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Reviews Written by
Nicola Tilley (Northampton)

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Offered by Boyrecords
Price: £19.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful album, but lacks substance, 26 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Angelzoom (Audio CD)
German vocalist Claudia Uhle is the solely responsible for Angelzoom; an etheral, airy sound that narrowly avoids classification.

Angelzoom runs with the dark wave crowd such as The Dresdon Dolls, L'Áme Immortelle and The Birthday Massacre, but this is kind of misleading. As much as some may put her next to dark wave artists, I would sooner slot her in with Enya. Her sound is electronic with dark synths in same manner as The Birthday Massacre, but any rock or punk is absent, very vaguely rearing its head in the "heaviest" tracks of the album 'Turn the Sky' and 'Fairyland' (though heavy is really the wrong word). Bar those two songs, the rest of the album quietly goes into Enya territory with pretty little instrumentals and twinkly songs.

As it is, there is not really a bad track on here. Angelzoom's cover of Linkin Park's "Crawling" might leave a bitter taste in the mouth, but other covers, such as Depeche Mode's "Blaspehmous Rumours" is nothing short of glorious if you appreciate the albums purpose. Angelzoom does not build tracks up like any other artist on the planet; the first verse of any of the songs has the same tone and volume as the finishing chorus which can make some tracks seem repetitive, and have the listener wonder where she's going. She is not going anywhere. This album leans more towards chill out and new age, rather than making artistic sounds and sending out a message. It is laid back from beginning to end.

Uhle's vocal delivery is very pretty (a light soprano), but not much else. It is almost as if she does not know the meaning of lyrics she sings, as the vocals are soulless. This is most evident in 'Crawling' where she does not convey any kinds of anguish or pain whatsoever; she might as well be singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. Also, English is not her first language, and her diction is rather off-putting (think Tarja Turunen), but all tracks but one are in English.

There are four instrumentals on this album. All very pretty and calm, especially 'Peace of Mind', but they are all achieved with synths and electronics. They are all a merit to her, but they may not stand out for most listeners. There is a beautiful Christmas song towards the end of the album 'Christmas Dreams'. Although not a Christmas album, the album does seem to have a Christmassy on a wintery feel to it, especially with the instrumentals. You'll also find a variety of male guest vocalists which makes some songs very reminiscent of L'Áme Immortelle (think 'Back in the Moment' and 'Into My Arms')

Stand out tracks include 'Turn the Sky', 'Back in the Moment', 'Blasphemous Rumours' and 'Fairyland'. For Enya enthusiasts the standout tracks maybe different; such as 'Otium', 'Falling Leaves', 'Guardian Angel', 'Newborn Sun', 'Christmas Dreams' and 'Peace of Mind'.

There are some weak tracks on here. Whilst 'Crawling' would be anticipated by listeners, as it is quite a good song for adaptation, it does not work, but there's also 'Lights', and 'Into My Arms' (though L'Áme Immortelle fans might love it). Although weaker, they are still listenable.

Ultimately, this is an album to chill out too. To play it from beginning to end, most suitably next to a warm fire on a winter's night. I would recommend this to dark wave fans, but it will not be the stand out album of the year for you. I think Enya/Enigma fans will appreciate this perhaps a little bit more. I think it is a beautiful album overall, and is successful in doing what it set out to do; just do not expect anything innovative or inspiring here.

Amazon does not provide a tracklist, so I will leave you with that:

1. Turn the Sky (feat. Apocalyptica)
2. Back in the Moment (feat. Joachim Witt)
3. Blasphemous Rumours
4. Otium
5. Falling Leaves
6. Guardian Angel
7. Crawling
8. Bouncing Shadows
9. Fairyland
10. Dream in a Church (feat. Letzte Instanz)
11. Lights
12. Newborn Sun (feat. Milu/Mila Mar)
13. Into My Arms (feat. Roedernallee)
14. Christmas Dreams
15. Peace of Mind (contains hidden instrumental)

A Bit O' This and That
A Bit O' This and That
Price: £22.90

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's A Bit O' This & That..., 7 Sept. 2008
This review is from: A Bit O' This and That (Audio CD)
This album is exactly what it says it is. Not a complete album in the ordinary sense, but a collection of b-sides, remixes, live recordings, and random things she recorded on a whim on a kitchen floor. Many of the songs are low quality due to the way they were recorded (not in a recording studio, put it that way). There are no songs here in the 'Opheliac' style.

