Album Review: Susan Boyle, 'Someone To Watch Over Me'

73 Billboard Rating

SUSAN BOYLE
"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Producer: Steve Mac
Syco/Columbia
Release Date: Nov. 1

Though they showcased the kind of voice that rendered even Simon Cowell speechless - with chart-topping results - Susan Boyle's first two albums ("I Dreamed a Dream," "The Gift") did not gift to fullest effect. Tentative performances and careful, overdone orchestrations neutered any semblance of genuine heart from those releases. But that's been remedied on Boyle's newest album, "Someone to Watch Over Me," on which producer Steve Mac lets the singer's voice handle the workload with comparatively minimal accompaniment. It's displayed on such songs as Tears for Fears' "Mad World," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Paolo Nutini's "Autumn Leaves" and a spectral reinvention of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence." The track "Lilac Wine," meanwhile, is treated like smoky pop for nonsmoking bars. Those who still want a bit of bombast can check out Boyle's rendition of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus' "You Have to Be There" from the Swedish musical "Kristina fran Duvemala" and the original "Return." Three albums in, Boyle sounds like she's finally arriving.

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