buy it etc , i was checking Amazon daily to see if they would get it in stock ... To me this was bigger than any Harry Potter novel, I was even watching you tube to re-watch her on Britains got talent.
Novemebr the 23rd was like a birthday of a child to me when they released her album I could not wait to get my hands on her debut album "I Dreamed a Dream" , I was basically the first in line that day at HMV where i managed to purchase it for £9.99,
And i have to say that is my best music purchase of 2009 , I really enjoy her Album her voice is a pleasure to listen to it has a calming effect on me and i love her versions of the songs she sings. here are just a few i found to like.
* I Dreamed a Dream ,.... This song is the song that launched her in to the nations hearts and is her version of a fantastic song from the musical Les miserables it tells the story of wishing and praying for what you want and not giving up. I love this version and find it better than the original on the Les miserables cd.
* Wild Horses I find to be inspirational and is a song that will have you screaming "Wild Horses could not drag me away" it will make you fight for there right to do what you want.
* Cry Me a River , I do like this version don't get me wrong but it is a little depressing and is a song i do tend to skip, it has that James Bond Feel about it for me and i can clearly say i am no James bond fan at all , However Susan does deliver all the right notes and passion required for this song.
* Daydream Believer , A different version to the one you will all be aware of sung by the Monkees , this version is soft and gentle , Susan really had put her on mark on this song and is a song i enjoy it makes a change from the fast version.
* You'll see , This was done by Madonna and yes i do like her version too and this is yet another really softer version , Madonna though does have her own spin on it and seems to deliver higher notes than Susan , again this is another that will inspire you.
* Who was i Born to be , This was especially written for Susan and the lyrics are like a story of her life, it is a fantastic song and this song basically says you can do what you want to be ,
Overall I love this Album it is a song i can listen to when i am feeling down to lift my spirits or if i am going over the living room with a duster it is a album that can adjust to anyones mood and most of a very inspirational album, all her versions on the album tell the story basically in my personal opinion of how you can dream the dream and get it , I do hope to hear more from her and i do hope she does a concert that I will be able to attend .
Susan Boyle has delighted me and the United kingdom but world , this woman in one night went global without months of promotions she wanted to be like Elaine Paige but this woman I think has gone beyond that and has done what she set out to do.
If you are stuck on what to buy anyone or just fancy a push in the right direction of making a decision then this is the Album to buy , Since the Albums release i can say i have purchased around 5 of her albums , as presents for Christmas and birthdays and I can say those i have given it to have loved it so if anyone is stuck for an idea for a gift then get this you can now purchase it from Amazon for £5.98 , and is a gift anyone would love to receive.
So Im 29 about to be 30 and have only recently purchased a new album and its not hip hop, r and b or pop but in fact the voice of the new found star susan boyle, and Im not ashamed to say that actually I love her and think shes incredibly remarkable.
The woman who topped the britains got talent viewings by looking pale faced, elderly, not quite all there with terrible dress sense and was most obvisouly from the reclusiveness areas of scotland and then boom did she wow the world with her extroidinary and beautiful singing voice.
For the first time in a long time I sat watching the tv screen in amazement and hence couldnt stop following her from that moment on. A wealth of beauty rose from her every time she sang and sent shivers down my spine of which no song has done in years if at all.
I hence went on to buy her first and only album 'I dreamed a dream' the song she sang whilst performing on britains got talent and has so far performed time and tme again all over the world especially in america where she has been a particular hit.
Published in november 2009 this album has sold record breaking amounts all over the world and has turned this unknown middle aged woman into an absolute superstar. Hence this album is even more spectacular than many other albums by known artists because this is a true dream story and makes each and every track albeit covers, magical in their own right.
The album consists of 12 tracks, all covers with religious and pop genres included. Sold in nearly all stores that sell cds from supermarkets, record stores, online at amazon and play.com, pretty much anywhere and everywhere this can be purchsed for a typical price in shops of £10 this can be bought online for as cheap as £6.99.
The best album in recnt history with the added touch of magic.