Many songs sound like cut songs from 'Enchant' and there are two remixes from the 'Enchant' album. She has done a universally terrible remix of Chambermaid (something she confirms in the notes herself) which sounds like a complete mess, and it opens the album. The second song and the second remix is a rather sweeter version than the original 'What If' with a celtic edge and it appears to be a different vocal performance. 'Hollow Like My Soul' and 'I Don't Care Much' are jazzy reject songs from Enchant. 'I Know It's Over', 'All My Loving' (a Beatles cover) and 'With Every Passing Day' all have very poor recording quality.

Elsewhere we have the comical rendition of 'The Star Sprangled Banner' which she attempts to sing in her unique way. It's funny, but also a bit cringe worthy. In the notes she said she recorded it to show people that it was a bad idea to ask her to sing the anthem live. There are two live violin recordings of 'Sonata in D Minor' and 'Ancient Grounds'. There is a harpsichord instrumental of the classic 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life'. The song which would probably make most people want to buy this album is the single she released in 2001 which is randomly squeezed in called 'By The Sword' which is a poppy, rocky kind of song with a punch. For me, however, there are only two songs on here that are worth listening to, and that's the ballad 'Find Me A Man' and the Shakespeare inspired 'O Mistress Mine' which is a song that was originally going to be on a Shakespeare album she was working on, but scraped. Lastly, there is the song 'Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches' which is three songs, the first being an acapella of a children's playground game (like 'Oranges and Lemons' for example), a second song comes on which is short and sweet, and the third song has no music, just some very eerie/fightening noises. Her vocals are tampered with and layered.

The packaging is exactly the same as the Enchant packaging that has been released along with this. It comes as a normal CD sized book with a thin card board sleeve that covers it. Inside you have several pages without photos and artwork, just Emilie penning notes on each song as to why she recorded it and what she thinks of it, which is a cute addition to it all.

As one can expect with such albums, it doesn't carry much substance but there is the odd song that is worth listening to. Here is the tracklisting in its entirety:

1. Chambermaid (Space Mix)
2. What If (Celtic Mix)
3. Hollow Like My Soul
4. By The Sword
5. I Don't Care Much
6. I Know It's Over
7. Find Me A Man
8. O Mistress Mine
9. The Star Sprangled Banner
10. All My Loving
11. Sonata in D Minor
12. Ancient Grounds
13. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
14. With Every Passing Day
15. Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches

Over all, I think this is a CD that only die-hard fans should buy. Casual buyers will not find much to appreciate here, and even avid fans may find it difficult to appreciate too.


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Her Own League, 7 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Enchant: (Audio CD)
When you come across Emilie Autumn fans, you may well find that many are divided. Many love THIS Emilie, the Emilie that they call the "Enchant Era" whilst others enjoy the "Victorindustrual" era. Bear in mind though, that there are not many people that enjoy the latter era and dislike 'Enchant'; it's a completely different type of music, but Emilie back then was still unique and this album provides us with music which is radically different to what she does now, but it's also different compared to anything other artist due to the albums eclectic material.

This album is not pigeonholed for an audience; when the album opens up with 'Prologue: Across The Sky' you will believe that you have stumbled into a fairy wonderland which sounds like a bizarre collaboration between Enigma and Enya but as the album continues you were treated to mild blues/jazz like Second Hand Faith, rocky-pop numbers like 'Chambermaid', pop/techno/violin songs like the catchy 'Juliet' and pretty haunting ballads like 'Epilogue: What If'. I'd say that if you don't like the jazzy sound, you may not like the majority of the album, but there are enough songs on it without the jazz to pull this through for you. The standout songs are 'Across The Sky', 'Chambermaid', 'Rapunzel' and 'What If'.

As to Emilie's performance - it is very different to her later CDs. None of this is rock or industrial really, she sings all the songs straight with her real voice (no growls). As to her violin playing it is highly played down on this album, but is obviously present in songs such as 'What If', 'Juliet' and 'Remember'. A lot of the album is electronic but a piano and violin can be heard pretty much throughout, even if not on the forefront. Unlike other albums, Emilie didn't do this album by herself so it's not purely her production wizardry and strong instrumental playing.

