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Watermark

4.8 out of 5 stars 362 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 10, 1989
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Product Description

One voice 64 tracks! The breakthrough album for Enya Ni Bhraonain, a stunning mixture of Irish passion and Gaelic mysticism. A new age classic.

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Enya's 1988 recording Watermark achieved landmark success with her groundbreaking use of multi-tracking technology to fuse new age and Celtic themes and instrumentation. The meticulous production defines her sound and achieves continuity even while weaving together tender ballads, piano pieces, massively layered vocal harmonies, and symphonic synthesizer movements. Although Enya's pristine voice isn't especially strong, her lead vocals possess a vulnerability that reflects the lyrics' sense of personal searching. From the ubiquitous, frothy single "Orinoco Flow" (which was used to hawk Crystal Light on TV) to the hard, bold edge of "Cursum Perficio," Enya's style remains fresh and engaging today. --Richard Price
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 10, 1989)
  • Original Release Date: January 10, 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002LRR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 362 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,197 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on October 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Simply lovely piano instrumentals such as the title track and "Miss Clare Remembers" glide with a calm majesty. They are emotional paintings in an audial museum, tugging at the listener with a sense of wonder.
The haunting Latin "Cursum Perficio" was inspired by an inscription written on the portico of the Brentwood house Marilyn Monroe died in. Loosely translated, it means "my journey ends here." The frenzied part of the song and chorus reflects the whirlwind way in which Marilyn's life ended. "Eternum" is sung four times, and then comes that final chord, signalling her last breath.
The lush instrumentation in "On Your Shore," "Exile," and "Evening Falls" really highlight Enya's vocals. A flute breaks the silence in the second song as a deep contrast from the strings. It really does paint a stark portrait of an exile, especially with the lyrics: "I'll wait the signs to come/I'll find a way/I will wait the time to come/I'll find a way home." Somehow, the exile will come home to his (her) family and friends. These three songs alone is reason enough to get this album.
The lush "Orinoco Flow," which became a #1 single in the UK stands out with its plucked pizzicato strings and vibrant sound. It evokes waterfalls, springs, and sailing into a wondrous fantasy-land. Sail away, sail away, sail away!
"River" is a gentle melodic keyboard instrumental that highlights Enya's talents in other ways. She provides all instrumentation on this album.
The Celtic-sung "The Longships" does evoke the image of the said ships sailing across the Irish Sea, with the pounding drum serving as the beater's drum, which sets the stroke of the oars striking the water.
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Format: Audio CD
Enya's Watermark has had its fair share of praise in its shortlifetime since being released in 1988. However, what makes it standout apart from other albums of the same genre, is that it simply defies genre. It could be called 'New Age' just to fit it in somewhere, but its not. Its certainly not pop music, and not even Irish traditional. What it is, though, is sheer magic. What is undisputably the century's finest New Age album, gets better with each repeated hearing. Listeners who are familiar with the works of Loreena McKennitt, Altan, Clannad, or Maire Brennan (Enya's sister, by the way), should already be well versed with the contents of this epic masterpiece. If you aren't, then please treat this as a very very strong recommendation ! Enya has largely stayed out of the public eye, for the most part of her years in the music business. Her first album (titled 'Enya' and re-released 'The Celts' in 1993) set the standard for her later works, but this, her second album is by far her most accomplished work. The title track, a simple, melodious piano piece is definitely one of the most beautiful orchestrations heard on any recent album. Enya always slips in a few music-only pieces in all her albums, and this one is no different. 'Miss Clare remembers' and 'River' are positively radiant - 'River' is one of my personal favorites. 'Cursum Perficio', is a Latin chant that is as haunting as 'Pax Deorum' from 'The Memory of Trees', and far more addictive. 'Watermark''s strengths lie in the slow ballads, and the lush instrumentations. 'On your shore' is highly spiritual, as is 'Evening falls', and both shine. Surprisingly, 'Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)', which was the single that brought Enya to public attention, pales in the face of all the other songs.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I was a DJ in high school when I happened upon a used cassette of Watermark. I remember picking it up and thinking "oh, this is that singer who has that strange song Orinoco Flow out on the radio." I had only heard Orinoco Flow a few times, but it was getting tons of airplay. I decided to pick it up (even though my tastes in music were totally inapposite to Enya's style). I took the tape home--and I swear--I had to sit down because I was so overwhelmed by what I was hearing. I recall thinking "this is the single most beautiful voice I've ever heard in my life." From that point on, my taste in music changed dramatically. Funny that it all started with ENYA. I played the album for my parents and my siblings and they were equally stunned by its beauty.
Watermark's production is immaculate and showcases Enya at her best (although I like everything she's done). I am amused by the bone-head comments made by Enya-haters who say "this music is sooo boring," or "it is so pretentious." It's like hearing a deaf mute gripe that Mozart's Requiem is dull or self-important. SHUT UP, BE SILENT, and take your tone-deaf selves to the local ska shop! Enya's music is only dull to individuals who have tin ears or are so musically disinclined that the don't know a whole note from a hole in their heads.
I also strongly disagree with people who say that Enya's voice is "weak." She sings in a very traditional style (the style is called sean-nos and is exemplified by aspirated/breathy singing). You'll hear no fake SOUL DIVA sliding (a la Mariah Carey or Crustina Aguilera). That's because the Irish have a traditional singing style that is not influenced by the western classical tradition (or any pseudo-gospel/soul style).
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