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Music Reviews
Popular Music Reviews - Part 1 - March, 1996


By Cynthia Robertson

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Ratings:    
  ***** Extraordinary
  **** Good
  *** Acceptable
  ** Mediocre
  * Poor

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Enya
"The Memory of Trees"
Reprise Records 1995
Cat # 946106-2
$16.99
Performance: starstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstarstar
 

After four years...a new Enya album! But, please read my review before breaking the seal on those nonrefundable CD cases. Of course we are all familiar with Enya. Her latest album, "The Memory of Trees", is again, another enchanting and hypnotic combination of instruments and voice that has given Enya a seat in front of many other New Age artists. Then what is the problem you might ask? Simply put, TMOT sounds just like her last two albums, "Watermark" and "Shepherd Moons", except for a few variations on the lyrics here and there (copyright regulations are particular about that sort of thing). Watermark is a classic, like Jaws I; it is very difficult to top. So, why should we buy another album that sounds like the flip side of her earlier work? Well, even though this CD is really just Enya III, it still has those flowing melodies, the mesmerizing lyrics, and that increbible voice that Enya fans adore. So, if you decide to spend $16.99 on her CD rather than lunch, go ahead. But why not wait for it to go on sale and pick up a Happy Meal on the way?

Cynthia Robertson

 
Tracy Chapman
"New Beginning"
Elektra
Cat # 61850-2
$15.99
Performance: starstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstarstar
 

Remember how hard it was to keep that giggle under control and stay quiet in grade school during story time? Whether you have a Boom box or high end system, Tracy Chapman's new album creates a similar, uncontrollable urge to sing along. It is almost impossible to purchase a CD and not have to press the skip button a few times. New Beginning has it all: a hearty rhythm, stick-to-your-ribs lyrics for those who like to go with the tunes, and that earthy folk sound that lives in Chapman's music. A variety of instruments such as bass, tamboura, organ, percussion and electric guitar are used throughout the album. One listen and you are hooked on this album, especially after hearing the tracks, "Smoke and Ashes", and "Give Me One Reason". New Beginning is definitely a toe tapping invitation to a good time.

Cynthia Robertson

 
Melissa Etheridge
"your little secret"
Island
Cat # 314-524 154-2
$15.99
Performance: starstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstar
 

If you have been listening to Melissa Etheridge over the years, you probably sang along with her in "Brave and Crazy", and "Yes I am". Okay, Okay, so I purchased the CD after only listening to two songs, "i want to come over" and "all the way to heaven" in the listening stations that are provided by many music stores to sucker you into spending your money. Well, it was $15.99 well spent. Melissa Etheridge's new album, "your little secret" was made for those of us lucky enough to have keys to a convertible car with a good stereo (which includes me). In addition to the culprit songs that "told" me to buy the album, "nowhere to go," "shriner's park," and "change" are definite replay tunes. Etheridge is a natural at musical composition. Not only did she write nine of the ten tracks, but she also plays the electric guitar, acoustic guitar and keyboards. Her album is fluent with instruments and a beat that will encourage you to take the long way home from work.

Cynthia Robertson

 
Tori Amos
"Boys For Pele"
Atlantic
Cat # 82862-2
$15.99
Performance: starstarstarstar
Audio Quality: starstarstar
 

While I was getting ready for class one morning, I heard that powerful, feminine voice emanating from my Velodyne bookshelf speakers that I have jammed in my college dorm style room. Tori Amos has a new album? After school, I went to Circuit City to get my copy. You see, I absolutely love her music, and I was determined to purchase her CD that day. As I blew past my roommate, with Tori in my paws, I flashed her that "just-got-a-new-album" grin. Well... it does not quite top "Under the Pink", which I hold under lock and key, but it comes pretty close. The only drawback is that I had to press the skip button on a few songs, such as "Professional Widow", which made me wary. However, Tori Amos' current album, "Boys For Pele", as a whole, presents the listener with intense lyrics seasoned with those piano solos that Amos fans listen to in dimly lit coffee shops. After auditioning "Marianne", "Caught a Lite Sneeze", and "Hey Jupiter", you will decide, as I did, that this new album is a winner. If you haven't been blessed with the sounds of her voice yet, you should make a point to change that, 'cause you are missing out on a very talented artist.

Cynthia Robertson


Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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