Enchant has reached cult and classic status because there is simply a song on here for everyone but is hard to obtain. It has been more or less impossible to get until August this year when it was released again in a special boxset for a limited amount only (3000 copies). This is the same product, and if you don't snap it up now you won't get the opportunity again for a very long time, possibly never. As it is, the boxset (if you can call it that) is quite pricey and you may not regard it being worth your money, as you can buy the album legally on download through her website for a quarter of the price. The packaging comes as a normal CD sized book with a thin card board sleeve that covers it. Inside you have several pages but there is not much artwork to be seen, and there are zero photos. There is only lyrics written by Emilie's own hand, but it is barely eligible, so if you want the lyrics you will still have to log on the net and find them that way, despite having them in your hand. The CD itself does not have any bonus songs or material. It is exactly as it was in its original release.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Bohemian Rhapsody
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Bohemian Rhapsody

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Rendition of Lauper's Classic, 6 Sept. 2008
Still riding on her success of 'Opheliac' and its style, Emilie Autumn has now released an EP with two covers of the most distinctive songs ever recorded: Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' and Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

Two very difficult songs to make your own, and two very difficult songs to sell different versions of as the originals are so culturally and historically well-known. Autumn's attempt does not work with both songs.

This EP contains nine tracks. There are five versions of 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun', one of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', two live tracks from her recent tour and an extra exclusive recording. Veteran Autumn fans will recognise the format easily enough, but for new fans this EP may be a bit baffling.

Her rendition of 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' stems from her impulse decision to perform it live on her tour, and it turned out to be so popular that it was in high demand for Autumn to record it. This is for good reason. Autumn's version of the classic is a triumph. It fits perfectly with her stage persona and attitude, and she has adapted it to her own unique style, which of course includes her second favourite instrument - the harpsichord. Unlike the original the electronics are at a minimum (just a drum machine for the beat) and some violin is thrown in for good measure. Her vocal delivery is as sarcastic and fun as ever. Probably one of her best recordings.

On the other end of the scale 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is not so immediately convincing. The arrangement is the same as her other recordings, with her strings and her drum machine (and a welcome electric violin that released the guitar) but it remains difficult to accept the changes. The original is a full blown production that screams fullness and atmosphere. This version pales in comparison. It is clear, however, that she is not taking it completely seriously and her vocals verge on comic, but the song feels simply empty.

Fortunately, her 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' dominates the EP with four remixes along with her original. The first remix takes out the drum machine and has only her harpsichord and vocals pull the song through. The second is almost opposite, emphasizing on the drum machine over the other instruments. The third takes it a step up and focuses on a heavier electronic percussion. The fourth remix has a more authentic rock band feel. Unlike Autumn's earlier remixes on other EPs, there is not much vocal manipulation in any of these remixes - they pretty much remain the same.

The live tracks are nothing special, and are an odd choice. One is an exclusive track called 'Asleep' which acts as an introduction to the second live track 'Mad Girl' that originally came from her 'Liar/Dead is the New Alive EP'. The recorded version is superior - the live tracks only seem to perform the function of filling up the EP.

The last track is hidden and is not credited in the booklet or CD cover (the song was added at the last minute before production). It is an exclusive track called 'Gentleman Aren't Nice'. It's a short narrative song with a simple harpsichord accompanying - its tone is quite cabaret/jazz.

The full track list to this EP is as follows:

1. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Harpsichord Rendezvous)
4. Asleep (Live)
5. Mad Girl (Live)
6. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Teatime Remix by EA)
7. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Asylum Remix by Inkydust)
8. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Bad Girl Remix by The Fire)
9. Gentleman Aren't Nice

Like any of Autumn's EPs, this is not for beginners. For dedicated fans, the title track is a real treat, along with the remixes though they do not deviate from her original recording that much. The rest of the EP is a big let down, and whilst you can only admire Autumn's courage to tackle 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the vocals let you know it is not to be taken too seriously, it is still difficult not to feel a little bit uncomfortable with it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2008 2:01 PM BST

Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

63 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but enjoyable., 31 Aug. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Now let me give Twilight haters this. Almost every single thing the negative reviews said about this novel is true. It really is. What are the negative things said about it, you ask? These are the most common observations I read when I read countless negative reviews and things I had also picked up myself whilst reading:

