Enya has always been a guilty pleasure for an old rock ‘n’ roller like me. Her fusions of classical and Irish influences with her almost ethereal vocals and songwriting abilities have combined to produce music that is both emotional and mysterious. While her sound falls into the adult contemporary category; it is very unique and as such, her albums have sold in the tens of millions worldwide.
Her 2008 creation, And Winter Came, has been released in time for the coming holiday season. While it contains Christmas songs, it can more appropriately be called a seasonal release as many of the songs range beyond just one specific day.
In many regards, other than the themes involved, it is a typical Enya release. Ten of the twelve songs are original and she continually overdubs her voice until it sounds like a virtual choir. The music infiltrates the senses and creates a mood that allows the mind to wander. Enya’s music has always had a spiritual quality and so matches well to her creative visions of the winter season.
My only real complaint is the flow of the album. I probably would have chosen a different order for the tracks as the songs, particularly on the second half of the release, come across as individual parts rather than a smooth whole.
The first four tracks are traditional Enya and find her at her best. “And Winter Came,” with its beautifully constructed music is a fitting introduction to this album. It sets the mood nicely for what will follow. “Journey Of The Angels” is slow, religious, and beautiful and shows the purity of her vocal tone. “White Is In The Winter Night” is both upbeat and inspirational. Enya presents the traditional Christmas hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” without gimmicks. He voice just floats above the instrumental track.
"My! My! Time Flies!” may be the most interesting track on the album as it presents her music in a different light. It really is a pop tune and even features a guitar sound. I’m not sure if I would want a whole album of this type of material but it is a nice counterpoint.
Other highlights include her wonderful harmonies on the children’s tune, “Toy Soldier” and a Gaelic version of “Silent Night,” titled “Oiche Chiuin.”
And Winter Came brings her calm and peaceful music to a special time of year for many people. It should more than satisfy her legions of fans and remain a holiday release to be played and enjoyed for years.