Review Summary: Like an intimate conversation between lovers and friends that isn't meant to be heard by anyone else.
It's very clear that Dreamchaser
is an album very personal to Sarah Brightman. Its announcement came just days before she was due to make a statement regarding her recent Space travels, and much of the album is meant to make the listener feel as if they're floating through Space. Is all very clear that much of the album is meant to reflect her Space travels, and the bonus DVD that comes with this album is full of all of this stuff. The video for the leading single "Angel" shows old newsreel footage of the Space mission in 1969, there's a 5 minute documentary which features footage of her Space training, and a monologue where she explains the alignment of galaxies, which culminates with her words: "I'm not a dreamer, I'm a dream chaser". Just in case you're not following me here, she's not a dreamer, only she chases
dreams. Well, that's a good start.
Yet ultimately, there's a time when you allow an album to become too personal, and this album is sadly but an example. Which is a shame, because all eleven tracks on this album are very listenable and enjoyable, and beautiful to an extent, but alas, the majority of them feel so disconnected from the listener. It's like we're listening to her own personal thoughts; it's interesting, but do we really need to be hearing this? Perhaps if she focused less on the "Space" theme and focused more on the emotional impact the songs have the potential to inflict upon the listener, the album would be a lot more easy on the mind. One good example is the track, "B12". It's a lovely vocalization-based song, with her showing off just how incredible her range can be at times. It's the most experimental track on the album too. Yet, at the same time, it's almost as if she's allowing us to look into her head too much.
Which is a shame because most of the songs on the album are pretty damned good. Despite being rather lyrically insipid and musically repetitive, "Angel" has its share of pretty sounding moments, like the electronic interlude at the end. Her cover of Elbow's "One Day Like This" manages to be even more epic than Elbow's already epic version, which builds up greater and greater as the song nears its climax, and the children's choir only adds a greater effect to the tune. The best songs on the album are "Breathe Me" and "Closer"; the former being a cool song that's typical Sarah in full swing. Her vocals deliver greatly (don't they always?) and even the nice electronic elements add a nice touch. Definitely a song you'd imagine being a nice concert peace. "Closer" is the real highlight of the album; an eight minute Muse-esque piece that borrows elements from Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells". The song is full of beautiful harmonized vocals, and a lush backing that wouldn't be out of place in a dystopian sci-if film, with some Museish synth arpeggios. Sadly, those two only songs that don't feel as if she's letting her personal thoughts creep onto the songs.
What's really a killer about Dreamchaser
is that the album really has potential to be an amazing album. It's a good listen and numerous songs on it generate replay value, but sadly, it's almost as if we're listening to something we shouldn't be. One can only hope that her next album is not only better than this, but also that she manages to make something that doesn't dwell so obsessively on one theme at the expense of the songs.