* It's unoriginal.
* The prose is overly filled with adjectives, mostly describing how beautiful Edward is, and constantly reminding us of that fact on every single page.
* The narration is overly detailed. e.g. the narration tells us that she gets up, brushes her teeth, what tooth paste she uses, what corners she drives round, which parking place she takes, what she has for dinner, how she cooks the dinner, and the list goes on.
* The vampire myth, or its world, does not have very much depth.
* We are reminded, far too often, how dangerous Edward is.
* We know at the very first page that Bella hates rain and cold, and that she is clumsy, and yet the author insults are intelligence, also reminding us of this on every page as if we might forget.
* Bella has no personality.
* Edward has no personality.
* Actually, nobody has a personality.
* The love that Edward and Bella share is completely superficial.
* The tone of the novel is inconsistent (pages 1-300 are completely different to the pages 301-430)

There is an element of truth in all of these points, though I would like to contest some of them, if only a bit mildly. The first and most common criticism is its unoriginality. At its bare bones, it is a teenage romance novel. It is what it is. Yes, it is unoriginal, but it was not trying to be anything new and amazing, and why is it things have to be original these days, anyway? I commend anyone that can come up with anything completely original, but also I'm not sure why unoriginality equates bad quality and vice versa. It boggles my mind.

The second point I want to contest to is Bella having "no personality". I cannot help but think that it is up to the reader to see something in her, or to relate to her somehow, because I did not see the non-personality. I saw a frustrated, lonely, but, emotionally, a typical teenager. I do not know what her haters problem is, I can only guess, I only know that I disagree. As to the rest of the characters, the narration did keep mentioning different names and I could not determine the difference between them all - they were pretty lifeless. Character development is not this novel's strong point.

The third and final I part I want to disagree with to a degree is that Edward and Bella's relationship is completely superficial. I am not disagreeing on the grounds that they fell in "love" with one another because of appearances, but I am disagreeing to the point that their romance is typical of teenagers. Meyer is not writing about two adults in their forties falling in love, she is writing about two hormone raged adolescents. What do you expect? Even so, their conversations do begin to progress into deeper meaning behind their attraction for one another; think to when Edward explained why he would never hurt Bella. He explains that her personality, and her nature is unusual, and that is what attracted him to her, why he cannot read her mind, and why he could not bare to lose her - because her mind works differently to everybody else's.

Now, before you think I am flanking to this novel's defense, I will say this simply: This novel is an enjoyable read, but it is very, very flawed for the reasons listed above. The author is far too repetitive and tangential. She seems unable to develop her characters, or give good reasons for their actions; the last 100 pages of the novel feel like they are tacked on from a completely different novel. The "threat" that Bella comes under is too coincidental, out of nowhere and stupid to believe. The author seems to think that her readership are stupid and need reminding of certain things on every page (Bella's clumsiness, Edward's beauty, Bella hates rain, Edward is dangerous), there's no depth to any characters but the protagonist, perhaps Edward too, if we push it. The exclusivity of this novel is also a problem. With Harry Potter I recommended to anyone from my grandparents, to my best friends. Twilight? Would not feel right recommending it to a male. Men reading Twilight and enjoying it seems implausible to me. It really hits its market dead on centre. Everything about this novel is girly, and I think that is a major flaw (only on an aesthetic level, it is obviously very good for marketing and business).

But this book is enjoyable. There must be a reason. Quite frankly, to be overly bothered about its flaws is missing the point a bit. It is just a teenage novel. You would not go and read a Point Horror book and then write negative reviews for it saying how badly it is written, or how obvious the twist was at the end, because most people accept the Point Horror books for what they are, and hey, no one is talking about a Point Horror book, or making a film out of it! People's problem with Twilight is that it is popular, but it is no different to the Point Horror books. It is a novel aimed at teenage girls. Think of a milder and ever so slightly better written Mills & Boon novel, only with vampires, and that is Twilight.

