Newest Review: ... I’ve never heard it sung more sweetly or exquisitely than this. The Man I Love 3:47 “Maybe I shall meet him Sunday Maybe Monday, maybe... more
SING LIKE AN ANGEL
Voice - Alison Moyet
Member Name: Fantasybeliever
Voice - Alison Moyet
Date: 15/04/05, updated on 27/04/05 (1812 review reads)
Advantages: Haunting, Soothing, Beautiful
Alison Moyet released an album called “Voice” – in September 2004, and as soon as it was released I knew I wanted to buy it, so you can imagine my delight when Santa delivered it in my Christmas stocking!
This has got to be one of the most unique recordings released by any artist in a very long time. I knew I would like it, but I didn’t know that I would love it and feel as passionate about this release as I do. It truly is the most spectacular, amazing, stunning, exceptional, magnificent CD to hit the shelves in the last few years.
So, what’s so special about this album? To start with, all songs are cover versions – not very original, no! But they are cover versions of songs/singers that Alison herself admires, and does great justice to. Some of these tracks are older than I, probably, but it really doesn’t matter!
The whole album was inspired by Alison Moyet’s experience of working with a classical orchestra. She was overawed by the precision and discipline of this type of musical work. She was inspired to sing …. But not inspired to write, so she drew on her eclectic tastes and childhood experiences to come up with a recording that focuses on her “instrument” – her magnificent, unique, soulful, harmonious voice.
She pro-actively went into the studio with the intention of producing something with classical leanings and wanted to work with someone who could teach her something new. She met Anne Dudley a classical arranger/producer and learnt new voice techniques, including tips on clarity of delivery and producing a range of notes from a single breath. In my humble opinion, it’s hard to improve on perfection, and that’s what Alison Moyet was attempting to do.
THE TRACK LISTING
THE MUSICALITY OF THE RECORDING
Before you read on, it is traditional for music reviews to incorporate comments on the instrumental accompanying each track. In this instance, I’m not going to do that because I don’t believe it would add value, and would detract from the over all focus of the album itself – the artist’s Voice – hence the album title.
Suffice to say that this is a recording of classical songs accompanied by orchestral instruments. There are haunting woodwind instruments, sweet melodic piano, awe-inspiring strings, not to mention tremendous brass. The musicians themselves play beautifully and strongly where warranted, but most of the time they are used to complement as opposed to overshadow Alison Moyet’s voice.
Windmills of your mind 3:19
“Pictures hanging in a hallway
And a fragment of a song
Half remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong”
Her mother’s favourite song, hence its presence on the album, Alison utilises her deep soulful voice to convey the poignant lyrics of this song and sings with passion and belief. I don’t know why but this song conveys to me all the confusion that surrounded me during my adolescent years. I’ve never heard it sung more sweetly or exquisitely than this.
The Man I Love 3:47
“Maybe I shall meet him Sunday
Maybe Monday, maybe not
Still, I'm sure to meet him one day
Maybe Tuesday will be my good-news day”
Alison had no real connection with this song, other than the fact that she knew the first two lines and it interested her. A strong blues number, it’s kind of fun and reminds me of rainy Sunday afternoons. The strength, purity and range of Alison’s voice are evident in this track and demonstrate just how beautifully her voice is suited to blues. Fantastic saxophone solo on this song too.
Almost Blue 3:50
Flirting with this disaster became me
It named me as the fool who only aimed to be”
I did say this singer’s tastes were eclectic and this is an Elvis Costello composition. Alison Moyet has been a fan of Costello since she was 16 – not a bad judge if you ask me. Another deep blues rhythm, and although not my favourite track, one that clearly stretches the range of Alison’s vocals from low through to high. I would imagine it has significant meaning for her, as you’re touched with emotion as you listen and it really does give me goose bumps! Great clarinet instrumental to be found here.
Je Crois Entendre Encore 3:29
“Je crois entendre encore
Caché sous les palmiers
Sa voix tendre et sonore
Comme un chant de ramiers.”
*** English Translation ***
“I still believe I hear
hidden beneath the palm trees
your voice tender and deep
like the song of a dove”
Chosen due to the delight and romanticism of singing in French. It’s a wonderfully melodious song and stretches Alison Moyet’s vocals to the limit, but she passes the challenge with flying colours. The artist’s mother was French and so she is no stranger to the language and sings it beautifully with such clarity and purity, with perfect accent.
What are you doing the rest of your life? 3:10
“All the seasons and the times of your days.
All the nickels and the dimes of your days.
Let the reasons and the rhymes of your days.
All begin and end with me.”
This selection was made by Anne Dudley, the classical arranger that Alison Moyet worked with. I’m going to quote directly from the album here, because it somewhat amuses me! “It’s a song she has long wanted to record and in the spirit of discovery; I determined to give it a go. It took me some time to get my head around it, as the lyrics are more romantic than those I would normally select. References to nickels and dimes sit uneasy on my Anglo-French shoulders and on top of it all, I found it to be a git to sing. However, it is a great tune and I was glad I didn’t give up on it.” Alison sings it well, and I can’t really add any value to her own excellent summary of this track!
