Enya’s new CD, Amarantine, is out now, and I’ve finished my first run through. My first reaction is that it’s not as good as her last two albums, The Memory of Trees and A Day Without Rain. This is how I imagine it:
(Three years after A Day Without Rain was released)
Studio executive: Hey Enya, how’s that new album coming along?
Enya: Uh, just fine.
Studio executive: Great. I just came to tell you that we want your next album to be pop.
Enya: Pop? Uh…
Studio executive: I can’t wait to hear it. See you in a year.
Enya: (to herself) I don’t know how to make a pop CD. Maybe I’ll just add more vocal tracks and fewer instrumental tracks.
So, that’s what it is—a bit more radio-friendly, a little less Irish, and much more lyrical than her previous albums... and still not pop. It’s just fine; it’s still great music, but something’s different, and I don’t like what changed. Maybe she decided to focus on a vocal album because she fears her voice won’t be around forever. I don’t know. It’s still got her trademark multi-layered, overdubbed humming and aahhhhing and chanting, but the focus is less on that and the background music and more on the lyrics.
There’s only one instrumental track on the whole CD, as opposed to a third or half like previous albums. Even Linkin Park’s CDs have had one instrumental track.
Actually, I think that several of the songs on the CD would work as remixes. That would be kind of interesting. It would sound like Delerium, but more somber. Anyway, there are still lots of interesting things on here for the zero of you who are Enya fans. Parts of it are Asian-themed, and at least two tracks are in Japanese (Sumiregusa and Water Shows the Hidden Heart, and possibly Less than a Pearl). The one instrumental track, Drifting, is pretty good. The River Sings is also very fun, and has no discernible lyrics; it’s mostly chants. Probably my favorite track is Sumiregusa; it’s majestic, yet delicate and beautiful, yet moving. Second favorite is Someone Said Goodbye, which is probably the most single-worthy track. It’s bright and fun.
Still a good purchase; just not one of my favorite couple Enya albums. Then again, A Day Without Rain wasn’t originally one of my favorites, and I grew to like it quite a lot. Amarantine follows the same path as A Day Without Rain, becoming a little less Irish and a little more pop with each album.
And, I don't really think that that exchange at the top is how it happened.