69 of 82 people found the following review helpful
A Christmas Gift,
This review is from: The Gift (Audio CD)
This second album of Susan Boyle is aptly named "The Gift" because it is a Christmas gift to her fans in this holiday season. It was produced by Steve Mac, the award winning British record producer, songwriter, and owner of Rokstone Studio in London, for the Syco/Columbia label. It consists of well-known Christmas classics, a Christian hymn, a Scottish folk song, and time-proven iconic pop rocks, re-arranged to fit Susan Boyle's vocal range and artistic style.
THE CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
Susan Boyle brings forth the holiday spirit in her heart warming renditions of traditional Christmas classics, which include "The First Noel", "O Holy Night", "Away in a Manger", and "O Come All Ye Faithful". These are Christmas songs most people grew up with and beloved by Christians and non-Christians alike. The most interesting piece, however, is "Do You Hear What I Hear". It is a duet with Amber Stassi, a 33 year-old paramedic and a mother of three from Brewerton, New York. She was the winner of "Susan's Search"--a YouTube video contest launched on July 14, 2010 for a duet partner in this upcoming second album. The song was composed and written in 1962 by the then wife-and-husband team, Gloria Shayne and Noël Regney, and made famous by Bing Cosby in his 1963 Christmas album. Amber Stasis has a full and mellow voice. I wish I could hear more of her.
THE CHRISTIAN HYMN AND THE FOLK SONG
"Make Me A Channel of Your Peace" is a Christian hymn generally attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th century Catholic deacon and preacher, founder of the Franciscan order, and patron saint of the animals. This version of the hymn was adapted and set to music in 1967 by Sebastian Temple, a South African composer and lyricist and a secular Franciscan. This prayer song is a fitting testament by Susan Boyle to her faith in this holiday season, when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of their Savior.
"Auld Lang Syne (Old Long Since)" is a Scots poem written by the Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns in 1788, and set to the tune of a traditional Scottish folk song. It tells of the nostalgic reminiscence of old friendship and is often sung on New Year's day at the stroke of midnight, to celebrate the arrival of a New Year. It is a nice addition to Susan Boyle's Christmas album and her way of saying, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year".
THE POP ROCKS
"Perfect Day" was originally written by American rock musician, Lou Reed, and published in his 1972 album, Transformer. It was his second solo album after he left his rock band, the Velvet Underground, which he co-founded with John Cale. While there is a minor controversy regarding the meaning of the lyrics, which can be interpreted as Reed alluding romantically to his drug use, Susan Boyle's tender rendition of the song conjures up images of a romantic outing of lovers in the park. Some speculate that the singer might be reminiscent of the "perfect days" with her beloved Pebbles, now that her career has sadly kept them apart.
"Hallelujah" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, for his 1984 album, Various Positions. The song was made popular by a cover sung by the Welsh musician, John Cale, who was the co-founder of the famous rock band, The Velvet Underground. The lyrics contain a number of references to the Bible and exist in numerous versions. Susan Boyle's artful rendition of this song will undoubtedly increase its popularity among more mature audience.
"Don't Dream It's Over" was written by New Zealand singer-songwriter Neil Finn, who was the leading member of the Australian rock band, Crowded House. It was first released in the self-titled debut album of the band, Crowded House, in 1986. Not much of a rock fan myself, I prefer Susan Boyle's softer and more thoughtful rendition of this famous rock tune to the Crowded House original.
THE THIRD ALBUM
Rumor has it that a third album by Susan Boyle is due out in spring, 2011. This album is said to include a number of new songs. Apparently, they are answers by Syco executives to complaints about Susan Boyle singing mostly covers in her albums. Personally, I see nothing wrong in singing covers. Singers may be singing the same songs, but the emotions and the artistry they convey are different. That said, it is good to add new songs to the pool, to give singers more choices, not to mention keeping songwriters employed.
Some Susan Boyle detractors argued that the "Susan Boyle phenomenon" was but a product of a sleazy talent show that shrewdly manipulated the masses with their videos on YouTube and a greedy music industry executive out to make big bucks. One went as far as calling Susan Boyle fans "little robots" controlled by music industry executives. In short, as her detractors would have it, the popular interest in Susan-Boyle-the-singer was just a fad in an unsophisticated public. If it were true, she would have been forgotten long ago. The public has a short memory, American especially so. But the popularity of Susan Boyle's music goes on and on. Susan Boyle is a gifted artist. She sings what she feels; any impartial listener can tell, no musical training required. One reviewer wrote, "Her audition at BGT was the spark, but her artistry was the fuel that kept the flame burning bright and long." I couldn't agree more. (See Footnote.)
Footnote: The reviewer was English Bulldog, who had graciously given me permission to quote his review. For a more in-depth review on "Do You Hear What I Hear", please click on the mp3 download of the track.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Nov 2010 13:39:24 GMT
Mr. P. D. Horner says:
Posted on 21 Nov 2010 18:37:43 GMT
Michael Kettering says:
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