Sunday, November 6, 2011

Boyled Over

It has happened with every one of Susan Boyle's albums. I roll my eyes at it, mock it and then I play it and I am bowled over once again. Her new album, "Someone To Watch Over Me" is terrific. I think it's because she gets every song she sings. She is starting to get known for "reinterpreting" popular pop songs, but I think what she does is simple - she understands the songs, and she interprets them. She brings integrity to these songs by telling us her story on them. For example, she essays the melancholy in "Enjoy The Silence" just as effectively as its original version. If you do a side by side comparison of both versions, you would have two different aural experiences, yet the song, and its message remains the same.  Long ago, I met someone who collects different versions of "Both Sides Now" and she showed me this long essay about how each artist has a different interpretation of this song, which has so many layers in its poetry. Well, Ms. Boyle has peeled another skin from this onion, for I can clearly hear her story on it - as a woman who has seen it all, has felt it all, and she is singing about where the song has taken her at this point in my life. "Lilac Wine" is one of my favorite songs of all time (I will always associate it with Helen Merrill) and she does her own more agressive take on it. Based on some of the tabloid fodder on her, the lyric "I drink much more than I ought to do" has more resonance here, whether said gossip is true or not. It's nice to hear a low-fi version of "Mad World" which spins the song in a totally different angle, and while I could have used a little less punch in her "Unchained Melody," it's still a respectable version. I read that Barbra Streisand described Ms. Boyle like "a poet singing," and whether that's true or not (that she said it) the description is apt.


  1. Your blog review of Susan Boyle's new cd is LAUGHABLE.

    I've listened to the album -- it's AWFUL.

    She titles it "Someone To Watch Over Me," and then sings only SIX lines from the song. Total cheat to someone who loves that song. The entire cd is only a little more than 30 minutes. Was there a rush to get this out before Christmas?

    If you buy the cd, you also get the worst cover of "Both Sides Now" in history.

    The pacing throughout the album is uniformly slow, slower, and slowest. It's lugubrious and depressing. Boyle has a nice voice (I still love the way she sings "I Dreamed A Dream"), but she sounds depressed and suicidal on this cd.

  2. Jockboy - depressed and suicidal? i think thats why i like it :)