Susan Boyle came to fame after her appearance on 'Britain's got Talent' in 2009. After walking on stage and said she wanted to be a singer you got the feeling that the judges and audience alike smelt blood. It was the 'here we go again' feeling. Well after the first few bars of 'I dreamed a dream' the change in the reaction to her made the conversion of St Peter on the road to Damascus look like a shopper having a bit of a dither in Tescos.
There then followed the 'you tube' videos which sent her performance to a worldwide audience within days, if not hours. Was it her better than average voice or the fact that her talent was so unexpected that endeared her to the public? Anyway, as we know, she did not win the contest but she gained a recording contract so she was able to make the album she so wanted to do. The album became the biggest selling album of 2009 and held the top spot not only in the UK but also in the much harder to crack US charts.
Her voice and some of the tracks:
Now her voice in my opinion is probably better suited to the west end rather than as a recording artist. If she had been 'discovered' at an earlier age it is possible that she would have had a good career on the stage. The tone of her voice is simply not suited to the more up tempo numbers but appears to be well suited to the slower stage musical numbers. Also the vibrato in her voice is something which may grate on some people. However, we do need to remember that she has not had the vocal coaching that all the big names in the west end have had and as a result Susan's voice is a little rough round the edges.
The title track of the album 'I dreamed a dream' where the lyrics are supposed to portray sorrow rather than one of joy are the type of tracks which Susan's voice and performance style are more suited to. This track on the album appears not to have had much studio tweaking and the vibrato in her voice occasionally makes the odd note sound slightly sharp and in a small number a bit caterwauling.
For me one of the big mistakes was the inclusion of the cover of 'Daydream believer'. This simply did not work as a cover version. Susan's voice, whilst not a bad one, does not produce the up tempo, happy feeling which the original version does. The attempt to turn an up tempo 'pop' song into a ballad simply did not work. A better track which could have been included here would possibly have been 'Memories' which she performed during the semi-final of 'BGT'.
As for her cover of 'wild horses' it is possibly the best track on the album. Here Susan's vocal tone brings out the sorrow in the song. I find it difficult to compare this track to the original as they have such different styles of delivery.
Her performance of 'How Great Thou Art' well whilst her vocal toning is not bad here it is just the same part of this hymn repeated a number of times. This sadly lets this track down.
One track on the album 'amazing grace' well for me this track has been recorded by so many artists, normally badly, that I did not have high hopes of it. Well it may not be performed as well as someone like Katherine Jenkins is able to do it is far from a poor attempt at it. The same thing could, perhaps, be said of 'silent night'. I have heard so many bad recordings of this it was a change to hear it sung in a manner which in on its own merit is hauntingly beautiful. Although it still does not come close to Enya's Gaelic version we again can put this down to the lack of vocal coaching Susan has received.
As a stand alone album it isn't a terrible recording but nor is it outstanding. I feel that she should have stuck more to the slower more sorrowful tracks than trying covers of a few more 'popular music' style ones. If there is to be a second album then Susan will need to stick more to these slower more emotional tracks rather than try to turn the up tempo covers into ballads. There are a few good tracks on the album but I would personally advise people to down load these rather than buying the whole album.
1. Wild Horses
2. I Dreamed A Dream
3. Cry Me A River
4. How Great Thou Art
5. You'll See
6. Daydream Believer
7. Up To The Mountain
8. Amazing Grace
9. Who I Was Born To Be
11. End Of The World
12. Silent Night
Everyone knows who Susan Boyle is right ? Especially after the dramatic entrance she made into the world of music , when she appeared on Britain's Got Talent. No one expected her to do well and so it's great to see that she has proven the world wrong. Here she is with her debut album 'I Dreamed A Dream.'
I Dreamed A Dream is the debut album from Scottish Singing Superstar Susan Boyle. The album which was released in the United Kingdom on 23rd November 2009 under the record label , Sony Music. Amazingly , the album reached number one in eight countries , including America. At forty three minutes long , this album features twelve tracks. The album is available to buy from Amazon for a price of £8.98.
