Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Susan Boyle, "I Dreamed a Dream" (Columbia) [1.5 STARS out of 4]

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When it comes to tragic spectacles in this sorry age of reality television, beyond even the pathetic sight of Patti Blagojevich eating bugs on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" falls the obnoxious exploitation of Scottish homebody Susan Boyle.

Diagnosed with learning difficulties and, she says, verbally tormented and physically abused by teachers and schoolmates, Boyle also was blessed with a pure, clear and ringing voice. Until a few months ago, the 48-year-old singer most often displayed her talent in church while living quietly with her cat Pebbles in the house where she was raised. But things dramatically changed last April, when she appeared on the third season of the U.K. television show "Britain's Got Talent."

Though Boyle ultimately lost the talent contest--placing second to a dance troupe--she became a worldwide phenomenon as millions watched clips of her singing a track from the musical "Les Miserables" and the standard "Cry Me a River" on YouTube. Now comes her debut album, "I Dreamed a Dream," arriving in stores Tuesday, but already the bestselling pre-order CD in the history of Amazon.com, topping "Jay-Z, Whitney Houston and even the Beatles' remastered CDs," according to her publicists.

"One of the things that is so unique about Susan Boyle is her ability to touch people around the world," according to her American record label, Columbia. And it's certainly true that many of her fans have been attracted by the power of her voice and the story of an ordinary woman's triumph over the superficialities of our celebrity culture.

Unfortunately, it's also true that the way that story was calculatingly scripted into "Britain's Got Talent" has attracted just as many people--the kind who get a real kick out of watching a former governor's wife and failed "American Idol" Sanjaya Malakar eating bugs and enduring other tortures in the jungle--who are laughing at Boyle and ruthlessly mocking her on the Internet, on radio and in gossip columns, unleashing the same callous cruelty as those who attacked her during her school days.

Boyle has paid a price for all of this. Hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic the day after she lost on the TV show, she also dropped out of many of the dates on the live tour that followed. The British press endlessly speculated about her health and well being, though she said she needed to conserve her voice for her album.

Columbia refused to provide reviewers with advance copies of "I Dreamed a Dream," but despite one of the tightest security clampdowns in the digital age, the music finally leaked on the Internet Thursday. The verdict: While Boyle's voice is an impressive instrument, it cannot be denied that her interpretations of the 12 11 covers and one original are nowhere near extraordinary enough to merit a fraction of the attention and anticipation they've garnered if considered solely on musical merit.

Arranged for maximum orchestral bombast and drenched in schmaltz, the material clearly was chosen for the broadest marketing appeal. There are Baby Boomer-friendly pop songs ("Wild Horses," "Daydream Believer," "The End of the World"), traditional hymns ("Amazing Grace," "How Great Thou Art"), the tunes she sang on television and even, in consideration of the season, a closing version of "Silent Night."

None of these can fairly be considered the definitive reading of the song, as artful as the work of a Charlotte Church, or even anything beyond the capabilities of a thousand gifted mezzo-sopranos regularly appearing in musicals staged by community theaters around the world. The difference is that Boyle, for better or worse, is in the midst of Andy Warhol's fabled 15 minutes of fame.

In the end, the most notable track is the one purported to be Boyle's sole original, "Who I Was Born to Be," which stands as an autobiographical anthem. "I'm not a girl/I've known the taste of defeat," she sings over syrupy strings. "[Now] I've got the world in my hands/And it feels like my turn to fly/Though I may not know the answers/I can finally say I'm free/And if the questions led me here then/I'm who I was born to be."

Let's hope that Boyle truly is as free and as happy as she asserts.

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63 Comments

Well, what did you expect? Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop? The songs showcase her voice well, and yes, it might be sugar coated. I hope her next album has new original material on and that the producers will dare a bit. She deserves it.

