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Spiritual Beings On a Human Journey

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Album Review

Some song or album titles have a way of letting you know exactly what type of music to expect. If a title uses terms like "thugged-out gangsta bitch," "the chronic," or "bling-bling," chances are you can expect hardcore rap. If a title mentions "Jah Rastafari," "ganja," "rude boys," or "natty dread," reggae is probably on the menu. And when a CD has a title like Spiritual Beings on a Human Journey, the logical assumption is that you're getting new age — which is exactly what this album is. Anael has often been compared to fellow new age vocalist Enya — and, to be sure, there are some parallels. Both favor a tranquil, peaceful approach, both are known for spiritual lyrics, and both are female vocalists in a genre that is dominated by instrumentalists. But Enya, for all her tranquility, has more of an edge than Anael — and Quebec native Anael isn't as Celtic-influenced as Ireland's Enya. Some of Anael's more ardent supporters in the new age press have gone so far as to say that she is a better, stronger vocalist than Enya; this journalist disagrees with that opinion, although Spiritual Beings on a Human Journey points to the fact that Anael is a talented, likable singer in her own right. Although Anael occasionally sings in French and even Hebrew, most of the lyrics are in English; whatever the language, a lush, serene, ethereal atmosphere prevails on these 2001 and 2002 recordings. Anael tends to be predictable; after a few selections, the listener pretty much knows what the rest of this 58-minute CD will sound like. Nonetheless, the atmosphere that she provides is an appealing one, and those who are mainly interested in a tranquil ambience will find this album to be a pleasing, if limited, experience.


Born: Canada

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Although French Canadian vocalist Anael has a lushly orchestrated sound that's obviously indebted to Enya, she isn't nearly as influenced by Celtic folk, preferring to draw inspiration (and, occasionally, repertory) from classical, choral, and liturgical music, as well as jazz, pop, and new age. Still, most of her material is penned in the present day by her collaborator Bradfield, who generally handles composition, arrangements, instruments, and production on her recordings. Born and raised in Saguenay,...
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Spiritual Beings On a Human Journey, Anael
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