With their highly-anticipated fourth 143/Lava/Atlantic release, "IN BLUE," the Corrs - Andrea Corr: lead vocals, tin whistle; Caroline Corr: drums, bodhran, piano, vocals; Sharon Corr: violin, vocals; Jim Corr: keyboards, guitars, vocals - have perfected their trademark melding of modern pop and Celtic traditional, a diverse and original sonic approach that has made them an international sensation. Featuring collaborations with legendary producers Robert John "Mutt" Lange (Shania Twain) and Mitchell Froom (Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow), the Dublin-based group's third studio album is bursting with memorable and melodic songs that incorporate exciting new textures into their alrady special musical mixture. The result is a wealth of delightfully refreshing tracks. Certified Platinum by the RIAA. (4/01) Having proved with an MTV Unplugged session that they are more than just a bunch of pretty faces and can actually play their instruments, Celtic-poppers the Corrs returned to the studio for their third "proper" album. Owners of Unplugged will already be familiar with two of the tracks here, "At Your Side" and "Radio," which are given the full studio treatment and endowed with a much fuller sound. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a good thing, as the album as a whole tends to be overproduced--taking the raw folky qualities and folding them into a far more sanitized whole. As a result, the standout tracks tend to be the more up-tempo ones--"Breathless" and "No More Cry." To be fair, when the Corrs are good, they're very, very good; but when they're bad, they're just dull. Unlike their previous albums, In Blue doesn't seem to be quite so flowing. With several different producers working on it (including Mr. Shania Twain, "Mutt" Lange), maybe it was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. --Mel Roberts
Manufacturer: American Gramaphone
Brand: American Gramaphone
2011 holiday album from Chip Davis and Co. containing all new renditions of yuletide favorites performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony features 16 holiday tracks expanded into full symphonic arrangements and performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to demand by Mannheim Steamroller's always-growing fan base, Christmas Symphony will resonate with classic music listeners.
Manufacturer: Reprise Records
Certified at 3 million units by the RIAA. (3/00) To many people, Enya has become synonymous with new age music. Her haunting voice, clear and crisp above richly woven musical arrangements and adaptations, represents some of the best in the genre. Her performances on The Memory of Trees justify the Celtic songster's reputation. Songs like "China Roses" and "Hope Has a Place" complement the simple elegance of traditional folk music with luxuriantly layered instrumentation and highly crafted studio production. The ultimate effect is dazzling, to be sure. Whether she sings in English, Gaelic, or Latin, Enya conveys a profound, if slightly disconcerting, mix of spirituality and sensuality. --L.A. Smith
Manufacturer: Virgin Records
17 Tracks New Age music, ambient electronica, and spiritualized hip-hop received their first major, K-Tel-like treatment in 1996 when Virgin Records assembled Pure Moods. The "As Seen on TV" compilation quickly became a hot seller, and it would be nice to think that its popularity has as much to do with the music as the marketing. To be sure, Pure Moods offers genre hits aplenty: from Enya's "Orinoco Flow" to "Sadness" from Enigma; from a dance mix of the "X-Files Theme" to edits of vintage electronica from Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells) and Jean Michele Jarre (Oxygene). Beyond other selections of beat-enhanced chants and a few other popular themes ("The Mission," "Twin Peaks"), the album, refreshingly, also includes a few selections noteworthy only for their originality and quality. A three-track section near end of the 70-minute disk features affecting soft African chants from Geoffrey Oryema, followed by "My Wife with Champagne Shoulders," a dollop of regal, faintly ethereal romanticism from master film scorer Mark Isham, then a robust piano workout, "The Promise" from Michael Nyman (The Piano). With so many elements of interest on its 17 tracks, the album's broad diversity is sure to have broad popularity. --Terry Wood
All the hits in remastered versions. Includes: 'Sadeness (Part I),' 'Return To Innocence,' 'Gravity Of Love' and the new song, 'Turn Around.' A greatest-hits package sampling four Enigma discs released between 1990 and 2000, LSD splendidly documents the influential output of Michael Cretu, a techno-bohemian who successfully creates cinematic, otherworldly New Age-like musical suites. Now, more than a decade removed from the arrival of Sadeness (Part 1) and its eyebrow-raising mix of sacred and sensual subplots, people can debate whether Cretu's music represents savvy commercial calculation or satisfying art. LSD suggests a split decision, though tracks with intriguing blends of atmosphere and rhythm, such as "Gravity of Love," "T.N.T. for the Brain" and "Morphing Thru Time," reveal an inventiveness that demonstrates Cretu is capable of more than sophisticated novelty tunes. Two new songs, neither especially noteworthy, open this package. Meanwhile, remastered older tracks segue beautifully to exude a satisfying, seamless unity. Big bonus: run time exceeds 76 minutes. --Terry Wood
Manufacturer: American Gramaphone
Brand: MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER
Distinctive instrumental interpretations of traditional holiday songs from around the world. Includes God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Deck the Halls; We Three Kings; Good King Wenceslas; Stille Nacht; Coventry Carol , and more. Depending on your point of view, Christmas is either a quaint sonic time capsule extracted from the mid-1980s or a timeless holiday classic. The first in what has become an ongoing series of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas recordings, this CD has sold millions, which seems to indicate that it is everything its advertising claims it to be: "America's favorite Christmas music." The powerfully successful Mannheim Steamroller formula, conceived by group mastermind Chip Davis, involves a blend of Renaissance-flavored moods and instrumentation (strings, harpsichord, flute, French horn) intertwined with polite pop instrumental music. At times, the analog synthesizers used in this 1984 recording sound dated and a little cheesy, particularly on "Deck the Halls" and "Good King Wenceslas." But it is a forgivable offense since live instruments and the earnest but ersatz medieval atmosphere they evoke dominate 8 of the 11 tracks. As pleasant and soothing as a Willard Scott birthday wish, Christmas does offer one selection that truly merits "classic" status: the reverent, prayerful, slow-motion interpretation of "Silent Night" ("Stille Nacht") for piano and strings that closes the album--a beautiful and heart-touching work. This selection alone makes this album worth owning. --Terry Wood
Manufacturer: Image Entertainment
This spectacular and mesmerizing live event was captured by 16 hi-definition cameras and 125 channels of digital audio for a brilliant and amazing clear audio-visual experience. Go center stage for an explosive concert filled with stunning performances by the world's most extraordinary musicians. FEATURED SONGS: Standing in Motion - Rainmaker - Keys to Imagination - Enchantment - On Sacred Ground - Playtime - Until the Last Moment - If I Could Tell You - For All Seasons - The Storm - Prelude - Nostalgia - World Dance Incredible 2-Disc Set! All-Access Pass includes extensive behind-the-scenes bonus footage of performances and candid interviews!
Manufacturer: American Gramaphone
Brand: Provident Distribution Group
2013 holiday release from Chip Davis and Co., the sequel to their successful 2011 release Christmas Symphony. As on that first volume, this second installment features MS joined by members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as they record new versions of some of MS' best known arrangements of seasonal favorites.