This thread proved very popular on the Pure board, so I wanted to start one here. Rate each song on the ablum from 1-10 (don't try ranking them in order of preference, we all know that would be impossible! )
Here are mine:
Prayer - 10 Both Sides Now - 9 Never Saw Blue - 10 Dell'amore Non Si Sa - 9 What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) -7.5 May It Be - 11! Quanta Qualia - 10 You Are Water - 10 She Moves Through the Fair - 8 My Heart Belongs to You - 7 Ave Maria - 9 I Say Grace - 9.5
And 4 songs from the UK version were sold on iTunes:
Dido's Lament - 10 O Mio Babbino - 8.5 Mary Did You Know - 8.5 (I prefer the jazzy, DVD version) Laudate Dominum - 9 (My all-time favourite classical song, and definitely my favourite rendition; but I found the arrangement a bit flat)
Great question, Someone. Still difficult to answer though!
I will keep to the US version as you have done. My marks are based on the fact that I would award 10 to Pokarekare Ana if that qualified....
Prayer - 8 Both Sides Now - 8.5 Never Saw Blue - 9 Dell'amore Non Si Sa - 8.5 What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 7.5 May It Be - 9 (it would have got 10 if the orchestral parts were still included) Quanta Qualia - 7 You Are Water - 7.5 She Moves Through the Fair - 7 My Heart Belongs to You - 9 Ave Maria - 8 I Say Grace 7.5
Overall, my marks are lower than they would be for Pure.
Since the north american version is the only one I have at the moment, I'll focus on that as well.
Prayer - 8.5 Both Sides Now - 8 Never Saw Blue - 9.75 Dell'amore Non Si Sa - 10 What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 8.5 May It Be - 9 Quanta Qualia - 7.5 You Are Water - 8.5 She Moves Through the Fair - 7 My Heart Belongs to You - 9.5 (10 for the International version) Ave Maria - 8 I Say Grace - 9
Prayer - 8 Both Sides Now - 7 Never Saw Blue - 7 Dell'amore Non Si Sa -7.5 What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 7 May It Be - 9 Quanta Qualia - 7 She Moves Through the Fair - 6.5 My Heart Belongs to You - 8 Ave Maria - 8.5 I Say Grace - 6.5
I am such a tough judge!!! lol Now I have to go and do the Pure one.
I'll give my marks to the songs on the US version of "Odyssey", but based on the arrangements on the International version. I haven't heard the US version, so I have omitted "You Are Water".
Prayer - 9½ Both Sides Now - 7 Never Saw Blue - 10 Dell'amore Non Si Sa - 7½ What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 7 May It Be - 10 Quanta Qualia - 9 She Moves Through the Fair - 7½ My Heart Belongs to You - 7½ Ave Maria - 9½ I Say Grace - 8
Here are the votes from the Edinburgh jury... based on the Singapore version of 'Odyssey'...
Prayer - 7½ Never Saw Blue - 9 Dell'amore Non Si Sa - 8 Ave Maria - 10 (by far the best version of this piece I have EVER heard!) Both Sides Now - 9½ (only the "busking version" is better!) What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 7½ May It Be - 10 Quanta Qualia - 10 Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 Aria - 9½ (this gets such a high rating, due to Hayley reaching the high-pitched note at the end!) She Moves Through the Fair - 8½ I Say Grace - 9 My Heart Belongs to You - 7
I've based this on the British version and then added the USA-only tracks after.
one) British version:
Well produced and arranged. This was an instant and pleasurable surprise to me after the weak accompaniments on Pure. Good use of reverb, skilfully sparing instrumentation that puts the focus where it should be - on Hayley's voice. 10/10
Dell'Amore Non Si Sa
The opening sounds remarkably like Tori Amos in the way it's constructed, and in some elements of Hayley's voice.
I don't often enjoy duets, which often seem less like a song and more like an excuse to cram two singers into the same song when there's only room for one. But this works. Hayley's voice could have been overpowered by Andrea's. The two singers work beautifully together most of the time, though there's some loss of tone when Hayley sings at the same time as Andrea. That's due to the laws of acoustics and not to any shortcoming in Hayley's voice. 9/10
Never Saw Blue
I love the sparing accompaniment, which accents Hayley's voice and gives her room to open out. Hayley's accent also makes this song, for me. Nice use of the tone of the piano in different registers, and the pianist knows how to spring the rhythm where a lesser player might tend to plod. The strings are suitably understated. 10/10
Good, though it would be nice if Hayley's voice would soar a bit more than it does. This is one of those performances that often work better live than on record. I can imagine this being absolutely stunning in a concert hall with a little bit of reverberation once Hayley's sung it enough to let her technique look after itself so she can just open up and let it flow. 9/10 for this performance.