To me, Susan Boyle is the greatest singer in the world, much, much better than Charlotte Church. Each of Church's songs sounds exactly like the one before. There's no accounting for taste, but you may be sure that Susan's millions of fans will not desert her after 15 minutes of fame. For that matter, she's been an international superstar for 7 months now, which is longer than 15 minutes, last time I checked. She speaks, or sings, for us, the ordinary people. She makes us stand up and cheer. And she has the most perfectly beautiful voice I have ever heard. It can be, and is, denied that her voice is not extraordinary. Your opinion isn't going to stop her from laughing all the way to the bank.

I can't believe you are an album critic - you obviously don't like Susan Boyle's style (probably never have) -- that's fine - but millions and millions of people do - i think you may have learning disabilities yourself -- this was a Christmas album as well as an assortment of songs that described her journey -- this is why people love Susan Boyle -- it is not just what she sings, but who she is -- as I said, because of the holidays and her deep faith, traditional Christmas songs were included - by the way -- they are gorgeously produced and why do you need to compare her to others! All the critics that predicted 15 minutes of fame never expected her to achieve what she has with the sales of her CD, especially in a world as economically challenged as this one is.

It always intrigues me that music critics,For whatever reason think that a singer or a cd that is released should be made for there particular taste of music,which they never reveal by the way when reviewing an artiste or cd.She missed many of the tour dates.As a matter of FACT she missed 4 out of 26.So much for your research.None of the tracks according to you can be called the definitive version.Absolute sheer nonsense,Mick jagger,Wild horses by susan boyle is a ghostly rendition and better than anything i have ever done.Currently wiping the floor with all 6 versions including the sundays on rolling stone magazine.On youtube the reviews are staggering.For every one you find that say it is not i will find you 5 that will say it is.Your research leaves a lot to be desired.Cry me a river and IDAD considered by millions to be the best ever versions of them songs.Including by Sir Cameron Mckintosh Producer of les mis in london and Alain Boublil co writer of IDAD.Your obvious bias against the kind of music she portrays to the masses is self evident.340 million hits,Number 1 in 6 countries.World record holder on Amazon.I do not think the masses will lose any sleep over a few who are going to pan it.If this is her 15 mins of fame ,wouldn't you like just one of them minutes because it is the longest 15 minutes i have ever timed.But then your probably one of them who said the same thing in april.And you most certainly need to hire yourself a researcher sir.

A truly crappy article. Terms such as "abnoxious exploitation" and "schmaltz", as well as the critique "nowhere near extraordinary enough to merit a fraction of the attention and anticipation they've garnered if considered solely on musical merit," make for a pretty silly outlook on the most pre-ordered CD of all time on Amazon.com. Aren't we Boomers happy that we don't need the narrow minded critics telling us what music we should like, listen to and buy! Excuse me while I go order a couple more of the albums. And let's see how long Susan Boyle's 15 minutes of fame last. My guess is a LIFETIME!

"The verdict: While Boyle's voice is an impressive instrument, it cannot be denied that her interpretations of the 12 covers and one original are nowhere near extraordinary enough to merit a fraction of the attention and anticipation they've garnered if considered solely on musical merit."

Truer words were never spoken and I expect more people will come to realize this,eventually. I need more thna a good voice for my artists. I need someone who can actually interpret a song and Susan can not interpret a song. I thought her Dancing With the Stars appearance was awful. Without her backstory, she would not be getting this publicity.
Gotta hand it to Simon though. He knows how to market someone.

Thank you for calling a spade a spade. Susan has a pleasant voice, but no better than countless other singers. Her sympathetic backstory is the main draw. Her album pre-sales are unusually high, I will give her that. My guess is that people are buying this as a holiday gift for their grandmothers and mothers.

