‘I Dreamed A Dream’ | Susan Boyle
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.