Review: Susan Boyle’s Enjoy the Silence

Susan Boyle's face, looking dreamy, next to DM logo with rose.
Susan Boyle pays tribute to Depeche Mode.

The announcement that Susan Boyle would be covering the classic “Enjoy the Silence” has generated quite a few press snippets, and fan reactions have ranged from “meh” to “ugh.” RollingStone posted the song in full on their site yesterday, so I took a listen. How did it pan out? Overall, disappointing.

I know Susan Boyle’s story, I think I watched a video on YouTube at some point, but my distaste for reality shows means I generally don’t follow them or their artists. I thought, “Good on her,” when I read about Susan, since she’s not the typical pop-prince/princess to-be. When I listened to this cover, I was pretty open minded and unsure of what to expect since I’ve never followed Susan Boyle’s previous work.

I was pleasantly surprised by her etherial, almost haunting vocals. They suit the original, despite some odd changes to a note here and there (the acending note on “haaarm” comes to mind). But where this rendition breaks down is the arrangement. Susan is a singer, so I’m going to assume the arrangement of the backing piano was written by somebody else. The original melody is lost in the muck, and the notes are repetative and static compared to the original. Martin originally wrote the song as a ballad, so slowing it down shouldn’t decrease the integrity of the original backing melody.

Oddly, it sounded like they tried incorporating a small piece of Pachebel’s Canon in D in the intro. I love Canon in D, and a mashup with something DM-related would be a neat concept, but it seemed out of place in the intro, and doesn’t carry through to any other parts of the song.

Unfortunately, even great vocals can’t be saved by a poor arrangement, so I was disappointed when I heard what could have been a very nice piano and vocal cover.

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Rating: 2/5
Listening to Susan’s vocal made me think that this had the potential to be a chilling cover, but it fell short by a poor arrangement. Instead, it drags and sounds watered down. Opportunity missed.

Amanda

Amanda is an enthusiastic, globe-trotting Mode fan who discovered the band in late 1998. Although she often feels like she got a late start in the Depeche Mode's career, she's survived nearly 20 years of the fandom, five new albums and multiple meetings with her love for the band intact (and stronger than ever). Amanda is a life-long creative, a classically trained graphic designer, working professionally as a User Experience Designer for one of the world's largest technology companies. When not at work or traveling for Depeche, she enjoys character illustration, comics, movies and Japanese Culture. And cats. Lots of Cats.

  • Ellie

    Hey, I heard that Canon in D thing too!!

    Her producer is a one-trick pony when it comes to backing tracks – always with the
    piano intro (overly-loud), then at the end a multitude of musicians (waaaay-too-loud) drowning out SuBo.

    • Amanda

      Hmm, I didn’t know that. That’s a shame for her then; talent wasted on poor production!

  • Beppenel

    “Overall, disappointing”
    Really??
    I guess we will not have heard the same version, I found it
    Beautiful!!……Fantastic!!……….Brilliant!!!……………..
    Susan has the most beautiful voice there is!

    • Amanda

      I agree that Susan sounds wonderful, but a good vocal must be supported by a good arrangement to make a great song. I’m glad you like it though! To each their own. 🙂