Dare to Dream
Dare to Dream is Yanni's first new material in three years and finds the new age composer fitting his unflinchingly romantic arrangements into tighter song structures. The surging synth backgrounds, insistent piano lines, and general grandiosity that mark Yanni's sound are still intact. But tracks like "Love for Life" or "Nice to Meet You" harness that famously epic energy in smaller stables. This tactic works especially well on the latter track, which is led by the wail of an electric fiddle. Elsewhere, Yanni plucks the heartstrings with "In the Mirror" and "So Long My Friend" -- two weepy ballads that cascade like sheets of rain on a lonely city street. The seven-minute "You Only Live Once" becomes the only really epic piece on Dare to Dream, and it's pleasant enough. However, it illustrates the main drawback to Dream, which is Yanni's reliance on the shifting sands of synthesizers to do his bidding. As his rousing 1990 live collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra proved, live instruments only accentuate the humanity of Yanni's music instead of deadening it like his fleets of keyboards have a tendency to do. This is a minor issue, though. Since artificial instrumentation has always been part of Yanni's highly successful sound, fans of the composer likely won't be put off by their prominence here.