Loreena McKennitt
Lost Souls


3.5
great

Review

by manosg STAFF
May 28th, 2018 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A product of its time with past materials.

"The creative side is the least of my worries; It's more, 'Is there going to be a proper return for the time and money invested in this. Will people actually BUY something when it's put out"' So there's much to study and learn and evaluate."

The above response from a recent interview by Loreena McKennitt not only describes one of the biggest concerns in the music industry today, but also a factor that directly or maybe subconsciously influences a number of recordings including the subject of this review. The reason is that Lost Souls consists entirely of songs that the legendary Canadian songstress has written in the past – but performed specifically for this album – since the very beginning of her career. Whenever an artist decides to release an album that includes material composed in the past, it is cause for concern; in my mind, the cause is lack of inspiration, contractual obligations or some other reason that is bound to affect negatively the end product. In McKennitt’s case, I’m not so sure that she falls under the aforementioned two categories, rather than it’s more of a “you won’t buy it anyway so as to recognize the effort I’ve put into it, so why give it my all"”

The above doesn’t mean that Lost Souls is a half-assed, poor effort just for the sake of remaining relevant; I’m not so sure that Loreena McKennitt has the actual ability to release poor material, she certainly doesn’t need to do anything to remain relevant, and I am as confident as I can be for a perfect stranger that she is quite the perfectionist. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that her latest offering consists of songs that didn’t make it – for one way or another – to be included in her previous albums, which is one of the issues with Lost Souls. For example, “Sun, Moon and Stars” the instrumental track with the strongest Mediterranean flavour on here would be very fitting on An Ancient Muse and “Manx Ayre” on one of her early albums but both didn’t make it and for good reason; they weren’t good enough. Same goes for “A Hundred Wishes” and “Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas” which were written in 1991, the time she recorded The Visit. Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away the fact that the latter is one of the strongest songs of the album which includes a typical Flamenco break with Spanish guitar, palmas (i.e. hand claps) and castanets.

Maybe a song that could have been included in one of her previous LPs, “Ages Past, Ages Hence”, borrows a melody from The Book of Secrets’ “La Serenissima”, features a great violin melody by Hugh Marsh and is the most adventurous and arguably strongest track on here. Which brings us to the next flaw of the record, the sheer number of piano ballads makes it a somewhat linear listen. One or two more lush or uptempo compositions like “Ages Past, Ages Hence” would certainly help. On the other hand, Loreena’s voice is still in great condition which makes her piano ballads very effective such as the introspective, touching title track which serves perfectly as a closer not only to this album but her discography, if this is her swan song.

Overall, Lost Souls was an acquired taste for me, more so than any other long player of hers. Maybe it was due to the high standards that 2006’s An Ancient Muse had set, the last album featuring original material before this one, or maybe the comparison with the rest of her discography. But give it the time it deserves, and like any other installment in Loreena McKennitt’s career Lost Souls will certainly reward you.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.4
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related reviews

The Book of Secrets


Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Took me some time to appreciate but another great album by her.

Digging: Winterstorm - A Coming Storm

mvdu
May 28th 2018


760 Comments


Always have loved her music but guess I should catch up on getting some of her other albums before this. Good review.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. Indeed this is not the best starting point. I'd suggest The Book of Secrets or if you're into more Mediterranean/Middle Eastern vibes, An Ancient Muse.

mvdu
May 28th 2018


760 Comments


I have Book of Secrets - amazing album - but not An Ancient Muse. Any others to get? The Visit is rated highly at allmusic.com. Thanks again.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah The Visit is also really strong but, to be honest, Elemental, Parallel Dreams and The Mask and Mirror are also great. Her earlier material leans more towards Celtic whereas her latter stuff have a bit more variety. Nights From the Alhambra is also an amazing live album.

deslad
May 28th 2018


621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Brilliant review manos, I really liked it. I have listened to the album a couple of times, but I still haven't decided on how to rate it.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know you're a big fan of hers des, so I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Gonna be interesting to see your rating.

Divaman
May 28th 2018


2930 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm looking forward to this album. I've loved each of the earlier albums that I'm familiar with.

Digging: Metric - Art of Doubt

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to see that you dig Loreena, Diva. Hope you enjoy this one as well.

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


1399 Comments


God my mom loves her

Digging: Coheed and Cambria - Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


7992 Comments


Good review Manos, you might want to check the first sentence of the first paragraph, which reads like a run-on (the sentence, that is)

Her vocal pitch is a caress to the ears.

There was this ‘90s commercial which had a song of hers as soundtrack, can’t remember which is it.

On another note, I hate it when artists talk like businessmen/women, it’s one of the woes of the crisis in the music industry.

Digging: Yellow Devil Sauce - Zulu

Sabrutin
May 29th 2018


5735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Knew this review was yours. The album is quite pleasant but it gives me the impression that it's an inessential release. That said, A Hundred Wishes is a beauty of a song

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Voi and here you are, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmUG-yjO4Xk. The commercial was either an Amstel or a Heineken one but cannot find it for the life of me.



For some reason, A Hundred Wishes is one of my least favorites on here. It's certainly beautiful but doesn't feel as "deep" as her other songs. Always interesting to find out how different listeners perceive a song.

Sabrutin
May 29th 2018


5735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mmm I get a sort of "easy listening" feel from most of the songs, as if they were all refined but ultimately a bit inoffensive. A Hundred Wishes gets me emotional in the chorus, thus escaping that fate

deslad
June 3rd 2018


621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Turns out this is another great album imo; however, I must admit I certainly have a soft spot for Loreena's music.



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