"Watermark" by Enya on iTunes

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

A professional musician for nearly a decade before this album was released in 1988, the multi-platinum Watermark is the recording that made Enya an international sensation. A native of Ireland, her true musical inspiration lies with her Celtic roots, and though she may have been branded the quintessential New Age vocalist in the U.S., that’s a simplification of her style and a bit of a misnomer in general. (Of course, it's a marketing approach that certainly did boost sales). So though, yes, this album does perfectly complement, say, a bubble bath, it’s too intricate and intriguing to simply dismiss it as soothing background music. What sets it apart from so many other relaxing albums is Enya’s voice. Stunning and pure, it's further enhanced by the vocal overdubs and layered keyboards that lend it a trace of echo and effectively draw the notes out, giving it a trace-like quality. The music rises and falls pleasantly around her without stretching for contrived drama, and there are piano and string passages throughout that are as gorgeous as they are subtle, along with some excellent use of traditional Irish pipes. Strong from start to finish, Watermark also contains “Orinoco Flow,” the album’s runaway hit single with the catchy “sail away” chorus. Arguably her finest and most consistent release.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A professional musician for nearly a decade before this album was released in 1988, the multi-platinum Watermark is the recording that made Enya an international sensation. A native of Ireland, her true musical inspiration lies with her Celtic roots, and though she may have been branded the quintessential New Age vocalist in the U.S., that’s a simplification of her style and a bit of a misnomer in general. (Of course, it's a marketing approach that certainly did boost sales). So though, yes, this album does perfectly complement, say, a bubble bath, it’s too intricate and intriguing to simply dismiss it as soothing background music. What sets it apart from so many other relaxing albums is Enya’s voice. Stunning and pure, it's further enhanced by the vocal overdubs and layered keyboards that lend it a trace of echo and effectively draw the notes out, giving it a trace-like quality. The music rises and falls pleasantly around her without stretching for contrived drama, and there are piano and string passages throughout that are as gorgeous as they are subtle, along with some excellent use of traditional Irish pipes. Strong from start to finish, Watermark also contains “Orinoco Flow,” the album’s runaway hit single with the catchy “sail away” chorus. Arguably her finest and most consistent release.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

231 Ratings

Critic: "Two Thumbs Up"

lbanani,

Four Words: Enya...Is...The...Best

Watermark satisfies

catplus,

I have loved this album since it first came out. I have taken it with me on all my international trips to listen to at night in youth hostels and other odd places. It always satisfies! I'm about to travel to France so I updated my copy from the stretched out cassette to a fresh MP3 version. I'm sure it will keep me inspired and alive inside through the worst security lines, and when I need a little check-in with myself and downtime from visiting and practicing my French, it'll be there! By far her best album, Watermark satisfies!

About Enya

With her blend of folk melodies, synthesized backdrops, and classical motifs, Enya created a distinctive style that more closely resembled new age than the folk and Celtic music that provided her initial influences. Enya is from Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland, which she left in 1980 to join the Irish band Clannad, the group that already featured her older brothers and sisters. She stayed with Clannad for two years, then left, hooking up with producer Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan, with whom she recorded film and television scores. The result was a successful album of TV music for the BBC. Enya then recorded Watermark (1988), which featured her distinctive, flowing music and multi-overdubbed trancelike singing; the album sold eight million copies worldwide. Watermark established Enya as an international star and launched a successful career that has continued into the new millennium.

Enya (born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin) was born into a musical family. Her father, Leo Brennan, was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band, a popular Irish show band; her mother was an amateur musician. Most important to Enya's career were her siblings, who formed Clannad in 1970 with several of their uncles. Enya joined the band as a keyboardist in 1980 and contributed to several of the group's popular television soundtracks. In 1982, she left Clannad, claiming that she was uninterested in following the pop direction the group had begun to pursue. Within a few years, she was commissioned, along with producer/arranger Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan, to provide the score for a BBC-TV series called The Celts. The soundtrack was released in 1986 as her eponymous solo album.

Enya didn't receive much notice, but Enya and the Ryans' second effort, Watermark, became a surprise hit upon its release in 1988. Enya spent the years following the success of Watermark rather quietly; her most notable appearance was a cameo on Sinéad O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. She finally released Shepherd Moons, her follow-up to Watermark, in 1991. Shepherd Moons was even more successful than its predecessor, eventually selling over ten million copies worldwide; it entered the U.S. charts at number 17 and remained in the Top 200 for almost four years.

Again, Enya was slow to follow up on the success of Shepherd Moons, spending nearly four years working on her fourth album. The record, entitled Memory of Trees, was released in December 1995. Memory of Trees entered the U.S. charts at number nine and sold over two million copies within its first year of release. In 1997 came the release of a greatest-hits collection, Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya, which featured two new songs. Enya's first album of new material in five years, Day Without Rain, was released in late 2000. In 2002, she contributed material to the first film in Peter Jackson's award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, scoring a hit with the single "May It Be." Amarantine, her first full-length recording since Day Without Rain, followed in November 2005. A holiday EP, Christmas Secrets, arrived in 2006, followed by an all new, full-length collection of original seasonal music called And Winter Came in 2008.

Her second greatest-hits collection, The Very Best of Enya, was released in 2009, though it would be another six years until her next album arrived. "Echoes in Rain," the first of two singles from Enya's forthcoming eighth album, appeared in September 2015, and the normally reclusive star opened up for a number of interviews and was promoted heavily on social media for the first time. Created with longtime collaborators Roma and Nicky Ryan, Dark Star Island was released in November of that year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & William Ruhlmann

  • ORIGIN
    Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, Ireland
  • BORN
    May 17, 1961

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