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many of her best tracks
Only Time: The Collection - Enya
Member Name: mjc121
Only Time: The Collection - Enya
Date: 05/05/12, updated on 22/01/13 (75 review reads)
Advantages: wade range of styles included
Disadvantages: Gaelic version of "Book of Days" not included
Enya is perhaps one of my favourite vocalists whilst she may not be the best known her music is amongst the most sampled by other artists. She does have an easily recognisable voice which I find to be hauntingly beautiful and whilst most of her best known tracks are in English I prefer some of those sung in Gaelic and Latin.
This collection is over 4 CDs and the fourth disc also contains one video (oiche chiuin). The set is presented in a tall box which is covered in purple velvet like material. The inlay booklet has short written accounts about the song either what the song is about or some history behind the name of it. In one case (Storms in Africa) where both English and Gaelic versions were recorded only the Gaelic version is included. The lyrics are included on the inlay booklet but I think the font they have been typed in is a little too small. There are also some photos of Enya included as well.
The four discs contain a good range of her music from the traditional Gaelic folk music such as "March of the Celts" to more haunting ones such as "Tempus Vernum". Listening to the range of different styles of music Enya is capable of shows why her music is not only often sampled by other artists but is also used in films ('May it be' was written for "Lord of the Rings - the fellow ship of the ring") and TV programmes. Whilst there are a good number of tracks which are on her pervious albums there are also some much rarer non album tracks as well. One which for me should have been included is the Gaelic version of 'Book of Days'. Whilst the better known English version is still good it doesn't compare to the original Gaelic one (well in my opinion anyway).
Most of the instruments used for the album are traditional ones and they are a far cry from the modern day electric synthesiser stuff which makes backing tracks, to me, sound artificial. Also unlike some modern day artists Enya has no need for auto-tune. The video included in disc four of Oiche Chiuin shows her abilities to perform live without any electronic jiggery pokery. Some may say that the carol isn't exactly difficult to sing; well I personally believe that singing in tune and not over doing it is very difficult. Something a good number of modern artists appear to be unable to do.
Enya's main instrument is her own voice and at times there is multi-layering of tracks hence she is effectively her own backing singer. Some of the tracks she has recorded herself either humming or ahhhhing the melody and then puts the vocals over this and again this works just as well as if she had used shall we say traditional instruments. With some of the tracks it is hard to believe that all the vocals are coming from the same person.
My personal Favourites:
The collection does have 50 tracks and one video on it so I am not going to review all of them but just a select few.
Possibly one of her best known songs and has her vocals multi-layered on the track. Her use of vocals to invoke a constant rhythm works particularly well. Although I have to say it works better if you imagine a train on a track rather than the movement of seas and oceans.
Whether or not this was the intention I find this to be a much darker track. For me it conjures up an image of a large darkish room lit only by burning torches or candles with a pentagram on the floor...
Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night)
Despite my "Keep Christmas till December" stance this is still one of my favourite tracks. Sung well this is one of my favourite carols and the fact it is sung in Gaelic adds something extra special to it. The track is simply done with just Enya's voice and a rather muted pipe organ accompaniment in the first verse with additional vocal backing in later verses.
Athair ar Neamh
Translates into English as "Father in Heaven" for me it is Enya's vocals in this which make it such a good track. It is quite simple in its make up, just a piano and Enya's vocals but it does go a long way in proving the saying that sometimes less is more.
One of the tracks sung in Latin and for me it has been well put together with the multi-layering of Enya's voice with the somewhat darker lower vocals in contrast to the lighter higher pitched ones. It is hard to believe that both 'sets' of the lyrics are performed by the same person and the track does really show off Enya's vocal range.
I bought this collection some years ago for £25 and I have listened to it on a large number of occasions. The range of different styles shows that in many senses Enya is a one off. Enya has a fantastic vocal range and her ability to perform just as well in the three languages used across this collection proves that she is not style over substance.