Shepherd Moons – Enya – 1991
Claimed Sales: 13m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Enya is unlike anyone else in the commercial music world. Literally no one could have anticipated that a ‘New Age’ Celtic singer from Ireland would not only become the most successful solo artist from the country, but one of the defining voices of the 90s. I was genuinely amazed to find a copy of Shepherd Moons, the follow up to her breakthrough album Watermark among my Mum’s music collection. This was an artist who everyone was listening to, no matter if the idea of Irish folk songs with plenty of Uilleann pipes sounds like the best, or the worst thing possible. It’s the haunting quality of Enya’s voice that’s most instantly impressive, on Smaointe which closes the album her voice is genuinely beautiful, layers of it echoing across the new age synths. As a take on a traditional song, Marble Halls is probably the most straightforward melody here, but even here the voice emerges through the delicate strings. As an album Shepherd Moons is euphoric, but in a spiritual way, like it’s helping you reach inner peace. It’s funny that despite listening to the album at least 3 times before sitting down with individual tracks to write this, I literally couldn’t tell you how any of the songs go. It’s an album that creates this zen like state for the listener, the gentle lilt of the backing vocals on How Can I Keep Singing, or the electronic sounding ‘mmmm’s on Angeles are so relaxing, but are completely gone from the listener’s head once it’s finished. Perhaps this is why Enya became so popular, it’s so difficult to describe the feeling this music gives you as no one can actually remember how any of it goes. Standout single Caribbean Blue does its best to alleviate this with its waltz time signature, but yet again, it’s so much more about what the listener feels that what the song is about. Enya could literally be singing about anything and I’d be reaching for my yoga mat. In this way Shepherd Moons has to be commended for doing something that literally no other album in this series could possibly do, even if there’s very little that would make me want to listen all over again.
Will I listen again?: Probably not, unless I take up Yoga.
Best Track: Carribean Blue is the standout here, it captures the essence of the album perfectly.