What You Never Know
I'm not entirely sure about the sentiments of the song. And musically I find it competent rather than anything special. The rhythm plods too regularly. The percussion is too precise and sounds pre-programmed. In the end the metronomic arrangement drags the song down. 6/10
There's a touch of harshness in the opening vocal parts, but that may be the shortcomings of my equipment. This could sound a lot better on a really good hi-fi. This problem happens whenever the music swells. Nice tune. This is another one that could be wonderful in the right concert hall. 8/10 - 9 or even 10 if it's my equipment that's the problem.
Both Sides Now
This is one of the two outstanding tracks for me, the other one being Never Saw Blue. A deceptively simple song from Joni Mitchell with a lot of implied depth, which makes it difficult for a young singer other than the songwriter herself. Hayley's expression is a massive improvement from where she was on Pure. Love her accent as well. The accompaniment could be better, but 10/10 anyway.
May It Be
This is one of those songs that tend to drag very easily. It needs an undercurrent of strength and some subtleties in the tone, neither of which are present here. I haven't heard the original, which is a pity as I'd like to know how it was originally done. 7/10
This drags, for me, despite attempts to lift it in the performance. The fact that it's twice the length it should be doesn't help. 5/10.
I can imagine this fitting very well into the film. Beautifully performed by the accompanying musicians as well as by Hayley. I'd like to hear more like this, but it can be difficult to get the right feel with this kind of song. In this case it works perfectly, but I can imagine something similar failing dramatically if the feel isn't quite there. 9/10 but I'm tempted to give it 10/10.
The Mists of Islay
Competent and pleasant. 7/10
O Mio Babbino Caro
I was curious to see how Hayley would sound on this. It really needs a richer, rounder voice, but she handles it well. I'm only going to give it 7/10 though, because this is one of those songs that far too many singers have covered. I can think of a whole mass of them in the last few years alone. Some songs need to be left fallow for a while, especially in the crossover arena. I know I've said this before, but with good reason. There's surely a limit to how many versions of the same song one person can enjoy hearing. 7/10
Competent but not especially striking. 7/10
She Moves Through the Fair.
And I really wish she'd stop moving and have a rest. This is another song that's been done to death by everyone. It's the sonic equivalent of Murder on the Orient Express (where there were about twelve murderers and one victim). Also I'm not sure this should be sung by a woman anyway? It's surely a man's song, or else the gender needs to be changed to He Moved Through the Fair?
Nice arrangement on this version, though, and well enough sung by Hayley. Only 5/10 though, because it takes up space on the CD that could have been used by something better. It would have been nice to hear that arrangement on a new Celtic-flavoured song. 5/10
Nicely done. Not overdone, and with the stately dignity appropriate for Purcell. 8/10, maybe 9
two ) Songs on the USA version that aren't on the British one:
You are Water.
A strong song that Hayley manages very well. Delicacy and (appropriately) purity are the things that distinguish Hayley's voice, but she has the power to handle a song like this one, and it's very impressive. I'd only give this 7 or 8 for the song, but I'm going to give it 9/10 for the way Hayley rises to the challenge. 9/10
My Heart Belongs to You
The mechanical percussion kills this, as it does with just about every song in this genre. A pity about the backing vocals, too. But this could be a good song, and Hayley puts a lot of feeling into it. If she does this live with a different arrangement and a real human being on percussion it could be pretty good. 5/10
I Say Grace
This kind of thing always sounds horribly corny to me. Like Blues, it's so cliche-ridden it's hard to do anything with it. But Hayley manages to bring some real freshness to it, especially in the opening bars. She's fighting a losing battle with this, though, and it only deserves 4/10.
The opening sounds remarkably like Tori Amos in the way it's constructed, and in some elements of Hayley's voice.
I'm very intrigued indeed to hear you mentioning Tori... I drew an analogy with Tori Amos in one of my discussions re: 'Hayley's Use of the Stage' post last week. You might be interested to have a look!
Incidentally, are you a Tori fan/ merely enjoy the odd Tori track yourself?
