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Heart & Soul CD Cover
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.]

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