* Tracklisting *
2.I Dreamed A Dream
3.Cry Me A River
4.How Great Thou Art
7.Up To The Mountain
9.Who I Was Born To Be
11.The End Of The World
When Susan Boyle first appeared on Britain's Got Talent , back in April 2009 , like everyone else I thought , "She's obviously going to be someone who thinks they can sing but actually can't!". Although , the minute she opened her mouth, I was blown away! She was fantastic , and proved to us all that you should not judge people by what they look like. Although I thought she she was brilliant , I did want her to well , although my mum on the other hand has become quite a fan of the singer , and so I bought her this album for Christmas.
At first , I thought that maybe this album would just be a 'quick-cash' making scheme that was just jumping on the fact that everyone was suprised at Susan Boyle's talent. Although after having a few listens it is obvious that this lady has a tremendous amount of talent and has shown the world what real talent is. This album is in fact very good and has become one of my favourites.
What I like about this album is the fact that the songs are ones which mean something to Susan. She hasn't just gone and recorded 'any old songs' , she has thought about which ones have meaning , and I think that's great , and you can also hear in her voice as she sings , that the issues in the songs are ones that she feels closest too. I also like that in the album booklet, along with the lyrics to each song, Susan has written , in her own handwriting , about what these songs mean to her , which I think makes the album a lot more interesting.
There are some great songs on here , and I like the arrangements. These songs really suit Susan's voice , and you can tell that she feels at home performing these kinds of songs. I think that she would be fantastic in a musical. The songs which stand out for me on the album are ; of course , the song which made her famous 'I Dreamed A Dream' as well as 'Cry Me A River' and 'Wild Horses'. There is something relaxing about her voice and energy which makes it a great album to listen to whilst chilling out.
I would definetely recommend this album! If you loved Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent , then you'll love this CD! She is indeed different to anything else out there and I think if young people give this a chance ,even they might like it too! Give it a chance is all I'll say , you won't be disappointed I'm sure!
Thanks For Reading!
January 11th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
I have read some reviews for this album and I have noticed people have commented on this being another one of Simon Cowells money grabbing ploys. Well in a way I agree, I do think all he sees is pound signs. However, if it wasnt for Simon Cowells shows we would never have heard this angelic voice of Susan Boyles. Nor would other talented artisits like Leona Lewis ever been found.
When Susan Boyle sings it makes the hairs stand up on my arms and a shiver run through my spine. No matter how many times I hear the same song. The story of Susan Boyle is a tremendous one but i think her voice is even better.
Before i listened to this album I had a preconseption that it was just going to be the ordinary album of old classical/musical ballads. I was amazed to see madona's song "you'll See" and this song as a Susan Boyles' version does really work.
The album has various pwerful tracks which all suit Susans voice. They are sung with effortless strength and they all send a shiver up my spine and are so easy to listen to at the same time. It is also good to see that one of the songs on the album was written for her "Who I Was Born to Be" the only bad point is that i think the tune to this song was composed very quickly and I do think it sounds very similar to something else i have heard before.
For some the story here is a dream come true for a nice ordinary lady from Scotland or another money grabbing exploitation by the Cowell enterprise. For my review I have chosen to ignore the story and focus on the music.
The songs are all ballads or standards, so if you are looking for anything else then this is not for you. The selection is well thought through with good thought being given to the order of the tracks to provide the most variety you can have from 12 ballads.
All the songs have an orchestral or piano accompaniment which produces a sense of occasion which can become wearing after 12 tracks if you do not buy into the whole loose yourself in the moment that the music industry tries to promote. Having said that the arrangements of the songs are fantastic and very cleverly designed to showcase the strengths of Boyle's voice. The only reservation I have is that at times the songs reach heights that do not sound like they are comfortable for a voice which I would categorise as mezzo-soprano.
