Certified 5 times platinum by the RIAA (3/96).
The success of her first international hit, Watermark
, confirmed Enya as less a singer or songwriter than a sonic architect: working with producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan, the classically-trained pianist built vaulting cathedrals of sound, framed by luminous piano, shimmering synthesizer orchestrations, and, above all, the seemingly infinite layers of vocal harmonies she plied on every song. The deeply romantic Celtic pop on its 1991 successor, Shepherd Moons
, sustains the same spectrum of hushed reverie and surging, rhapsodic releases, as well as its mix of ballads, floating midtempo pieces, and forays into Celtic and Latin--and it's every bit as seductive. The terminally hip will sneer, but it's no accident that "Caribbean Blue," the best known song here, managed to sneak onto modern rock, top 40, "adult alternative" and public radio playlists. --Sam Sutherland