Enya is a name of note in the world of music. After all, she has sold an estimated 75 million records on a worldwide basis, which are enough to make her the single best-selling solo artist to ever emerge from Ireland. Furthermore, Enya has been extremely influential on both Celtic music and New Age music, so much so that she is sometimes called the Queen of New Age. As such, there are very few singer-songwriters out there who can match her kind of success.
8. And Winter Came . . .
In another world, And Winter Came . . . might have been a Christmas album. After all, Enya’s original intention was to make a Christmas album consisting of both classic Christmas carols and more original material. However, that plan changed, thus resulting in a collection of new songs with either a Christmas theme or a winter theme. On the whole, And Winter Came . . . is worth listening to. However, it still loses points for being more limited than Enya’s other releases.
7. Dark Sky Island
Dark Sky Island is named for Sark, which is one of the Channel Islands that can be found off of the coast of Normandy. The name can sound rather strange until one learns that Sark was designated as a dark-sky preserve, which means exactly what it sounds like because the minimization of light pollution can be extremely important for various reasons. Indeed, Enya was inspired by said announcement, which is rather notable because she had been on a multi-year break from music until then. Regardless, Dark Sky Island was received well enough. It possessed a lot of Enya’s characteristic strengths. However, it doesn’t quite feel capable of matching up to her earlier releases because in a sense, it feels too comfortable and too well-worn for that.
Amarantine was Enya’s sixth studio album. It was a stand-out in her body of work for a number of reasons. For example, it was her first studio album to lack a song sung in Irish. Similarly, it was her first studio album to include songs sung in Japanese and Loxian. Some people might be surprised that they have never heard of the latter language. If so, they shouldn’t be because it is a fictional language created by Enya’s long-time collaborator Roma Ryan. In any case, Amarantine had much to like. Simultaneously, it was also very similar to what had come before it. Yes, it featured songs sung in languages that Enya hadn’t sung in before, but ultimately, those songs were much the same as her other songs, meaning that said difference was superficial rather than substantial. There is nothing wrong with this, but this means that Amarantine struggles to stand out from the rest.
5. A Day Without Rain
There can be no doubt about the fact that A Day Without Rain was a commercial success. After all, it remains Enya’s best-selling release, meaning that it has never been matched over the course of her long career. In fact, A Day Without Rain has the honor of being the best-selling new age release over with 16 million sales on a worldwide basis. The critical reception was much more mixed. To a considerable extent, this was because a lot of critics felt that it was too similar to its predecessors. As such, while the release was nice, it was also shallow.
Enya got a very good record contract before she made her second studio album. As the story goes, her self-titled debut album was very well-received by Rob Dickins, who was the chairman of Warner Music UK at the time. Later, Enya and her collaborators had a chance meeting with Dickins, thus resulting in a record contract with incredible artistic freedom. The result was magnificent. After all, Watermark was the studio album that propelled Enya to the international stage, which was that much more impressive because it came as such a surprise to so many people. In other words, Dickins gambled on Enya and her collaborators. Something that paid off handsomely.
3. The Memory of Trees
The Memory of Trees is interesting in that it took a fair amount of inspiration from mythology as well as other stories. To name an example, the very cover is a reference to the painting called The Young King of the Black Isles, which in turn, is one of the stories that make up The Thousand and One Nights. As for the title track, it isn’t quite a song with an environmental message as it has often been interpreted to be. Instead, it is supposed to be about what trees might think of humans. A concept that was inspired by the ancient Celtic belief that trees could possess a certain wisdom of their own under certain circumstances.
Some people might be more familiar with Enya under the name The Celts, which was the rename for the international rerelease. This wasn’t Enya’s first work. However, it did a great deal to propel her to a position of prominence. In the late 1980s, the BBC did a mini-series called The Celts about the titular peoples. As a result, Enya was asked to do the music for one of the episodes. Originally, the plan was to ask a different composer to do the music for each episode. However, Enya managed to impress the director so much that she was asked to do the entire score. Her self-titled debut album came into existence because of that. Its commercial performance wasn’t too impressive. However, its influence is undeniable, seeing as how it was what enabled Enya and her collaborators to make Watermark.
1. Shepherd Moons
Watermark was strong. However, its follow-up Shepherd Moons proved to be even stronger, thus providing Enya with incredible momentum at a pivotal point in her career. Besides that, the studio album was excellent, being a wonderful mix of lush, poignant, and memorable. It wasn’t perfect, but it came a lot closer to it than the overwhelming majority of studio albums that have ever been made.