God give me the strength 5:35
“I can't hold on to him.
God give me strength.
When the phone doesn't ring
And I'm lost in imagining
Everything that kind of love is worth
As I tumble back down to the earth.”
Another Elvis Costello number. Almost Blue was “almost ditched” because another artist was planning to record it at the same time, but Alison changed her mind and decided to keep it in. I’m glad she did. This song is very soft and soulful. It reminds me of loves lost, found and lost again. Sung with emotion and passion, it demonstrates the great range of Alison Moyet’s voice, from the lowest to the highest and the sheer power behind it.
The wraggle taggle gypsies-o! 3:29
“Saddle to me my milk white steed and go and fetch me my pony-O
That I may ride and seek my bride who's gone with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!”
This song provides an up tempo number in amongst all the blues and soul. This is a special song – one that Alison Moyet used to sing with her mother, and now sings with her own eldest daughter. Her daughter tells her that’s how she’ll remember her when she’s gone. As I’ve said before the artist has eclectic taste and folk music also features! Her voice is well suited to this song and I defy anyone not to want to sing along with it!
Dido’s lament: when I am laid in earth 3:19
“When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.”
Chosen jointly with Anne Dudley, Alison was keen to learn more Baroque classics. Anne played this for her and she loved it, hence its inclusion here. It reminds me a little of opera in that it stretches the vocals significantly. Only someone with a natural talent for singing could attempt this and, of course, Alison does it wonderfully. It has an almost “holy” feel to it, and the range of notes is diverse, including lots of flat notes which the singer hits perfectly.
La chanson des vieux amants 5:06
“Bien sûr nous eûmes des orages vingt ans d'amour c'est l'amour fol
Mille fois tu pris ton bagage mille fois je pris mon envol”
Another track that reminds the singer of her mother and her French roots. Partly loved because it’s full of French expletives – her mother always told her that swearing in French was not as bad as swearing in English! It reminds her of family scenes. Sung with intense passion, this is my absolute favourite on this CD, if I had to pick just one! I’m not a French speaker, but believe that the lyrics talk of stormy love.
Cry me a river 5:35
“Told me love was to plebeian
Told me you were through with me
Now you say you love me
Well, just to prove you do”
A song that Alison sung with an old school friend in the same location after 25 years. Ever since that moment she had wanted to record this song, and here it is. One can only imagine what memories it conjures up for the artist, but probably in keeping with the rest of us, there are memories of broken hearts, but the warmth of how strong that love once was. This has always been one of my all time favourite songs and now that Alison Moyet has recorded it, it has an ever deeper place in my heart. It’s so mellow and the piano so gentle and melodious so that the deep, rich, warm tones of Alison’s voice wrap around your soul as if hugging you. Deeply soulful.
Bye bye blackbird 2:59
“No one here can love or understand me
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me
Make my bed and light the light
I'll arrive late tonight
Blackbird, bye bye”
Alison Moyet always thought this song was a lament after spending years of listening to her father sing it. Apparently he had a beautifully toned voice – so now we know where Alison derives her talent from – but he was not inclined to sing to any kind of “time signature”. Therefore, the artist in keeping with her father’s memory sings it as a lament as opposed to an upbeat number, and believe me it works.
Bonus track – alfie 3:32
There’s a bonus track on this album featuring the song “alfie”. Alfie or Alf are Alison Moyet’s nicknames, and it’s a great ending to a fantastic CD.
I always knew that Alison Moyet had endless talent, but the purity of her voice, the depth and range, the way it strokes you like the smoothest satin, and the way it induces the desire to experience extremes of emotion and make you weep and laugh in equal measure, is absolutely wonderful and a joy to behold. It really takes my breath away.
It’s also an incredibly brave thing to do, to break away from your own comfort zone and undertake a project that is both challenging and risky, that opens your talent up to criticism.
An ageless and flawless effort by a talented individual singer/songwriter who is a timeless artist. Alison Moyet has a fiercely loyal fan base that is demonstrated by her career to date – 3 Brit Awards, nine top ten singles, seven top 10 albums, including three number ones. Her worldwide record sales exceed 20 million and every time she goes on tour the dates are sold out wherever she plays.*
I only got this CD recently, but it’s been in play so much I’m surprised it’s not worn out already. Hopefully, you will have picked up on my enthusiasm for this amazing piece of music. If you like classics, if you like Alison Moyet, go and pick up a copy of this today.
Her voice really is so rich, pure and true that it “heals” you. This is well worth listening to; it will soothe your soul.
Thanks for reading.
© Christina ;-) x
*Source – alisonmoyet.com
Available from Amazon for £9.99 (new), from £6.00 (used)
CD Wow £8.99
Not currently available on Ebay