I was sceptical when this album was given to me, I tend to avoid all 'talent' show wanabes but I was pleasantly surprised (alright shocked is more like it). Boyles voice is good, not just the all right we accept from a good fairy story but a talent that stands in its own right. Her range is wide, the lower end inparticular is very pure, the high end does not reach as high as some but still higher than most can accomplish. Boyle's tone is what I enjoyed most, the purity of the bottom of her register was fantastic, the smoothness and richness she produced rivals any of the great ballad singers but with this there is also uniqueness to the voice. The pure tone is laced with an accent all of her own, it produces a comforting safe sound, I felt like she was in control at all times that she was singing the song her way not letting the song control her.
For me the album is very well thought out showcase of a fantastic voice. The songs are all ballads but you do not take a chocolate bar back because it is all chocolate. If you are looking for an easy listening background music or an indulgent hours entertainment this is the album for you. I would definitely recommend especially as it is only £3.97 downloaded from Tesco Entertainment.
2.I Dreamed A Dream
3.Cry Me A River
4.How Great Thou Art
6.Day Dream Believer
7.Up To The Mountain
9.Who I Was Born To Be
11.The End Of The World
As Simon Cowell counts up a few more pennies from this latest money spinner, families all across the UK can revel in the possibility that Susan Boyle's album will be the soundtrack to their Christmas day. I have nothing against the woman, she is a bit quirky, but shut your eyes and there's no denying the lady can sing.
Her long-awaited twelve track debut has been timed to coincide with the run up to Christmas, thus ensuring her huge sales and probably the number one selling album of the year, if she manages to topple Lady Gaga and Kings Of Leon.
The album is a mixed bag of events, her version of 'Wild Horses' being the standout track, sung with a delicate poise and elegance that will remind you why the nation fell in love with her. The title track is suitably moving and confident, the kind of song that could inspire anyone to get up and have a go.
Michael Buble has a version of 'Cry Me A River' on his latest album and so does Susan. It's not the Timberlake song, so don't panic, she's not gone all r and b just yet! Her take on it is refreshingly understated and earnest.
A surprisingly enjoyable version of 'You'll See' is another highlight. Madonna's classy ballad sheds some of the sex appeal and goes for a slightly more operatic stance. Boyle pulls it off with aplomb and it was a fine choice to showcase a more contemporary side to her voice. I can pass on her version of 'Daydream Believer' which still cannot escape that 'embarrassing dad trying to dance at wedding' vibe, despite a spirited vocal from Boyle.
As it closes with her haunting 'Silent Night' you will be left feeling calm and collected, but perhaps wondering what album two might herald. Let's be honest, she's not going to be doing a Rihanna or hooking up with Dizzee Rascal anytime soon, but then safe is good.
1 Wild Horses
2 I Dreamed A Dream
3 Cry Me A River
4 How Great Thou Art
5 You'll See
6 Daydream Believer
7 Up To The Mountain
8 Amazing Grace
9 Who I Was Born To Be
11 The End of The World
12 Silent Night
Susan Boyle was, quite literally, an overnight sensation. Enter, stage right, a rather clumsy looking spinster. The assembled crowd are almost visibly mocking this "Britain's Got Talent" contender as she states her intention to sing. Simon Cowell's face can hardly contain his "oh no, not another one" feeling. And then she sings.
The nation, and within hours, the world, suddenly woke up to this woman - the pull of the unlikely was great. Soon Su-Bo as she became known, was tipped for success as the bookies odds on her winning the UK talent show were shortened.
Fast forward many months and over the alleged breakdown, transformation and re-release of Miss Boyle and we now have her first album, ready and in the shops for Christmas 2009.
I like many others, was bowled over by the original sound that had catapulted Susan to fame. I don't think my amazement was directed so much towards her voice (which although good was not outstanding in the same way as Paul Potts before her) but that this very awkward woman was about to do, as Potts, had done, the seemingly impossible. Entertainment these days seems to seek perfection, and we had none of that!
Boyle's first album has been a long time coming. Can this spinster church chorister be turned into the superstar that many dreamed she'd be? If her album is the key then I'm afraid the answer is a resounding no.
