‘I Dreamed A Dream’ | Susan Boyle

| Cadenza Reporter

Rating: 1/5 stars
For fans of: Andrea Bocceli, Adam Lambert
Tracks to download: ‘I Dreamed a Dream,’ ‘Wild Horses’

Do you remember Susan Boyle, the frumpy looking Scottish woman who wowed the world with her performance on “Britain’s Got Talent”? If you don’t, that first sentence should bring you up to date on her pop-culture credentials. Boyle’s fame seems to stem mainly from her function as a real-world application of the proverbial book that should not be judged by its not quite Britney Spears-esque cover. Of course, her talent as a singer should not be overlooked. She has a gorgeous voice, which she showcases on her new album, “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Talent, however, doesn’t make a great album. While she is undoubtedly an incredible singer, Boyle’s debut is neither particularly interesting nor innovative. Consisting of 12 covers, ranging eclectically from the Rolling Stone’s “Wild Horses” to “Silent Night,” the album succeeds in showing off the beauty of Boyle’s voice. But it doesn’t do much else, nor does it seem to have any other aspirations.

“I Dreamed a Dream” is difficult to criticize in terms of absolute artistry, because the quality of Boyle’s singing is so flawless. Unfortunately, since nearly every song is interpreted in the same relentlessly gorgeous manner, the album quickly becomes tiresome. I admit I could appreciate the vocal artistry behind the rendition of “Wild Horses.” After I began listening, I soon found myself enveloped in the melting beauty of her voice accompanied by a piano. Despite the soothingness of her singing, I discovered myself meditating on the raw emotion that permeates the original version. The Rolling Stones elicit shivers and reminiscence; Boyle’s voice on this track establishes itself as the auditory equivalent of opium. Ditto for the oatmeal-bland versions of “Day Dream Believer” and “Proud”; her voice performs beautifully, but the manner in which she sings lacks energy.

Many of the tracks convey an atmosphere of worship, admittedly appropriate in some cases. “Amazing Grace,” “How Great thou Art” and “Silent Night” are probably on God’s playlist; based on her reverent singing (and for other less ingenuous reasons) Boyle could’ve had a successful career as a nun.

In terms of quality, the singing is impeccable and the arrangements complement the music. Unless you’re in search of an effective cure for insomnia and don’t feel like cracking open a physics textbook, however, it’s not necessary to buy all of the tracks. One track will suffice to convey any and all of the musical themes contained therein.

Boyle exemplifies current pop-culture celebrity, built upon a foundation of reality television. Based on this CD, I predict she will soon sink back into obscurity, haunting the elevators of large office buildings and the aisles of grocery stores. As a pop-culture reference, she doubtlessly will be cemented in the annals of history with a 30-second segment in one of VH1’s pop culture extravaganzas, perhaps sandwiched between Kanye West’s chivalrous behavior at the VMAs and the mystery surrounding Lady Gaga’s questionable genitalia. Unless you’re looking for lullaby music or something to put in a 2009 time capsule and never listen to again, I would not recommend buying this album.

  • Carole Heath

    I watched the programme with Susan Boyle recently(I dreamed a dream) about her rise to fame with Piers Morgan and when she sang with Elaine Page who Susan admires very much i think. That particular song i remember Elaine singing it with Barbara Dickson some years ago, It is a lovely song they both did it proud then. When Susan sang it with Elaine on the programme they really had such a rapport once again with this song. I like Susan she is a great singer (Cry me a river and I dreamed a dream) she has really made her own, and her own rendering of Midnight from Cats i also like. I hope Susan goes from Strength to strength she deserves it, She seems a very nice lady and is down to earth which many people like, she i think would be good in a musical maybe a short run as Susan will need time to ajust to fame. I have decided to buy her new album sometime i am sure i won’t be disappointed.

  • clowntearshelmut

    I think that Susan’s cover of “Wild Horses” is one of the best things about the whole album. She could do a whole disc of rock cover tunes and it would be amazing. Did anyone hear about the Susan Boyle special on the TV Guide channel Sunday the 13th? Here’s a link to a clip for it: http://www.tvguide.com/special/susan-boyle/

  • http://euonyms.com David Francis

    This idiot reminds me of those forgotten souls who had similarly worthless comments about Paul Potts. He showed kindness where it was not deserved to those too self absorbed with their own speech to see how utterly out of step they were with the overwhelming stampede that loved the purity of real emotion expressed flawlessy through his singing. They all have been utterly forgotten and left behind in their selfmade void. Susan Boyle is several levels above where Paul Potts was at this same stage in his fantastic career and she has just exposed the ignorance of the commentator by selling more albums than any female artist in history. 2 million sales worldwide in one week is jawdropping by any standard. Facts are overwhelming the fiction that this commentator puts forth as the best that she can come up with. Get a different job before its too late.

  • Marriah Star

    This is the strangest review I have ever read. As a Susan Boyle fan, it’s like you are describing the benefits of eating your vitamins: Yes, they are good for you, but they don’t have the pizazz of drinking alcohol, so it’s best not to take them. The sole reason anyone would buy Susan Boyle’s album is for her voice. You are absolutely correct that her voice is the “:auditory equivalent of opium”, but that is the source of her energy. You seem to be describing a classical singer who you want to be a rock star. Susan Boyle is NOT U2, Bruce Springsteen, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, or any other pop sensation. She will be around for a very long time precisely because she has a voice that transcends time, mood and place. Mature audiences get this. Other audiences will eventually appreciate her once they grow out of pop music with dance club beats.