Amarantine

Studio Album by released in 2005
Amarantine's tracklist:
Less Than a Pearl
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Amarantine
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It's in the Rain
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If I Could Be Where You Are
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The River Sings
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Long Long Journey
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Sumiregusa
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Someone Said Goodbye
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A Moment Lost
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Drifting
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Amid the Falling Snow
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Water Shows the Hidden Heart
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Amarantine review

Amarantine blends uplifting melodies, classical motifs and trance-like chants

Enya returns after a 5-year hiatus with Amarantine, probably one of her most daring albums to date. An album by Enya has always been an event, rather than just another record release. Yet seldom has any new album been as keenly anticipated as Amarantine. Coincidentally released just after the eagerly awaited comeback from Kate Bush, the equally shy and retiring Irish star looks to add more mature, ethereal musical meandering to the charts with her first release since 2000's A Day Without Rain, which also spent a phenomenal two years on the Billboard chart. Recorded in Ireland with her long-standing partnership, producer/arranger Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan, Amarantine is typically melodious, replete with Celtic and world moods but accessible (despite some tracks being sung in a made up language of Loxian). It blends uplifting melodies, classical motifs and trance-like chants in a familiar yet distinctive fashion. Enya also shares with Kate Bush an esoteric inspiration for her songs. For example, Sumiregusa is based on a Japanese haiku by the poet Basho.

Enya has managed to both repeat herself and move forward

Although A Day Without Rain seemed to chart new ground for Enya in terms of increasing use of strings and a new simplicity of arrangement influenced by classical music, it was too spartan, too short and underdeveloped. Amarantine sees Enya continue with this exploration and refine it to a much higher degree. In addition the raw power and mystique that we knew from the earlier albums is back with a vengeance. Another strength of this album is that it seems much more varied in composition, instrumentation and arrangement. This fusion makes Amarantine her most well developed work to date. Boasting twelve new songs that retain the tapestry of sound that is her trademark, while stealthily stripping it of some of its excess, Enya has managed to both repeat herself and move forward without losing anything in the translation. Standout tracks like Long Long Journey, Water Shows the Hidden Heart and the gorgeous title cut, show a newfound understanding of the simple power of Enya's voice, resulting in an intimacy that's eluded previous releases. Amid the Falling Snow is another highlight, principally because of the beautiful chord progression and harmonies.

Good relaxation CD with a few subtly catchy tunes thrown in

Second only to U2 as the most successful Irish recording artist of all time, Enya has built an empire out of multi-tracking her beautiful voice over the same keyboard patches that appeared on her post-Clannad debut since 1987. It's an empire that has progressed at a slow burn, peaking in 2000 and 2001 with her chart-topping ballad and unofficial post-September 11th anthem, Only Time. Amarantine builds on her reputation as the world's premier purveyor of audio comfort food, providing another collection of mini-soundtracks. The album is absolutely wonderful and well worth the wait. Filled with Enya's signature celestial vocals and haunting arrangements, Amarantine showcases her voice, and her linguistic talents, like never before. It's like a good relaxation CD with a few subtly catchy tunes thrown in and is the perfect antidote to all the in-your-face, get-to-the-chorus pop currently peddled by younger, less visually modest female acts.