CD: Susan Boyle - Someone to Watch Over Me | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Susan Boyle - Someone to Watch Over Me
Talent show phenomenon hints at the kind of music Simon Cowell wants to spoil next
The biggest surprise with Someone to Watch Over Me might be that SuBo has actually made it to three albums. Last year’s release brought relief that the Simon Cowell machine hadn’t broken her. But with this new one Boyle actually seems to be forging a career of sorts. So, now that she no longer has the novelty value of being a current "reality TV" phenomenon, and three LPs in, how does her music stand up?
Considering Boyle’s act was the stuff of a prime-time talent show, it's hardly a revelation that this record offers a few saccharine moments with a general feeling that, because of its release, Christmas must be close by. It isn't, however, quite as predictable as the ones before. There is something slightly interesting in the choice of songs included. The Syco press release (Simon Cowell’s record label) says that in addition to the “breathtaking renditions” of “Unchained Melody” and “Both Sides Now”, Susan “fearlessly takes on” “Enjoy the Silence” (Depeche Mode) and “Mad World” (Tears for Fears).
Leaving aside that the word “competently” would have been more accurate, I am surprised they omit to mention Boyle’s take on the Jeff Buckley cover of “Lilac Wine”. Not only is it the best thing on here, but it is also better than X- Factor winner Alexandra Burke’s hideous take on Buckley’s reading of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah”. Or her own on The Gift, for that matter.
Other than suggesting what's on Boyle's iPod, it seems likely that the track listing on this album also indicates what sort of “modern classic” Simon Cowell's intending to spoil for us soon. Still there's nothing on this record that is actually that awful, and some moments are endearing. The touch is lighter than before, and moreover, it’s not masquerading as anything it isn’t. Bland and kitsch, it surely is, but that's still fine for a track or two at an ironic Christmas party or a stocking filler.
Watch Susan Boyle sing "I Dreamed a Dream" on Britain's Got Talent
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Mike Oldfield's '70s classic. Performed live. With extra trombones
The Super Furries frontman releases a soundtrack that stands tall and on its own merits
Lavish package devoted to the three ‘Cathedral Oceans’ albums
First new work for four years is beautiful but nostalgic
The spirit of Pink Floyd lives on as the 'Rattle That Lock' tour comes home
Black Francis’s mob gets back into their stride with gusto
Can the Icelander's voice and chamber ensemble fill the Albert Hall?
An almanack of historical pleasures from the country songbook
Brit-American duo cross a continent digging into folk music's railroad mythology
The peacemaker of Fleetwood Mac on Mirage, Maui and missing the buzz
Progressive past masters sing the post-Brexit blues
Proof that a Fifties pedigree was no barrier to making the best in Sixties soul