Image © CMC Faster Productions 2002
(30 January 2003) Although not previously a sincere fan of Bonnie
Tyler-type music, having heard so far only occassionally some of her
basic hits from the 1970s and 1980s like "It's A Heartache", "Lost
in France", and "Total Eclipse of The Heart," her new album Heart
& Soul: 13 Rock Classics (CMC, Faster Productions, 2002) has
opened us up to new possibilities.
This album by Bonnie is a covers album, and it is the first time
she has done so. Surprisingly or not, Bonnie hails from Wales, so
she has now chosen a very interesting way to work with at least one
other music person from Wales, namely Karl "Mr. Adiemus" Jenkins
himself, and decided to sing cover songs which have been arranged
specifically for her band plus a symphony orchestra! So, the album has been
made with the help of six arrangers (Karl Jenkins, Nick Ingman, Alan Darby,
Matt Prior, Gerard McBurney and John Young), a bit more "electric" band, and
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Karl Jenkins.
Nowadays almost every artist decides to do a cover album at some point,
but this album makes an exception towards the positively surprising direction.
On the album Bonnie sings more or less familiar pop/rock classics, for
example "Everybody Hurts," "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),"
"Lean On Me," "Right Here Waiting" and "It's Over". Artists/bands covered
feature Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, U2, The Beatles, Richard Marx, and
Roy Orbison among others. As I mentioned above, there have been six professional
musicians/conductors making the arrangements, but majority of the
arrangements has been made by Karl Jenkins. So, knowing him from his
"classical/crossover" music, the album is more exciting.
Basically, one can either like or dislike artists covering others music,
but this album really takes the listener by surprise, positively. The
arrangements really fit like a glove to Bonnie Tyler's famous hoarse and
"rasping" voice. As Karl Jenkins has spent his early life working with
pop/rock/jazz genres, he has now succeeded to fuse the earlier influences to
his present styles, and under his baton, Bonnie, the backing vocalists, the
band, and the symphony orchestra all are "pitched to their very maximum" and
really show their abilities musically. The usage of reeds, brass and
percussion are at times very typical for Karl Jenkins, and the strings
support the moods of each song finely, with their cascading arpeggios and
softer elements. Not to underestimate the other arrangers, their work sounds
as wonderful as Karl's!
The new arrangements really bring much wonderful ideas to the album, for
example a bunch of new dimensions, and this approach makes the album to
sound all new. The style of using symphonic elements has not been very
typical for Bonnie, but in my opinion, she sounds wonderful even like this!
On each time of listening, one can find something new from the pieces, each
arrangement being different from each other. And this makes the listening a
very enjoyable experience! Highly recommended for everyone, also those who
have not liked Bonnie Tyler's music before, since I bet that one will not
become tired to listen to Heart & Soul's classics in a new form!--Suvi Kaikkonen
[Editor's Note: This album is presently not available as a domestic North American or British product.]