Release Date: Nov 1, 2011
Record label: Sony Music
Genre(s): Vocal, Pop/Rock, Pop Idol, Vocal Pop
Susan Boyle’s third album, Someone to Watch Over Me, isn’t markedly different than her first or her second, the seasonal The Gift, for that matter. All three were produced by Steve Mac -- the man who helmed record-shattering LPs by Il Divo along with a bevy of hits by British pop groups and graduates of the Idol franchises on both sides of the Atlantic -- all three are so stately they border on somnolent, the speeds never once flirting with midtempo, the tenor of the timbre measured and mannered. Close listening reveals Someone to Watch Over Me isn’t quite as orchestral heavy as The Gift, lending this a slight airiness, but this is cut from the same cloth as its predecessors: show tunes and standards rest comfortably next to reinterpreted modern classics, this time Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” and Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of Susan Boyle’s music or image, as there’s some shrewd, calculated marketing behind her unlikely career. With the fourth-quarter release of her third studio album, Someone to Watch Over Me, SuBo looks to capitalize once again on the seasonal holiday purchases both by and for middle-aged relatives that have taken her from unknown spinster to platinum-selling Grammy nominee in just two short years. If Boyle and her team don’t seem to know much about the basics of musical tempo or dynamics, they deserve credit for knowing how and when to sell the singer’s limited repertoire for maximum commercial impact.
“Britain’s Got Talent’’ alum Susan Boyle covering synthpop gloom anthems “Enjoy the Silence’’ and “Mad World’’ is the type of thing that sends a thousand bloggers into paroxysms of eye-rolling. But if you think that Boyle - a last-chancer whose rise hinged on the narrative of being a frumpy, discarded nobody - can’t identify with feelings of invisibility and dislocation from the society that spawned her, then you weren’t paying attention. “Someone To Watch Over Me’’ has the makings of a perfectly solid mopey-piano-girl album, largely eschewing chest-beating for a coarser-grained approach that serves the singer rather well.
MIRANDA LAMBERT “Four the Record” (RCA Nashville) Enough with the outsider narratives: even when Miranda Lambert was a ferocious Nashville upstart obsessed with firearms and comeuppance, she wasn’t so strange. She was a clear inheritor of the legacies of generations of tough female singers: Loretta Lynn, Jessi Colter, firebrand-era Dixie Chicks, even Reba McEntire in her saucy early years. Furthermore, as the hits on Ms.