Album cover: Amarantine


Enya: Amarantine

Jon Pareles

The New York Times (USA) 2 December 2005

Move over, Sigur Ros: Now the Irish singer Enya has an invented language, too. Three songs on Enya's new album, "Amarantine," are in Loxian, a language devised by Enya's lyricist, Roma Ryan, after Enya sang in Elvish for the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Enya has explained that the Loxians "live on another planet and are looking out, wondering, 'Are we the only ones who exist?'"

It's part of Enya's continuing merger of Celtic and cosmic. Enya is actually one of pop's most successful team confections: Enya provides melodies, Ryan adds words, and Ryan's husband, Nicky, produces and arranges the tracks.

On Amarantine, as usual, the sound is reverential and unreal. Enya's tunes show Celtic roots, but her voice is usually overdubbed into celestial choirs. Nicky Ryan favors synthesized string orchestras and harpsichordlike plucked sounds. There are moments on Amarantine when the mists part: In If I Could Be Where You Are and A Moment Lost, with expressive solo lead vocals for fond laments akin to Irish slow airs, and in The River Sings, a song in Loxian with a hearty beat. Otherwise, the overall effect of "Amarantine" is like that of drowning in whipped cream.

Notes: Transcribed by Book of Days