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November 29, 2009

Susan Boyle, "As seen on YouTube"

susan boyle, i dreamed a dreamWhen I got my review copy of Susan Boyle's new CD, "I Dreamed a Dream," in the mail the other day, the sticker on the front caught my eye.

Stickers like this one on the cover of CD jewel cases are fairly common. Usually, they list the singles, or maybe a few kind words from a magazine like Rolling Stone.

This one read "As Seen on YouTube."

That's the first time I've seen something like that.

If you're not familiar with Boyle, she's the 48-year-old Scottish singer who became an overnight sensation on "Britain's Got Talent" in April. She is perhaps YouTube's biggest success story, as well.

I plugged Boyle's name into YouTube, and did a quick tally. Boyle-related videos have been watched more than 100 million times.

According to a press release, pre-orders of "I Dreamed a Dream," which was released Tuesday, made her No. 1 on's best-sellers list ...

I don't know if it's possible for anyone's debut album to live up to that kind of hype. But the music on "I Dreamed a Dream" comes close. The song selection ("Daydream Believer," "Who I Was Born to Be," "Proud") suits Boyle's meteoric rise. And the sparse, simple production suits Boyle's classic-sounding voice.

Boyle's singing isn't perfect. At moments, she overreaches herself, and occasionally over-sings. But none of that matters, really. The title track, which was the first number she sang on "Britain's Got Talent," still sends shivers down my spine. "Les Miserables" is one of my favorite plays, and I've never still heard anyone do it better.

At 48, Boyle is finally getting a proper debut. Better late than never, I say.

(Photo by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:48 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Random stuff


I very much like your review! Your honesty is refreshing and you do not overstate your opinion. I find many CD reviews to be pretentious and off-putting, but yours gives the feeling that it can be trusted. I hope anyone unfamiliar with this CD is swayed by your review as Susan Boyle's album is well worth listening to. Thank you!

I don't think Susan Boyle "over-sings" Susan sings with a lot of energy and soul, especially on "Up to the Mountain"

I love every song , I don't think she over sings any song. I have listened to her album non stop since I bought it Tuesday. She's amazing!

Good thoughtful review. Not trying to impress by being supercilious. I think it's a fine debut for Susan Boyle. Many others seem to agree, since it's flying off the shelves. Looking forward to what I hope are many more albums from her.

Finally, a CD that I can actually hear the amazing voice.....the voice is front and the music is background...a combination to make a wonderful experience. Today, so many lesser singers use 'gimmicks' and overly loud music to cover a poor voice or lack of talent. It is nice to hear a natural talent. To me this CD is one of the best in years and I am enjoying playing it over and over.

Thank you for your fair and balanced review. I also have the CD and think that "Who I was born to be" could be a hit single if it's promoted properly. I found it to be very inspirational.

Very nice review of Susan Boyle's debut album - thank you. I have listened to this album repeatedly and find it hauntingly beautiful. Each track is different and quite lovely in its own right - no wonder it is selling so well. Susan's glorious voice rings out clear and pure, with each song delivering its own message. I love this sweet lady and plan to buy everything she ever records.


Thank you for your honest review of Susan's cd. It was direct and to the point. I've had the cd since Monday and each time I play it, I like it even better than the time before. Susan makes me actually "listen" to the words and "feel" what she's singing. This is what music is supposed to be about. I disagree that she overreaches and oversings at times. I think she's making her point musically. No wonder this album is flying off the shelves! She should have a wonderful career.

Overall, good review except you got a couple of facts wrong. Susan has been "viewed" on youtube somewhere around 340,000,000 times (by roughly 100,000,000 people) and her cd was released on Monday Nov 23rd.

While you are entitled to your opinion, If you consider any parts of Proud, Up to the mountain, or who i was born to be as over singing or as imperfections, I have to disagree as that is what I love most about Susan's voice. She digs deep for that. Just my preference.

I'm glad you like her cd and your feedback is good.