The first few tracks on the album are pretty much as one might expect. The album opens with the song that sparked the world's love affair with Su Bo "I dreamed a dream". The recording is not one of perfection and, despite the benefits of a studio there are still some rough and strangled notes. At first this gives an impression of simple rawness, something which can be endearing.
The second album track, Wild Horses (Rolling Stones) is, in my opinion, amazing and better than the original. The lyrics are sung with heart-felt sorrow and passion. We are drawn into the song as never before - I'd download this at the drop of a hat.
We then trot through "Cry me a River" and "How Great Thou Art" both very pleasant and delivered with a real sense of sadness (but not acting) and humbleness. Despite the curve ball second track we're still in safe ground, a churchy feeling to the sound and no big surprises.
Unfortunately, however, as the album unfolds one can't help but ask whether Su Bo is more a one trick pony than thoroughbred.
As we hit "You'll See", the Madonna classic I start to wonder what this is. Whilst it's true to say that covers can often sit awkwardly despite repeated listening I can't help but think that what I'm hearing is not awkwardness but a chorister covering a popular music track. In the same way as "classical goes pop" albums jar, this too. I fear that the marketers have read the lyrics, thought "this applies to Su Bo" and then gone on to have her sing it. It doesn't work.
Moving on to the Monkees hit "Daydream Believer" I think the feeling is clear. This is a chorister (not a bad one) singing rather sterile songs in a sterile environment. It's for this reason that the religious and other traditional choral songs work. The songs with a sad lilt are good - there's a purity that many would envy. One senses empathy and a rawness untempered by fame.
Where the album falls is in trying to make Su Bo something she's not. She's not a great popular singer. She can't muster the joy and the upbeat feeling needed for some of the songs. She's great at loneliness and melancholy. I found the overall impression of the album to be flat. It's not bad, but it lacks depth. The sound becomes strangled in the few places where Boyle seeks to build drama and one can't help but think that she'd have been better sticking to an album of "Amazing Grace" and the ilk which are a joy to listen to (although arguably not outstanding).
The one track that is new and composed specifically for Boyle "Who I was born to be" is a rather clever piece. It manipulates the listener like no other track on the album. It's the kind of track which lacks depth but its execution pulls the listener through in a way no other track on the album does. It's the tear jerker for those who fell for Susan's story over and above her ability.
I'm slightly perplexed as to why "Silent Night" was included on the album. I imagine that this will be a single release aimed at capturing the Christmas Number One but on an album that's not seasonal this track will sit awkwardly when played in the middle of summer. It's wonderful, it's haunting, it just has no place on the album.
Boyle is, undoubtedly, a talented singer but I fear that this album doesn't show her to her best. I'd have liked more melancholy and more edges ("I dreamed a dream" and "End of the World" work well). There's more to a song than the lyrics and just fitting a song to a singer on the basis of the lyrics is, in my opinion, short sighted.
As an album this leaves me cold despite there being some outstanding tracks. I think, above all, this album proves that manufacturing an artist doesn't work - raw Su Bo was great, polished one is left wanting.
Susan Boyle came to the attention of world media when she auditioned as a singer for the ITV show 'Britain's Got Talent' in front of judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden. She looked like an unlikely star with her mass of grey, frizzy hair, overgrown eyebrows and an unshapely dress that, in the words of Maria from 'The Sound of Music', "the poor didn't want". Susan was full of excitement and joy but her age and appearance meant that the theatre audience watching the audition, as well as the viewers at home, expected little but a comedy performance from this person. Indeed, when she took to the stage and wiggled her hips in mock sexiness at Piers Morgan, the judges rolled their eyes in despair. When Susan said she wanted to be as successful as Elaine Paige there was a lot of laughter and insults passed between the crowd. Then Susan sang.