I used to listen to Tori all the time- less these days though. I really started to appreciate tracks such as 'Winter' and the title track of 'Little Earthquakes' in 1992 just after 'Little Earthquakes' was released. I then started collecting Tori CD singles; imports; rare vinyl; etc.up until about 2002. I saw her perform on a couple of Tours too- 'The Dew Drop Inn Tour' (1996) which promoted the 'Boys for Pele' Album and the 'Tori Amos Plugged Tour' (1998/9) which promoted 'From The Choirgirl Hotel'. For a while I used to boast that I had collected everything Tori had released, but I lost interest a bit after the 'Plugged' Tour... I much preferred the earlier 'Tori' eras... 'Little Earthquakes'; 'Under the Pink'; and 'Boys For Pele'. Once she formed a band it never quite seemed the same again! Much better with just her with just Tori, her Bosendorfer piano and Steve Caton accompanying on guitar.
Do you have her 'The Beekeeper'? My 2 fave tracks from that album are, 'Ribbons Undone' and 'Cars and Guitars'...
Sounds like you may well have more Tori stuff than I have. I've got the regular releases and a few extras - like a CD with eight different versions of Blood Roses on it. (they're all interestingly different as well). I have some of the single B sides but by no means all.
Yes, I agree about the early stuff and her solo playing. I do think Scarlet's Walk has some great moments, though.
I found The Beekeeper a bit weak. I wouldn't say it's a bad album, but it lacks something. That's a pity because the ideas behind it seem really interesting. Did you get the version with the DVD? It helps clarify what she has in mind (and it's always nice to see Tori as well as hear her ).
I suppose we'd better resume normal transmission and go back to Hayley at this point, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind the digression.
BTW I'm not Gerry. Still, that may have it's advantages - Gerry, what do you think of Tori Amos?
Now I can rate the other songs as well!! Since the very kind Roger sent me a copy of the UK version of Odyssey!! Thanks Roger!!
Bridal Ballad - 8
I like the opening a lot! I haven't seen the movie (I should!) so I don't exactly know how this song relates to it. But I certainly like it!
The Mists of Islay - 7.5
For some reason I like this song more from "Hayley Westenra" album. In this new version, it sounds like Hayley didn't put much emotions in it at all.........
O Mio Babbino Caro - 7.5
I have always loved this song. It's gorgeous! But I don't think Hayley's voice is yet strong enough to sing it. And her voice sounds so young... doesn't sound like bagging at her father to let her get marry at all. But I like it none the less.
Laudate Dominum - 6.5
I didn't know what to think about this one. This song was one of those songs that I kinda listen to it and never remembers what it's called.
Wiegenlied - 7
Good job with the German Hayley!! It's a very difficult language to sing it! It sounds like such a fun/cute song. Very nice little piece.
She moves the fair - 6.5
This gets the same rating as the international version. I never liked this song much. But this UK version does sound better though.
Dido's Lament - 9
I like the melody of this song a lot. Very mysterious and very dark. A stand out from the other tracks of this album. Nice work on the vocal too.
As always, I'm not really sure what edition I have. I always have the first editions that were released in the UK, if that helps at all.
1. Prayer - 10 2. Never Saw Blue - 10 * 3. Dell'Amore Non Si Sa - 8 4. Ave Maria - 4 5. Both Sides Now - 6 ** 6. What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 8 *** 7. May It Be - 7 8. Quanta Qualia - 5 9. Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 Aria - 4 10. She Moves Through the Fair - 8 11. I Say Grace - 3 12. My Heart Belongs To You - 7
* I love her singing this live, it's one of my favourites. ** I love this song, but hate the rendition, and I think she is far to young to sing it. *** A vast improvement of Sarah Brightman's song. I would give Sarah's version 5, but Hayley's touches made this song so much better.
1. Prayer - 10 2. Never Saw Blue - 10 3. Dell'Amore Non Si Sa - 9 4. Ave Maria - 6 5. Both Sides Now - 7 6. What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 9 7. May It Be - 10 8. Quanta Qualia - 7 9. Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 Aria - 8 10. She Moves Through the Fair - 8 11. I Say Grace - 5 12. My Heart Belongs To You - 6
Hayley's Realm: The Proud Blog in Support of Hayley
Prayer - 8 Both Sides Now - 7 Never Saw Blue - 10 Dell'amore Non Si Sa -9 What You Never Know (Won't Hurt You) - 8 May It Be - 9 Quanta Qualia - 10 She Moves Through the Fair - 8 My Heart Belongs to You - 10 Ave Maria - 10 I Say Grace - 10