As I type this message, I am listening to the most recent addition to my CD collection, playing in the background. It is the debut album which was released last year by KEEDIE! And, it just arrived by international Air Mail from amazon.co.uk -- yesterday! I just couldn't resist the sound of her voice, which I had heard for the first time a few weeks ago, in the background of the film "Modigliani."
I loooooooove this album! Maybe her voice is not as "pure" as Hayley's (KEEDIE has a very noticeable vibrato), but it sure is impressive to listen to. She has many different "colours" to her voice, and it can sound very pop (like Celine Dion), or very operatic (like Sarah Brightman). My most favourite tracks on the album are "Vedi Maria" (in which Keedie duets with herself), "Only Time" (a cover of a piece by Enya), and "My Reason" (a very emotional piece which served as the theme song to the film "Modigliani"). She also does a great interpretation of "Ave Maria" (by Bach/Gounod), "Time to Say Good-bye" (the Bocelli signature song), and "Vissi d'arte" (from Puccini's Tosca). I'm not overly impressed by the track from which the title of this album is taken, however -- "I Believe My Heart." The reason that I don't care much for it is not because of Keedie's voice, though. Her voice is fine. I just think that this isn't one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's better songs.
At first, I thought that the album might be too costly to import from "across the pond," but that turned out not to be the case. In fact, it is rather surprising that Amazon in the UK is charging only £5.07 (WITHOUT the VAT) for this album. We Yankees don't have to pay any VAT, but even if you were to add-on the VAT amount, this album would still be an unbelievable bargain! I mean, it is more than £2.50 BELOW the cost of Katherine Jenkins' latest album (Living A Dream), for example, and more than £2.00 BELOW the cost of Il Divo's latest (Ancora).
I'm not sure how EMI manages to distribute this for such a cheap price! Aside from the price, there is NOTHING "cheap" about this album. First of all, the album liner says that it contains 17 tracks. Accordingly, the liner notes list the titles of only 17 songs. Wrong! It actually has 20 songs! Well... technically speaking, there are only 17 track delineations, but... it so happens that the entire track #17 is over 20 minutes in length! What happens on track #17 is that it (secretly) contains a grand total of 4 songs.
Here's how: After the song which is listed for track #17 finishes playing, you might expect the CD to stop rotating on your CD player. But, it doesn't stop. It continues spinning, although you don't hear any sound. You are treated to over 4 minutes of dead silence, as you begin to wonder what in-the-devil is going on??? Ultimately, the silence is finally broken, as you hear some new-age sounding instrumental music. Then, at approximately 8:35 on the track's time-counter, Keedie begins to sing again. You suddenly hear Keedie singing (Lascia Ch'io Pianga), followed by the Flower Duet from Lakme, which is then followed by "Un Bel Di" from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly."
Essentially, EMI has added these three "bonus" songs at the end of the album, without listing them anywhere. My only two complaints are: EMI could have delineated them into separate tracks, which they didn't do -- perhaps to keep you from accessing them separately. The only way to get at them is to listen to all of track #17. My other complaint is that you have to wait (wade?) through more than 4 minutes of dead silence in order to hear the first of the bonus songs! Could they not have given you 45 seconds or even 60 seconds of silence, and then introduced the bonus area of that track?
It's like... what? Did they want you to "give up" and turn off your CD player without ever discovering the "surprise"? How exceptionally weird!!! My question is... is this a common practice in the record industry...? And, I don't just mean the practice of having "hidden" tracks -- I know that a lot of albums feature "hidden" tracks. But, I mean, the practice of inserting over four minutes of DEAD SILENCE prior to the "hidden" material. Isn't the silent period normally much shorter?