Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Enya

  • Watermark [Geffen, 1988] D+
  • A Day Without Rain [Reprise, 2001] D-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Watermark [Geffen, 1988]
A new name with a pedigree--she brought her family's upmarket Irish folk concept Clannad into the synthesizer age before leaving to pursue her own economic interests. Whilst humanizing technology, perpetrating banal verse in three languages (I'm guessing about the Gaelic after reading the English and figuring out the Latin), and mentioning Africa, the Orinoco, and other deep dark faraway places, her top-10 CD makes hay of pop's old reliable women-are-angels scam. At least the Cocteau Twins are eccentric. At least ELP were vulgarians. D+

A Day Without Rain [Reprise, 2001]
Pondering the fate of post-September 11 pop, everyone predicted what they already wished for--Slipknot undone, Britney in hiding. What happened instead was the unthinkable--sales of Enya's first album since 1995 spiked 10 months after release. (And she thought that movie where Charlize Theron fucked Keanu Reeves and died of cancer was a promotional coup!) Two years in the making with the artiste playing every synthesizer, the 11 songs here last a resounding 34 minutes and represent a significant downsizing of her New Age exoticism since 1988's breakthrough, Watermark--it's goopier, more simplistic. Yanni is Tchaikovsky by comparison, Sarah McLachlan Ella Fitzgerald, treacle Smithfield ham. Right, whatever gets folks through the night. But Enya's the kind of artist who makes you think, if this piffle got them through it, how dark could their night have been? Like Master P or Michael Bolton only worse, she tests one's faith in democracy itself. D-