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This isn't the best of Sarah Brightman
on 23 October 2006
This isn't really the 'Best of' Sarah Brightman at all. It's more 'these are the most famous songs I have done so you will pick this CD up and buy it' of Sarah Brightman. Besides, she has three other 'Best Of's on release which are all remarkably better than this one.
It's worrying that someone new to Sarah Brightman would buy this and then think this is what Sarah has to offer. Practically all these songs are classical. There is no problem with that but it's only one of the many areas that Sarah has explored throughout her career. It was to my understanding that a 'Best Of' really does showcase the best of that artist. This compilation of her songs is truely pigeon-holed to meet classical standards, which is foolish since Sarah is not an opera singer. Classical singer, yes, she can be, but not an opera singer. Whilst I have never heard a more beautiful version of Nessun Dorma, or Time To Say Goodbye Sarah's area of expertise is crossover which is where this album is slightly misleading. Sarah is a master at mixing songs and giving them a radically different interpretation. She also has a wonderful collection of original songs but none of her best are on this album. What makes Sarah so popular and unique is the original or semi-original material from her albums Eden, La Luna and Timeless. They are not on here. Who Wants To Live Forever, Deliver Me, There For Me, Tu Quieres Volver, Eden and He Doesn't See Me are just a select few that should have reached this compilation. My advice is to buy her 'The Very Best of 1990-2000' which paints a more accurate picture of Sarah's career. True, it doesn't have her hits from Harem, but who cares when this collection only has two songs (poor ones at that) from Harem anyway? Bear in mind that this release in a european release of her Best Of and you can get a better one on Import 'Diva: The Singles Collection' which again is more true to Sarah's career. Also, the other best of is another album of the same name 'Classics' which was released in 2001 and is almost identical to this release apart from a few songs.
As for her performance - she has a lovely voice, indeed, she is my favourite singer but that's only because of her diversity. For this album, she sings songs that have been sung by scores of others. Her version of Nessun Dorma, Time To Say Goodbye, Music of the Night and Pie Jesu and far above the rest but songs like Nella Fantasia (which I acknowledge she originated but everyone after her have a far better arrangement) and just about every aria on the album are superior elsewhere. This album is clearly aimed at classical fans but I don't see how classical buffs would enjoy this CD. Best song on this album is A Question of Honour but because of its trance and dance influence it probably won't be appreciated by the target audience. As for taking everything I have said so far out of the consideration, the songs themselves are beautiful and stunning to listen to, but Sarah veterans already have all of these songs probably four times over already.
An... odd release from Sarah. Fortunately, it can somewhat redeem itself since it has extras on the CD when you pop it into your computer (which collaborates with her official website). Also, Sarah has penned notes on each song on why she has chosen it and what the song means to her, which is a lovely touch. All of the artwork is recycled from earlier albums, but it's done in such a way that it gets away with it. No lyrics, but since when do lyrics come with Best Of compilations anyway?
Overall I think this is to rake some cash in (what? she needs more?) and Europe have been very short changed with this release when America and Asia get a better compilation and a DVD with most of her music videos on - which is excellent if you can get hold of it (region one only though). If you are new to Sarah, this isn't the CD to buy.