So Susan Boyle’s dream has come true. I’m glad I’ve participated in the process. I’ve contributed to this whole massive dream fulfillment, albeit just a drop in the bucket… bought her CD today. (No, I did not get this product free… there you go FTC)
The fact that Susan Boyle did not win British Got Talent didn’t affect the sales of her debut Album. Even before its release in late November, she has broken the pre-sales record on Amazon. Immediately after its release, her Album has broken the first week sales record for a debut album in the UK (410,000), beating U2 and Michael Jackson. In Australia (85,000), highest first week sales record, gone platinum right away. In the US, sales reached 701,000 for just the week of Thanksgiving, surpassing the record set by Eminem in May this year for one week sales, by a gap of almost 100,000. Needless to say, it tops the sales list in Canada as well.
So why did I bother to add another drop in the bucket? Simple, I just wanted to show my support. I know, the cynics would say it’s Simon Cowell, her producer, who is the one grinning from ear to ear. Okay, if it takes Simon to realize her dream, so be it.
I’d like to see the 48 year-old unemployed single woman, church volunteer and obscure Scottish village dweller, who has been living and caring for her mother until her passing at 91, fulfill her singing dream. In a previous post, I have written about the possible fallout of Susan Boyle’s 15-minute fame, the sensational YouTube appearance, and her later makeover. But I’m glad it has turned out amazingly well for her.
Now to those who want her not to change but remain an uncouth, rural woman, I’d say, let her be. Although there’s nothing wrong being just that, uncouth and rural. However, Susan Boyle can be whoever she wants to be, get whatever hairdo she likes, buy new clothes if she wants, and smile or not smile for the paparazzi ….
I trust her dream is a genuine one, and she deserves to be noticed because of her humble root and high aspiration with its matching talent. With more professional instructions and training, her skills could be augmented still some more. Greater versatility means a wider repertoire, maximizing her potential. From the few selections here on her CD, I feel that her voice can perform convincingly from Broadway show tunes to soft, quiet folk… blues and even jazz.
Just because of that, I’m a bit disappointed in the selections and some of the arrangements on this CD. Except for her ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, ‘Cry Me a River’, ‘Who I was born to be’ and ‘Proud’, the other titles are somewhat limiting and have not given her enough range to showcase her wonderful voice. The arrangements are all slow, with piano and/or guitar accompaniment. At times her voice is solitary, at times blended with nice background chorus and beautiful strings. Easy, gratifying listening overall… but I think the producers can take greater risks with her strong higher range, and the soulful, slightly raspy voice.
Here’s the track listing:
1. Wild Horses (A nice rendition of The Rolling Stones classic. Hear her sing this song on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb3XAP0c8WU)
2. I Dreamed A Dream (As if she’s the first one singing it!)
3. Cry Me A River (A song she’d recorded in 1999 for a charity. Shows she can do blues and maybe even jazz)
4. How Great Thou Art (Somewhat weak arrangement, with just the four-line chorus)
5. You’ll See (‘About determination, independence, and the ability to show them what your are made of’)
6. Daydream Believer (A slow, even meditative rendition of The Monkees hit, my fave as a teenager.)
7. Up To The Mountain (‘Sometimes I just lay me down Lord, no more can I do. But then I go on again, because you ask me to’… reminiscence of a spiritual. )
8. Amazing Grace (So many have recorded this and it still feels fresh.)
9. Who I Was Born To Be (The song says: ‘And though I may not know the answers, I can finally say I’m free. And if the questions lead me here, then I am who I was born to be.’… and then she writes: ‘Mom must have picked this for me.’)
10. Proud (‘My dilemma was finding my own identity – a conflict… with myself.’)
11. The End Of The World (A touch of nostalgia.)
12. Silent Night (For Christmas … and anytime.)
What I’ve appreciated is that in the booklet, she writes a short personal note at the end of each song. And on the last page, after thanking all who need to be thanked, she wrote these words:
I would like to dedicate this Album to my beloved Mother, to whom I made a promise to ‘be someone’.
X God Bless
I’ve made a right choice with that drop in the bucket.