Paint the Sky With Stars – Enya


Reprise 9 46835-2
1997.11.11

Well, there’s only one reason I borrowed this
from the library, and that was for Enya’s first, and best, fluke hit “Orinoco Flow”. Yeh, but did I listen to the rest of the CD?
After one aborted listen, having to stop after the horrific “Anywhere Is,” I tried again and made it all the way through. Talk about the law of diminishing returns. It’s an example of an artist totally misunderstanding what made her first hit so good. There’s fifteen other tracks here that have the “Enya” sound–smooth multitracked vocals, crushed digital velvet, quasi-Celtic mysticism, slow tempos–but none of the idiosyncracies of “Orinoco Flow.” There’s an erratic rhythm in the verses, a grand pomposity to the use of kettle drums, and the lyrics are mostly onomatopoeia. Who cares if “From Bissau to Palau – in the shade of Avalon/ from Fiji to Tiree and the Isles of Ebony” means anything? It sounds good. And don’t forget the last hanging chord, like a question mark.
The other songs make sure all the ambiguity of “Orinoco Flow” is solved. The chords are sunnier, the songs finish with major chords. The lyrics get dippy. “Sail away, sail away, sail away” conjured up some sort of wanderlust. “Anywhere Is” features a melody programmed by kazoo, and words such as “The moon upon the ocean / is swept around in motion / but without ever knowing / the reason for its flowing / in motion on the ocean” are trite, especially if you know the sing-song way it’s sung.
And if anyone develops a drinking game based around the number of times Enya uses the factory setting “tolling bell” sound (as first heard at the beginning of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”) then the chap who puts this CD on will wind up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

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One thought to “Paint the Sky With Stars – Enya”

  1. I’d just like to point out that the opinion posted about Enya’s album is yours and yours alone.
    Why did you rent it anyway? Do you think you might have a classical sway in your choice of listening?
    Orinnoco Flow has appeared as a dance remix on a recent ‘Irish Clubland’ Album. Sounds to me like you’re coming at Enya in exactly the same way the producers of this rotten dance album have.
    Do you think the producers of this album would care for any other of her tracks? Highly doubtful.
    You’ve completely missed the significance of Anywhere Is.

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