Cover: The Memory of Trees

 

Enya - The Memory of Trees

Soren Jonhson

Daily Stanford (USA) 23 January 1996

Enya Ni Bharonain has built a career out of making utterly unique music which, at its introduction, was almost entirely unprecedented for popular audiences.

The brilliant success of Watermark in 1988 underscored both a significant artistic achievement for Enya and an important introduction of world music to a mass audience.

Unfortunately, Enya's original vision seems to have ended with the majesty of Watermark. Her subsequent work has been repetitive and uninspired, a trend that continues with her newest work, The Memory of Trees.

The problem is not that her singing is less beautiful or the music less lovely. The problem is that she seems to have nothing new to say.

Songs blend together until one track is almost indistinguishable from the next. Each song flows along easily, lulling the listener into an almost submissive trance. The music fails to annoy, but it also fails to enlighten.

The album opens with the title track, "The Memory of Trees," an enchanting song which seems to promise great things until one realizes that half of album is not significantly different from this piece.

The next song, "Anywhere Is," actually succeeds in interrupting the flow of the album, but only because it seems to mark Enya's nadir as an artist. The melody is horribly unimaginative, to that point of rendering the song virtually unlistenable. The track evokes images of a laboring songwriter, which makes one wonder exactly how inspired Enya was to make this new album.

Another track, this time notable for its brilliance, is "Once You Had Gold," a sparse, hymn-like song, which Enya's majestic voice carries to ethereal heights. The song is a redeeming at is beautiful, coming as close as a song can to making an entire album worthwhile.

Unfortunately for Enya, one cannot forget that her work used to be so much more. The Memory of Trees contains many beautiful moments and will undoubtedly satisfy many Enya fans, but the essential repetitiveness of the album is difficult to accept.

The irony is that this repetitiveness is the very antithesis of what initially was Enya's greatest strength, her originality.


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