Susan performed the song 'I Dreamed a Dream' which is from the musical 'Les Miserables'. In the original cast, Ruthie Henshall made this song her own with a voice that conveyed a mix of strength, desperation and fragility. When Susan Boyle sang this song she more than matched Henshall's performance. In her gutsy performance she told the world that she'd been waiting for this moment to come, waiting to live her dream. She stunned everyone with just how great she was and even Simon Cowell seemed to melt as he listened to her sing. Susan then became an overnight worldwide sensation with clips of her audition beamed around the planet.
Susan's voice is sweet, pure, feminine, unsullied by age and unusually strong for a woman who has never had to perform often until this stage in her life. She is best able to perform on songs where she can both hold back with a whispery, angelic style as well as just belt it out. Her Scottish accent is very evident in her singing and the vowel sounds make her voice very recognisable and distinctive.
This album, titled after the song that catapulted her to fame, is Susan's first since coming runner up on 'Britain's Got Talent'. It heralds a mix of old and new songs as well as hymns and spiritual songs.
The CD version of the album comes with a lyric booklet and at the end of each song Susan has written a little paragraph stating how she feels about the song and what the lyrics mean to her. There are some wonderful insights into Susan's psyche in these little snippets. A lot of what she says is truly inspirational and makes me admire Susan as a person rather than just as a singer or a famous person.
The album opens with the stunningly beautiful 'Wild Horses'. This, as unlikely as you might think, is a Rolling Stones song. Sang in this soft, dramatic fashion it sounds very modern and new - Leona Lewis could have sang this just as well. It really shows how moving Susan's voice can be as she interprets the lyrics with intelligence. It's a brilliant opener that leaves goosebumps on my neck and might leave you slightly stunned in silence!
Next up is 'I Dreamed a Dream' which of course is the song that everyone loved Susan singing. Susan sounds even better on this recording than she did when she performed the song on Britain's Got Talent. It really sounds like this is a version from an experienced theatre actress and singer and I think Susan's ambition to be like Elaine Paige has been realised with this recording.
'Cry Me A River' is a bit more sultry and very smooth. It reminds me of steamy days in the American South and is very atmospheric. Highlights the fact that Susan can tease and be a little bit of a minx with her voice too!
There are a couple of hymn songs on the album including 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Amazing Grace'. Both expose Susan's strong faith and are essential songs to represent her identity. She sings them beautifully - with feeling and gusto.
'You'll See' is a cover of a popular Madonna song. It is my favourite song on the album as it has a rich, dark dramatic feel to it. Although a pop song, the slow, careful way Susan sings it means the meaning of the lyrics become much more interesting and deep. The chorus sounds amazing - Susan's voice is so strong and pure and she really seems to lay down the law with her voice!
'Daydream Believer' has a few changes to the lyrics to allow that a female is singing it. It is a gentler, cutesy song that feels carefree and sweet.
'Up to The Mountain' has a bluesy feel with a bluesy piano and lazy electric guitar lending support. Beautiful voice control is exercised and once again shows another style that Susan is able to adapt to.
'Who I was Born To Be' and 'Proud' feel like statements about who Susan is and what she hopes to achieve. The former of these tracks has a very plaintive cry at the chorus which just grabs my heart and twists it!
The final tracks on the album are 'The End of the World'. This track might seem more suitable for a younger singer but Susan's voice has a youthful quality which really works. An accoustic guitar and soft backing vocals help to add a dreamy, lullabuy quality to this track. 'Silent Night' is appropriate for this end of year album release and is a pretty but traditional rendition of the Christmas carol. A lovely, relaxing end to the album.
Susan sounds like a singer who has been around for a long time, honing that amazing voice and persona and I think this album is a brilliant achievement. This album, the fastest selling debut album ever, is a truly wonderful listening experience. For those who like voices and tender, emotional music such as seen in the work of artists like Eva Cassidy, then this won't dissapoint.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wild Horses
2 I Dreamed A Dream
3 Cry Me A River
4 How Great Thou Art
5 You'll See
6 Daydream Believer
7 Up To The Mountain
8 Amazing Grace
9 Who I Was Born To Be
11 The End of The World
12 Silent Night