Review Summary: Television's response to superficiality makes for a touching story and a tiring album.22 of 23 thought this review was well written
The story is, by now, written in stone: 48 year old Britain's Got Talent
contestant, Susan Boyle, stuns initially-facile audiences internationally, racks up hundreds of millions of YouTube views and warms hearts of regular people all over the globe. The Scottish singer trotted on to televised stage to the sound of judgmental murmuring and she left the stage to the uproar of a standing ovation. Society naturally gobbled the phenomenon up in a matter of days and Susan Boyle became a household name. As judge Piers Morgan mentioned on set, "When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said "I want to be like Elaine Page", everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now.
A few months later, Boyle's inevitable debut album - the aptly titled I Dreamed a Dream
- has arrived. Unfortunately for Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream
is too often much like a never-ending hug from a senile relative: it overwelcomes its fragrant and soulful stay early on and never really eases up on its squishy, motherly grasp.
I Dreamed a Dream
is much like you would expect it to be - Boyle's voice sounds impeccable and her sincerity oozes through every note she sings on the record. Her now trademark track 'I Dreamed a Dream' loses none of its power transitioning from reality TV's stage to the tracklist, and songs like her original tune 'Who I Was Born to Be' or the Rolling Stones cover 'Wild Horses' are emotionally venerable and artistically sound. Yet Boyle is unfortunately an extreme advocate of all things mellow, a characteristic nuance highlighted no better than Monkees cover 'Daydream Believer' -- the song, while originally a peppy and bouncy tune, is turned into a drawling, piano ballad that creeps along at an irritatingly benign pace. So much of I Dreamed A Dream
works in similar vein: the record is so completely overwrought with evocative balladry, extended choir sections and hymnal harmonies that it nearly topples over upon itself in humbled defeat. While the novelty of Boyle's angelic voice crooning the well-worn refrains of 'How Great Thou Art' is a comforting reminder of all that is well in the world, the gimmick of Boyle's success story is improperly perpetuated by I Dreamed a Dream
's lack of cohesiveness. Yes, Susan Boyle will likely warm your heart (if only for a moment), but the album's sentimental value wears thin - I Dreamed a Dream
is a curious soundtrack of sincerity that unfortunately plays like a "deleted scenes" to the touching sentiment Boyle provided culture with on reality television earlier this year.