I noticed the many drawbacks the novel had, but I still enjoyed it, because I am one of those people that like to fall into a nice romance. The writing is easy and accessible, you turn the pages, you're drawn in whilst you're reading it, you want the protagonists to just flipping kiss, you finish it, and you want the next book. Is that not what enjoying a book is all about? It is just a nice light read to tune your brain off too. Who cares if it will not win the next Booker prize? I would fully recommend this to anyone who enjoys a cute little romance and quick, gliding read.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2010 10:06 PM BST

Diva: Singles Collection
Diva: Singles Collection
Price: £14.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Sarah's "Best Of"s, 20 Aug. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
To date Sarah Brightman has three 'Best of' albums. One was released in 2000 that primarily focused on Brightman's collaboration with Frank Peterson. It was a good solid release but it failed to acknowledge Brightman's career pre-Peterson, indeed, it only included songs that were recorded and released with the nineties. The other two releases came about at the same time in 2006. Europeans (i.e. us) were lumbered with 'Classics: The Best of Sarah Brightman'. A pigeon holed release that did not demonstrate Brightman's career at all, and focused purely on her more classical recordings. The rest of the world was gifted with this gem. Aptly called 'Diva: The Singles Collection' this album gives us the true image of Sarah's long career spanning the time between 1986 and 2004 (no, it does not include the ever memorable Starship Troopers!)

Although this disc does not actually include every single she has released, it tries hard to stick to the more prominent and successful releases. It includes three tracks from her ALW era in the eighties, four from her most successful album 'Timeless', two from 'Eden', two from 'La Luna', two from 'Harem' and just one from her least known album 'Fly'. The only drawback of this otherwise fantastic album is that it neglects her album 'Dive' completely. As her first recording with Peterson with some fantastic singles ('Once in a Lifetime' springs to mind) it is a shame that it does not make an appearance.

In terms of long serving fans, this album offers nothing new whatsoever and I would not suggest buying it at all unless you want to complete a collection, but if you are a beginner, this is probably the best album that you could possibly start out with.

Last but not least, this album was released along side a 'Singles Collection' DVD that had most of the music videos of this albums track list. That is well worth hunting down, but at the moment Europeans are still excluded from the release, and you will have to live with region one NTSC format.

Love Changes Everything: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, Vol. 2
Love Changes Everything: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, Vol. 2
Price: £5.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A corny release from Really Useful Records, 20 Aug. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Every now and again, Andrew Lloyd Webber likes to cash in on his ex-wife's success and release these albums. This is Webber's sixth release of Sarah Brightman singing his material (or fifth, it depends how you view the album 'The Songs That Got Away').

It is the sixth, and it's also the weakest. It has some tracks that fans have not heard Sarah sing before, which is probably where its market value is coming from, but these new tracks are so atrocious that it is little wonder why they have been locked up inside the Webber recording vault until now. Actually, the wonder is why he decided to let them out!

The problem is not the songs themselves, or Sarah's performance, but the awful production and arrangements. It sounds like its sugary sweet sounds have been adapted for pre-school children to dance around in during musical chairs. The worst offender is Sarah's duet with Cliff Richard in Starlight Express's 'Only You'. 'Probably on a Thursday', 'The Perfect Year', 'Too Much in Love to Care' (though it is a real treat to hear Sarah and John Barrowman together) and 'Make Up My Heart' are in the same vein, and that is the majority of the new recordings. It is a real crying shame, because Sarah's voice is stunning in all of them.

Also amongst the track list we have some standards that are on most of these type of releases are 'Think of Me', 'Everything's Alright' 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' and 'Whistle Down the Wind'. None of these are new in anyway. We are treated with a new recording of 'Love Changes Everything' which is most unwelcome, as the production and arrangement are as awful as most of the other tracks. This leaves three other tracks: 'Seeing is Believing' with Michael Ball, 'Any Dream Will Do' and 'I Don't Know How To Love Him'. Her duet with Michael Ball is the real deal. It is previously unreleased and its arrangement is a serious one, unlike the others, and Ball gives it that extra class. The other two tracks have been available, but only on a very obscure album. 'IDKHTLH' is a particularly great performance from Sarah and is the best rendition I have heard.

Even if you're an avid Sarah fan with most of the other ALW and SB collaborations, there are still plenty of songs here you have not yet heard, but even so the tracks are difficult to listen to without cringing. The new tracks may be to your taste and in which case I would suggest picking a copy up. If you're thinking about buying your first ALW and SB collaboration, do not start on this. 'Surrender: The Unexpected Songs' and 'The ALW Collection' are far more superior to this release. If you are looking for a serene, beautiful album, go for 'Surrender' if you want a mixed bag, go for 'ALW Collection'.

Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £44.57

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor re-issue of a classic, 19 Aug. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fly (Audio CD)
**This review was written for the Japanese edition of this album - Amazon seems to have merged the editions together and was never intended to be published for the normal edition** (Update - 01/06/2013)

I would like to assume that you're looking at this page because you already know the album 'Fly' in its original format, and simply want to know if forking out extra money for this new edition is worth it. This review is simply about this edition and the two stars refer to this edition, not to the actual 'Fly' album.

This is the fourth edition of Fly (yes, that's right, the fourth of her least successful studio album). Perhaps Sarah and team really want to drum into the world what they missed back in 1996 when this gem was originally released, and I do not blame them - the world did miss something. The first edition is pretty much the track listing of this edition being reviewed without the bonus tracks. The second tried to cash in on the success of the single 'Time to Say Goodbye' in 1997, and re-issued the album with the seriously out of place song as the album's opener. The third edition is one you'll probably never see unless you have hundreds of pounds to spare and frequent eBay a hell of a lot, and that is known as 'Fly II' and was only available on Merchandise stores on her La Luna tour. It included a second disc of thirteen never before released tracks, or otherwise very rare. Until now, and that is where this fourth edition gets its appeal. No, it's not a glorious second disc full of goodies, but four bonus tracks, two of which did come from the rare second disc of Fly II. The other two "bonus" tracks? Complete waste of time.

So this is what this fourth edition has. It has a brand spanking new album sleeve full of sparkly bits that try to revamp old, unflattering photos that were used for the original release. It also has a Japanese booklet and a pretty OBI strip as, let's not forget, this edition was only released in Japan. If you are unfamiliar with Japanese imports, the Japanese booklet is basically pages of translations from English to Japanese, and a biography. The OBI strip is also written in Japanese. The main album booklet is still in English.

This edition does not include 'Time to Say Goodbye' but it does have four bonus tracks: 'Do You Wanna Be Loved', 'How Can Heaven Love Me (Video Version)', A Question of Honour (Alternative Radio Edition)' and 'On the Nile'. 'Do You Wanna Be Loved' and 'On the Nile' are the rare songs that come from Fly II and are the songs you will be spending your money on. 'Do You Wanna Be Loved' is a fun pop song with heavy euro influence. It is purely nineties. 'On The Nile' is a very short song (a minute and ten seconds long!) and lacks any kind of substance as it just does not have the time to develop. Adding the video version of 'How Can Heaven Love Me' and stamping it with BONUS TRACK is a very bad joke. The difference between that version and the original is minimal, like a game of 'Spot the Difference' in an expert puzzle book. The alternative radio version of 'A Question of Honour' (because we need another version on top of the ten that are already out there) is simply the track as usual, but without the prologue and epilogue of 'La Wally'.

This edition's worst crime? It uses its own software to play on your computer, and this software is all in Japanese. You cannot copy it over to your Windows Media Player or whatever software you use to listen to music, because the disc will not be compatible with it.

Is this worth it? I have Fly II, and I would say that this disc is a complete waste of time. But for someone without Fly II, you may want to grasp whatever tracks from it that you can get your hands on, but the two tracks given are simply not worth it. The first reason is that 'On the Nile' is more a novelty than a song. Come on. It is a minute long! As for 'Do You Wanna Be Loved'? It has been covered by another artist called Princessa and Sarah does the backing vocals for the track, not to mention other tracks on the same album that are written by Sarah and vocally backed by her. If you can find a copy of that album (look at the comments for more details on how to get it), I suggest you get that, if not, then go ahead with this one, but it is a real waste.

Also: Ignore amazon's track list, it's wrong. The real one is:

1. Fly
2. Why
3. Murder in Mairyland Park
4. How Can Heaven Love Me - Sarah Brightman, Chris Thompson
5. Question of Honour
6. Ghost in the Machinery
7. You Take My Breath Away
8. Something in the Air - Sarah Brightman, Tom Jones
9. Heaven Is Here
10. I Love You
11. Fly
12. Do You Wanna Be Loved
13. How Can Heaven Love Me (Video Version)
14. A Question of Honour (Alternative Radio Version)
15. On the Nile
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2008 8:13 PM BST

Into Paradise
Into Paradise
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.87

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mild, pleasing album., 19 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Into Paradise (Audio CD)
I am never one to fall for the pure marketing artists that are spewed out by record companies jumping the crossover bandwagon these days, and whilst these girls are yet another product thrust into our faces around Christmas time and Mother's Day I find myself enjoying their music immensely.

