Watermark

Watermark

4.5 21
by Enya
     
 

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With 1988's Watermark, Enya changed the face of new age and Celtic crossover music. No longer merely a haven for earthy, acoustic musicians or a catchall genre for unclassifiable electronic musicians, new age was transmuted by Watermark into a commercially viable yet artistically rewarding niche that quickly moved from the back of the record store to theSee more details below

Overview

With 1988's Watermark, Enya changed the face of new age and Celtic crossover music. No longer merely a haven for earthy, acoustic musicians or a catchall genre for unclassifiable electronic musicians, new age was transmuted by Watermark into a commercially viable yet artistically rewarding niche that quickly moved from the back of the record store to the front bins. With her exquisite voice and melodies that seeped pleasantly into the mind, Enya quickly found an adoring audience that didn't seem to care that they couldn't understand a word of Latin or Gaelic. One English-language track, however, "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)," became the focal point of the CD. With its catchy repetitiveness and call to get away from it all, "Orinoco Flow" conquered radio, and a star was born. Far from a gimmick, Enya possessed an angelic voice and a melodic sense of achingly beautiful dimensions. With Watermark, Enya successfully walked that thin line between art and commerce. In the process, she simply made some of the most endearing music ever.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
Thanks to its distinct, downright catchy single "Orinoco Flow," which amusingly referenced both her record-company boss Rob Dickins and co-producer Ross Cullum in the lyrics, Enya's second album Watermark established her as the unexpected queen of gentle, Celtic-tinged new age music. To be sure, her success was as much due to marketing a niche audience in later years equally in love with Yanni and Michael Flatley's Irish dancing, but Enya's rarely given a sense of pandering in her work. She does what she does, just as she did before her fame. (Admittedly, avoiding overblown concerts run constantly on PBS hasn't hurt.) Indeed, the subtlety that characterizes her work at her best dominates Watermark, with the lovely title track, her multi-tracked voice gently swooping among the lead piano, and strings like a softly haunting ghost, as fine an example as any. "Orinoco Flow" itself, for all its implicit dramatics, gently charges instead of piling things on, while the organ-led "On Your Shore" feels like a hushed church piece. Elsewhere, meanwhile, Enya lets in a darkness not overly present on The Celts, resulting in work even more appropriate for a moody soundtrack than that album. "Cursum Perficio," with her steady chanting-via-overdub of the title phrase, gets more sweeping and passionate as the song progresses, matched in slightly calmer results with the equally compelling "The Longships." "Storms in Africa," meanwhile, uses drums from Chris Hughes to add to the understated, evocative fire of the song, which certainly lives up to its name. Watermark ends with a fascinating piece, "Na Laetha Geal M'Oige," where fellow Irish modern/traditional fusion artist Davy Spillane adds a gripping, heartbreaking uilleann pipe solo to the otherwise calm synth-based performance. It's a perfect combination of timelessness and technology, an appropriate end to this fine album.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/12/1991
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0075992677424
catalogNumber:
26774
Rank:
20973

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