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I Dreamed A Dream

By Robert Grandinetti,
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

I was one of the millions who watched the online clip of Susan Boyle’s audition for “Britain’s Got Talent” where she sang, “I Dreamed a Dream.” The most touching moment was the close up of her smiling face during the instrumental part of the song. That moment explains the popularity surrounding Boyle’s clip. This was a woman who seemed to have been ridiculed all her life and now she had an audience in the palm of her hand.

I didn’t have high hopes for Susan Boyle’s debut, “I Dreamed a Dream.” I figured that it would be a novelty recording that would exploit Boyle’s popularity. Instead, I found myself just as moved listening to her sing as I was watching her perform on YouTube.

Some of the song choices aren’t really surprising. It would’ve been foolish not to include “I Dreamed,” since it’s become her trademark. “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art” and “Silent Night” are predictable, but satisfying. There are some surprising selections such as Madonna’s “You’ll See,” The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain.”

What’s more surprising is how well Boyle handles most of the material. Her voice is clear and strong on each song. There’s also an original composition “Who was I Born to Be?” that is tailored made for Boyle. If any song is going to serve as her anthem then it’s this one which features the lyrics, “And so here am I/Open arms and ready to stand/I’ve got the world in my hands/And it feels like my turn to fly.”

The only drawback to “Dream” is its consistently somber production. Boyle was born to sing hymns, show tunes and torch songs, but the producers could have found at least one upbeat song for her debut? Her misguided take on The Monkees’ classic “Daydream Believer” is so dreary that it makes you forget how upbeat the original version was.

There have been lots of Susan Boyle jokes, but ultimately, she has come off on top. What skeptics forget is that Boyle is a talented singer. If she wasn’t then she would’ve faded away by now, instead of having sold millions of records throughout the world.

 

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