You Raise Me Up: The Essential Collection is a double-disc compilation of uplifting songs, some of them bona fide hits, others of familiar material, marketed toward British mothers and released around the time of Mother's Day. There's a curious mix of material on the 40-track compilation. Though most of it is British, there's a bit of international music sequenced now and then -- take, for instance, Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," Sarah Mclachlan's "Angel," and Gloria Estefan's "Anything for You" -- and a good mix of male and female vocalists. Highlights of the first disc include Westlife's "You Raise Me Up," Ronan Keating's "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and the Priests' "Ave Maria." Highlights of the second disc include Girls Aloud's "I'll Stand by You," Will Young's "Evergreen," and Jamie Cullum's "Everlasting Love." While there are some bona fide hit singles on the album such as the aforementioned highlights, a majority of the tracks are run-of-the-mill renditions of familiar standards sung by British pop vocalists. That doesn't mean that the non-hit material is necessarily bad. Rather, it's something of a bummer to hear well-known singers performing material other than their best. In any event, You Raise Me Up: The Essential Collection fulfills its billing as an economical collection of feel-good music that makes for a passable, if far from ideal Mother's Day, gift so long as your mother doesn't have left-of-center or high-brow taste.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2