BLOODY AMAZING. Having broken pre-sale records over at Amazon.Com already, overnight sensation Susan Boyle's debut album I Dreamed a Dream is finally set for release. Truly, we've had limited opportunities to see Boyle perform only, so one would think that her range is limited to showtunes based on those YouTube clips that have circulated to your inboxes and Facebook accounts. I Dreamed a Dream however, puts to rest any doubts to whether or not Boyle is indeed a bona fide commercial artist, because she is.
Super-producer Steve Mac (Il Divo, Leona Lewis) does an impeccable job overseeing production on this covers collection, considering the short amount of time given to rush the album into stores for the holidays. Boyle and Mac have recorded an album which neatly cuts a slice of the pie which Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion fans hunger for. Its timing couldn't be more perfect considering that the former recently topped the Billboard Hot 100 with her latest album Love is the Answer. This proves that the demand for female crooners is still very much alive today in a market dominated by younger urban, rock and country acts. Arrangements are rich on grand piano and strings, making the 12 track opus is a slice of heaven for me considering my weakness for the latter. The focus undoubtedly is always Boyle's angelic mezzo soprano.
Highlights include first single Wild Horses, a Rolling Stones cover, which has a place on adult contemporary/easy listening radio. Cry Me a River which recently appeared on Michael Bublé's Crazy Love album, is understated sultriness and her cover of Madonna's You'll See is a pleasant surprise, although not offering much new interpretively. The Monkees' Daydream Believer is stripped of its original playfulness and Balladized.
Boyle's commitment to her faith has been publicized widely and as anticipated, there are many spiritual moments on the album complete with gospel choir like How Great Thou Art, Up To The Mountain, Amazing Grace and Silent Night. Oddly though, the decision was made to mix down her vocals on these tracks to the point her vocals are lost completely in the mix.
Listen to a full preview of Boyle's take on Wild Horses below (courtesy of Sony/BMG Records):
I was looking forward very much to seeing Boyle's free performance in Toronto later this month but learned that it is now postponed until late December. Regardless, I can't wait to witness the magic in-person. Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream will be released Tuesday, November 24, 2009 and it is absolute delight. Grade: A
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