I didn’t expect that much, but her new/first CD is lovely. I played it over and over this morning. If you followed her trajectory from frumpy spinster to exhausted Instant Celebrity, you may wonder if the fuss was worth it. I think the CD is great.
So do the more than 150,000 people who pre-ordered it.
Stephen Holden wrote in The New York Times:
The selections blur the line between sacred and secular, as Ms. Boyle invests torch songs (“Cry Me a River,” “The End of the World”) and hymns (“How Great Thou Art” “Amazing Grace” and “Silent Night”) with the same attitude of faithful perseverance against the odds. The closest thing to an uptempo number is a slowed-down rendition of the Monkees’ hit “Daydream Believer.”
In the most striking cut Ms. Boyle turns the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” into a starkly beautiful declaration of tenacity and resolution. Her “Cry Me a River,” the least vengeful version I’ve heard, makes this gloating crow of emotional payback a reflection on cosmic balance. Or as Ms. Boyle puts it in her footnote: “a release of tension and a greater insight into the human condition.” Madonna’s hit “You’ll See” is about much the same thing; in Ms. Boyle’s words: “My way of getting rid of the labels which have been unfair.”
The hushed mood of it all recalls Celine Dion’s blockbuster hit “My Heart Will Go On,” without the Celtic inflections and drier eyes. On an album without humor or melodrama, a devotional spirit reigns.