Operatic Pop, 2014
I know, I know. Sarah Brightman, she’s that poor dear who got herself married to Andrew Lloyd Webber – shudder – once upon a time, but we all have to pay our dues to get our show started… somewhere. Right? You can argue that all she does is to warble like a parrot on lozenges over some string-soaked background music, as if just going “Woo-woo-EEEEEE-AAAAAH” like that would turn pop paps into operatic gems. I won’t disagree with you there, as a part of me agrees completely with you. For the most part, I’m sorry, people, but I’m a sap for Ms Brightman’s kind of music.
Voce – Beautiful Songs is, I believe, a Japan-only release, although it’s readily available as an import. If you don’t want to pay extra for import, to be honest, you aren’t missing much if you have most of her previous albums. Voce – Beautiful Songs is actually a compilation of selected tracks from those albums as B-sides from older singles. The usual crowd pleasers are here, from Ave Maria to A Whiter Shade of Pale to Fleurs Du Mal. Time to Say Goodbye is of course present because we have to hear that again, along with The Phantom of the Opera. The former sees her going solo, while in the latter Chris Thompson doesn’t bring the same smooth seductive vibes as those dudes who actually played the Phantom in that bloody musical, instead giving this live version a rock-opera feel that is, in my opinion, an inferior version.
There are… three newish songs, I believe. Kaze No Torimichi is basically her going her usual woo-woo wailing in Japanese, while The Chart of Love ~ Keep the Light (yes, that’s really a squiggle in the title) sees her going “wah-wau-warble-ooh” in English.
The third song, Done, was used in some commercial for Panasonic’s “ideal for life” nonsense back in 2010. That apparently revolved around some uniformly white kids acting like they’re in some British countryside in the 19th century, being lured by the high-pitched warbling of Sarah Brightman’s Maleficent-style character (only with scarier make-up) into being her personal slave-choir – watch the whole thing on YouTube if you don’t believe me. Wait, there’s one token Black kid, so this is a diversity-friendly video after all. Here, this version of Done is cleaned up and I have to confess: despite its atrociously cheesy lyrics and its shamelessly “I ripped this off from Enya” familiar-sounding riffs, Done is such a ridiculously happy and upbeat song that I find myself turning up the volume as I read the newspaper and sigh at all those articles on Ebola, war, racism, and what not.
Voce – Beautiful Songs is a collection of songs, most of them already ubiquitous and easily available elsewhere that I personally don’t believe it’s worth the extra cost to get this one. It is a pretty good introductory collection to people new to Ms Brightman or for casual fans to her more popular songs in one single album, although there are already several versions of Ms Brightman’s “greatest hits”-type albums available already. Done is a really nice song, though, aural marijuana to help forget the woes of the world, and I’m almost tempted to give two thumbs up to this collection for including that song alone. Almost.