Operatic Pop, 2018
The best word to describe Hymn, the result of Sarah Brightman’s studio reunion with her regular collaborator and ex Frank Peterson, is safe. Ms Brightman’s music is most interesting when she is experimenting with various fusions of styles and sounds from all parts of the world, but here, she opts for the formula that shaped her biggest hits in the past. Yes, this means boring, droning ballads with male tenors along with generic mainstream pop sounds that are punctuated with the occasional buggered-parrot screeching from her.
Sure, Fly to Paradise sounds almost interesting, but it’s a super watered-down version of Fly, the MOR version for more her geriatric fans. Indeed, most of the songs here feel like tired old retreads of her better songs in the past. Perhaps, appropriately, Time to Say Goodbye is here. Again. Sure, this is some kind of rework of the song, but the recognizable chorus is still here. The whole thing is pointless. How long has she flogged this dead horse of a song? Let it go, please, let the freaking thing go.
Then again, Hymn is basically the extended play version of this Time to Say Goodbye: a sad and really unnecessary flogging of a dead horse that has long decomposed. It’s creatively bankrupt and lifeless, with Ms Brightman’s increasingly shrill harpy voice almost drowned out by studio-generated sounds and thingamabob – which may not be a bad thing, now that I think of it, as it seems like she can’t hit the notes like she used to, but she still insists on forcing her voice nonetheless, much to the dismay of my eardrums.
At any rate, go listen to Dive, Fly, and other earlier albums – Hymn only tells the sad, sad story of how far has Sarah Brightman fallen since those glorious early days.