When they first appeared, I was quick to throw them in with your Angelis and your Il Divo. Their album is sure to be pretty, I thought to myself, but there will not be much else to it. Yes, Universal Classics are still trying to get their cash in whilst the fad is still in fashion, and yes, the girls are just puppets at this point, with polite nods to their record company that jump when they are told to. Yes, the format is set, there and ready, for Christmas shoppers to buy. Pretty, pure, white girls with pretty voices, singing some easy listening contemporary classics and pop songs in the most mild of ways. But in some cases you have to wonder why you care about how they are marketed and why they exist in the first place, and the sound that they produce in this album has caused such a case to emerge within me.

Pure and simple, this album is a good listen. Certainly, there is nothing original or ground breaking here but that was never their point to begin with. All Angels offer some beautifully, mildly sweeping orchestrations, designed to highlight their harmonies, which are, quite frankly, top notch. They're not opera singers and they're not power driven, but together they create something even more powerful than a single voice could ever produce.

The track list, in total crossover fashion has your pop covers (and some fine choices this time round), sacred arias and classical pieces. There is something to please every crossover fan's ear. Among the pop covers we have the ever frequent Coldplay popping up, and no, it is not 'Fix You'! Their pure voices really offer 'The Scientist' a new dimension that makes the song more melancholy than you may have heard it before. 'Nothing Compares to You' is another crossover standard, simply because it works extremely well, and it is no exception here. It does not have the emotional pull of the original but the girls pour their heart into it nonetheless. The definite highlight for me is 'Singing You Through' which lyrically complements the Angels perfectly as they sing of birds singing you through, as they do. Their 'Sull' Aria' may annoy some purists but they bring the classic to a wide audience with their superior vocal arrangements. Brunning's 'Pie Jesu' is also a welcome addition.

The drawback of this album is that any emotion drawn from it is actually just from the beauty of the voices, rather than the emotions that the songs themselves should evoke. This album is certainly not an album for all occasion or all moods, which is where it loses substance, but if you quite happy with the idea that you will listen to this mainly when you want to relax or have a good soak in the bath, then there is no reason why you should not take the plunge, because it will certainly do that job extremely well.

Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics)
Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Jean Rhys
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a try for curious readers, 18 Aug. 2008
'Jane Eyre' is probably one of my favourite novels of all time, and when a family member lent me this prequel, I was quick to devour it.

My expectations were not high, however. I was excited about the 'Jane Eyre' BBC adaptation, and when it turned out to be outstanding and very loyal to its source material, I was keen to watch the prequel that they advertised afterwards. I was not as impressed. I found it dull and could not really connect with Bertha.

As it turns out, after reading this novella, the BBC adaptation was as loyal as the 'Jane Eyre' adaptation. It was sexy, colourful, brooding, exotic and menacing, and whilst I did not appreciate this at the time, I do after reading this. Unfortunately, this loyalty means the shortcomings of the TV adaptation are also true of this novella. It is quite difficult to feel for the heroine, like we are clearly supposed to, and the author opts to make Rochester (who, interestingly, is never named) out to be a villain, and her madness is entirely his fault.

It is a plausible exploration that aligns itself with Victorian gender politics; when women were sent to lunatic asylums for as little as depression, and then sent mad inside of them. Actually, it is highly relevant, and it gives the reader a completely different view of Bertha's story. This is a double edged sword though. As interesting as it is, and perhaps right, in many respects, it is pretty difficult to grasp the characterisation of Rochester in this manner for all the people that adored his character in 'Jane Eyre'.

Besides the character of Bertha, and the fact that this novella is a prequel, it can firmly stand on its own. Not, perhaps, as a story or something to be enjoyed, but for the thematics and how the language complements them. The narration is riddled with imagery, foreshadowing and sheer elegance. It deals with gender politics, Victorian martial laws, colonialism, race, and of course, psychology. Having said that, I would recommend reading 'Jane Eyre' before embarking on this, as much of it would be lost if you have not read 'Jane Eyre' first. It also may soil your view on Rochester for 'Jane Eyre' and give away plot details which would ruin the novel for you considerably.

If you have read 'Jane Eyre', I would not say that this is vital, but if you are curious about Bertha's character this novella fleshes her out a bit, though there is still something about her that is lacking. I felt more sympathy for her in `Jane Eyre' without all of this background to be honest.

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