For her upcoming CD, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, to be released November 1, 50-year-old Scottish superstar singer Susan Boyle has once again plumbed a classic song that is another unlikely choice. You remember SuBo from a couple of years back, when you and probably the entire globe stopped everything to watch the formerly dowdy dowager electrify a panel of judges on “Britain’s Got Talent” (among them, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan) with a show-stopping version of “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables”.
Everyone remembers that moment. Boyle didn’t win that competition but she became an overnight world sensation, then had a very tough time dealing with the stress associated with the fame that was suddenly thrust upon her. In any case, she released two albums and made numerous appearances, including a Fourth of July performance at the White House.
For her newest CD, she appears to veer away from the show tunes and standards. The album has been described as a “diverse mix of music” and the songs, some of which are covers are inspired by “the stories of Boyle’s fans” who have written letters to her. The first single, released late in September, is a song from a Swedish musical written by former ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson called “You Have to Be There”. Boyle herself performed this live on “America’s Got Talent” just recently.
But we’re most interested in some of the upcoming tracks on the new album –songs such as “Unchained Melody”, the old Righteous Brothers classic from 1965, “Both Sides Now” from Joni Mitchell and, Tears for Fears’ early single “Mad World”. SuBo is set to perform “Unchained Melody” live this Tuesday on the “Results” show of ABC’s popular “Dancing With the Stars”/
Another track on this new CD stands out –and it is fast making the Internet rounds. Not afraid to tackle some alternative classics from the not-so-recent past, Boyle has recorded a version of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” from their 1990 classic “Violator”. And the result isn’t all that bad. In fact, after a few listens you begin to appreciate the haunting feel in her voice as the song is slowed down considerably. Boyle sounds unusually plaintive in a song that is otherwise quite affecting, and surprisingly, she performs it quite confidently.
What’s fascinating is this fact: we all know the brilliance of “Enjoy the Silence”, its fast pace and phenomenal synth bass line, but composer and DModer Martin Gore originally wrote the song to be much slower, to be performed in C minor. Other members helped rework the song, with the help of producer Flood, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Eventually, a slower version of the song, the “Harmonium” version, was recorded as an extra track with Gore, not Dave Gahan, on vocals:
As furious Depeche Mode fans we applaud this bravery and simplicity and hope that SuBo can incite some new fans to rediscover the utter brilliance of this classic song. It’s never easy to tackle something like this, especially something so iconic and identified with legends like DM.