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ENYA - AMARANTINE - WARNER MUSIC
Record Rating: *****

Enya - Amarantine - Warner Music For those unfamiliar with Enya’s work, she’s second only to U2 as the biggest selling Irish artist in history. Known as the Queen Of New Age, she first came on the scene in 1988 thanks to the single Orinoco Flow, whose parent album Watermark sold four million copies and stayed in the top ten for almost half the year. Follow-up Shepherd Moons was even more successful, selling over 10 million copies and making her a household name. Her last release, the six-time platinum A Day Without Rain was the biggest-selling album of her career, and after a long drought from the charts, Amarantine is her first album in almost half a decade. It’s a huge span in the realm of pop music but a mere ditz in the seemingly changeless scene ruled by one of the most successful female artists of all time.

The twelve tracks seem to pick up straight from where the last effort left off and fit comfortably within her past work. Enya once again wraps those signature velvet vocals in glistening productions, like on the title track Amarantine (which poetically takes its name from a real flower) and proves she’s still a passionate perfectionist as well as a gifted melodist. Lyrics by longtime collaborator Roma Ryan add to the ethereal groove of the music, while the tracks alternate between slower, mid-tempo and fast pieces. A change found on this new release is that she moves away from singing in her native Gaelic and largely concentrates on English language material. Almost a concept album, the disc also boasts of tracks like Drifting (which finds her singing in the invented tongue she's dubbed Loxian), Sumiregusa (originally commissioned as song for Japan's Panasonic Corporation) and the radio friendly Long Long Journey with its gorgeous orchestral soundscapes.

At just close to an hour with twelve tracks, the whole program is short in length, but the rewards are rich. Amarantine is filled with a good number of love songs that are one of Enya’s strong suits. Longtime fans will be delighted that this is the same Enya since The Celts with very little deviation. Her sentimentality allows you to cry and smile at the same time. This is good music, settling its way into your soul, reminding you of everything you hold dear. Even if you think you don't like Enya, you need to give this one a listen. Well recommended.

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