Don't pretend you haven't seen the Youtube video - but will you listen to Susan Boyle's album as well?
I Dreamed a Dream
4/5 We’ve always been a little unsettled by the furore around Susan Boyle. There’s no doubt that the British warbler possesses a voice that’s poignant and stunning in its clarity, as perfectly exemplified on this album’s opener – a haunting cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Wild Horses’. But take a cold, hard look at this 48-year-old’s story: she walked on to the Britain’s Got Talent stage in April, a frumpy, middle-aged woman with a sparky personality, she opened her mouth to sing and out poured a poised and surprisingly ageless vocal that left the judges slack-jawed.
It was this juxtaposition between her dowdy appearance and the beauty of her voice that made her a modern media sensation. She skyrocketed to fame because we’ve been completely brainwashed by airbrushing, by the apparent physical perfection of women in the limelight: these days, to be famous, you must be easy on the eye, and Susan Boyle is definitely not. As a society, we look at Boyle and assume that because she doesn’t look like Cheryl Cole, because she’s a spinster cat-lover, she can’t have any exceptional talents at all.
It’s depressing – luckily, this album is anything but. Of course, it’s totally predictable. Boyle’s rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, the Les Misérables song that made her famous, stands among covers of The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’, Madonna’s ‘You’ll See’ (in which Boyle’s vocal outstrips the Queen of Pop’s original) and ‘Cry Me a River’. It’s all doused in plenty of dramatic strings and prominent piano lines, and there’s even a couple of original tunes. You’d think that the world doesn’t need another covers album, but when Boyle sings ‘It feels like it’s my turn to fly,’ we can’t help but agree. Kim Taylor Bennett Available in stores.