I don't think Susan over reaches or over sings anything! She has a voice as clear as crystal (a rare commodity these days) and, surprise, her voice is soft where necessary, smoky where it fits, and powerful when she should be powerful. I do think she should have less background singers, she does just fine on her own. I can't count the times I've listened to this album and am blown away by so many of the songs. Proud is my favorite, but You'll See and Up To The Mountain send chills up my spine. There is no song on this album I do not like, I just like some more than others. All are sung by Susan Boyle and that is more than enough. Other singers should take the hint and sing the with passion, clarity, and simplicity of Susan Boyle.

Iv'e been amazed by this lady ever since she appeared on BGT. I purchased her CD when it was first available and have listened to it more then 100 times. When I returned to the original store to buy an additional copy they were completly sold out. Luckly, I have managed to purchase 7 more copies at variuos stores to give as Christmas gifts. I am as impatient as everyone else when it comes to purchasing her next album. I can honesly say that her angelic voice is addicting and just listening to her lowers my blood pressure. I would love to hear her sing "The Star Spangled Banner". That would inspire all of us here in the U.S. Susaqn Boyle is no flash in the pan but I am worried about her health and her ability to cope with all this attention. Thank God she was dicovered in time!

Thank you for your review of Susan's "I Dreamed A Dream" album. Considering that this album contains no less than 5 #1 releases - I don't recall any artist that has put that much effort and quality in a single release.
Susan is to be congratulated! Now, when did she say that her next album was coming out?! Just can't get enough of that beautiful voice.

Susan sings from the heart. As a big fan, I am so happy that her album is a bestseller. More blessings for Susan. She deserves the best. She should always be visible to remind people around the world that we should not stop pursuing our dreams. Try and try until we succeed.

I think she is a gift from god to all the people of this world, to let her voice be heard, so the world will be a better place to live, without human rage. Peace on earth Susan Boyle.

While she is no Chris Sligh, an artist I listen to while marking my Thomas Kinkade calendar for the year, I found this disk rather sub-par. If you're going to cover "Lady Marmalade", at least know a modicum of French. Her selection from "Les Miserables" is really, and I know I'll make enemies here, little more than Community College rehearsal level singing. And the "Toxic" cover was just bad. That being said, I DID think that her take on "Higher Ground" was passable and her rendition of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" had just the right amount of schmaltz. Overall grade C+ (the plus for having the guts to pull off a rather convincing cover of the obscure "Jungle Fever" by The Chakachas.)

What album did Madisonn Smarrrtt Ass listen to???? All those songs he refers to are not on Susan's disc. The only comment was I dreamed a dream and he sounds like the run of the mill want to be critic who want's to be noticed by offering a different take than the millions who just like what they hear. Sad,

Who is Susan Boyle?

(had to)

hahahaha ...


I loved this honest, refreshing review. While I passionately disagree with your unfair accusations of over-singing, I think you hit the nail on the head on your other points.

By the way, did you find the hidden track? I don't want to give away the surprise, but it's a very moving rendition of "Love Shack" featuring the irreplaceable Rip Taylor. Amazing!

I think if she would dress more like GaGa she could be a star. You need more than a good voice to make it these days.

Sam - Idea....
As seen on Midnight Sun stickers for bar windows.

and...Boyle is 48? She looks closer to 78.

I saw the video just after I DreamThe Dream came out on youtube and i have watched it time and time again. It is priceless, the other songs i have heard do in fact have some atonal inflections that can be noticed. But that is because she is not doing the songs like the original artist and I find the songs as good or better than the originals because of her voice and the way she brings part of herself into the songs. I will always remember I Dream the Dream by Susan Boyle it was an honor to have been able to listen to it thank you youtube.

I love the album and Susan's choice of songs. My favorite from album is "Cry me a river". I love how she sings 'you told me love was too plebeian'. I think she does best on high notes. I'd love to hear her sing Ave Maria.

I can't get enough of Susan's beautiful singing. I can't wait for the rest of her albums, and I do hope there are many more. I hope that she will do a Christian album, and a Christmas album.
Actually, anything she sings will be welcomed, considering what we have as singers today. Beauty, I haven't seen any for years, and Susan is beauty, outward and inward.
Bring on the songs, Susan, love you.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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