Archive for Sarah Class

Hayley Westenra’s “Treasure”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26 March, 2009 by Nicola

I cannot even begin to describe the amount of sweat and tears that went into trying to understand this album.  The amount of effort I put into this CD to try and like it.  I was waiting for some miracle, some revelation to appear out of thin air, as to why this album tends to be a favourite among Hayley Westenra fans.  Why it is so highly esteemed, why it is the pivot of discussion.  I am not so lucky this time.  I have failed.  I officially don’t get it.

Let me start with the postives.  I do enjoy two songs on this album and tellingly they are two songs that are co-written by Westenra herself.  ‘Let Me Lie’ and ‘Summer Rain’ are clear standout tracks from what is otherwise a highly predictable album. Continue reading

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Hayley Westenra’s “Pure”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on 13 February, 2009 by Nicola

After Hayley Westenra‘s tremendous success in native New Zealand, she was picked up by Decca and they aimed their new artist towards the international market.  So, this slick, charming and creative album was made.  The quality and amount of effort put into it seems to have exploded from nowhere.  Whilst Westenra’s vocals had matured slightly, she still struggled with injecting any emotion into the songs.  This album could have easily been another repeat of her debut album, but the song selection not only rescues it from such a fate, it also embodies the main strength of the release.

Pure works in a way that her previous album could never have done for two reasons.  First, the tracklisting is quite adventurous.  Any average music lover may have glanced over the tracklist and saw only two or three songs that they were already familiar with (I would guess at ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘In Trutina’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’).  Most crossover albums rely on the majority of their tracklist to act as a security blanket to the buyer: if they know the songs, they know what they are buying.  No risk.  It is a little bit surprising then, that Westenra somehow managed to shift enough CDs in the first week of release that it became the fastest-selling debut classical album in the UK’s history.   How? Continue reading