Charlotte Church

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Enchantment Review

by William Ruhlmann

"It's true that, because of my age, I don't have the life experience to sing about things like love and death," admits 15-year-old Charlotte Church in the press biography accompanying review copies of her fourth album, Enchantment. "But, as I get older, I find I can be a bit more of a narrator, telling the story and conveying the emotion of a song." Church is referring specifically to her transition to being more of a pop singer and less of a classical one on Enchantment, her first album to be released by the Columbia Records imprint of Sony Music rather than through Sony Classical. There are still some classical selections, notably a version of "HabaƱera" from Bizet's Carmen, but there are also plenty of show tunes, and, as Church acknowledges, such material often requires more of an emotional involvement, one she is not capable of conveying. Juliet, the Shakespearean character who formed the basis of Maria in the musical West Side Story, was only 14, but the emotions expressed in "Tonight" and "Somewhere," both included here, are very much about love and death, and they call for more than narration. And that's just as true of the Celtic traditional song "Carrickfergus," which laments a lover's inability to be united with her true love (oddly enough, the same subject as the traditional song "The Water Is Wide," which is also here). Lovely as her tone may be, Church simply doesn't sound very upset at the separation, and she sings the words "true love" without any emotional force. She is better at material concerning children and parents, "Papa Can You Hear Me?" from the movie Yentl and "A Bit of Earth" from the musical A Secret Garden. Maybe, then, better choices, along with increasing age, will solve her current problems of interpretation."

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