Thankyou Andrew Burns- you hit the nail right on the head. Susan Boyle has a brilliant voice - I don't know that it's the best but it is certainly 'up there'. I don't honestly think that Susan beilieves that either but her rendition of 'Cry Me A River' I believe is second to none including Michael Buble, of whome I am an ardent fan. Furthermore why shouldn't Susan ( to answer other critics) spend so much of her time in the U.S. - People like the 'great'Robbie Williams have been trying to do just that for years. For Susan it's more than a voice - it's a life that's been bottled up for decades and I believe that for the most part, her true fans understand that because realistacaly or not, she gives us hope and as a fellow Scot of similar age, I am truly proud!

Have you ever before reviewed an album based solely on what you hear from illegal YouTube clips on your computer speakers?

Susan Boyle's time in the 'psychiatric' clinic lasted only 5 days - hardly a breakdown, she was simply exhausted from the intense press coverage which she'd not had time to adjust to at that stage.

I most certainly do disagree with your statement that her voice is 'nowhere near extraordinary enough to merit a fraction of the attention and anticipation they've garnered if considered solely on musical merit.' And clearly, so do millions of others.

Susan's voice will live on forever in our hearts.

Have a look at the picture of Susan laughing while being interviewed by Matt Lauer for "People of the Year" and call this "obnoxious exploitation." Susan has millions of fans! 30,000 on susan-boyle.com, 3,000 on that forum and that's just those who have registered, not counting those who visit and read and don't register. Her singing is extra-ordinary. She's cute and funny and a "real person" so we relate to her in that way. Next week when we fans are listening to the cd we'll see what the reviews are! The comments given on your article are very revealing.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1229543/Dream-come-true-Susan-Boyle-debut-album-breaks-early-sales-record.html
It is unfortunate that some people are mean enough to say bad things about such a nice person. But Susan will triumph and as Piers Morgan said about her, she'll have the last laugh.

I'm getting a bit sick and tired of being told that I like Susan Boyles voice because of her background story. Please, give it up already.
Is she thee best singer today? If not, who is? There can only be one best. Is that the only person allowed to sing and be enjoyed?
You can have an album with all brand new songs that are cranked out quickly, but terrible.
I stopped buying CD's because there's usually only one or two songs that I like. Not this time. I love all of them.
Perhaps the songs on her CD aren't to your taste but that doesn't mean it's not good. There are many styles of music that I don't like, Country in particular, but I'm not going to criticize an album because I don't like the songs. I do recognize talent and quality when I hear it.
I wonder just how long it will be until we stop hearing about the 15 minutes of fame.
At least the one trick pony line seems to have gone away.

One more thing.
Susan did 22 of the 28 shows on the tour.
Not bad for someone that was just released from the hospital, and told she didn't have to do any of them.
Don't forget to mention that other performers missed some gigs too.
Perhaps you know someone that could have handled those 7 brutal weeks better.
I don't.

I would be interested to know which singers you approve of. To each his own. I think you are being very harsh in your review. Does it matter who is buying the CD or if they are giving it as a gift? Many people love Susan for many reasons. Beautiful voice, spunky personality, down-to-earth and not manufactured. It's called charisma. You have it or you don't. She has it and it's not something you can analyze to death. She's not your cup of tea, obviously, but must you be so mean-spirited? Hmmm, I'd be curious to read your reviews of Shakira.

After reading scores of articles from publications all over the world giving rave reviews of Susan Boyle's debut cd, I am sad that a Chicago paper my region)has such a downer take on this. Fortunately it will not bother the record-breaking number of sales. I love the remark that "if Ms. Boyle has a 40 year career someone will write that her 15 minutes of fame is up."

Mr. DeRogatis,

Perhaps you should take some music appreciation lessons? I don't find your article an intelligent 'critique' because it is quite DeRogatory.

What an ignorant article. Ignorant meaning rude to start and ignorant meaning unaware of the facts. You didn't do your homework very well. Susan Boyle only bowed out of 3 or 4 shows of the exhausting 28 shows. She did pretty well considering she had just been released from a hospital for exhaustion. She did splendidly on those shows too - haven't seen any of them have you - or the screaming cheering fans. She was relaxed and professional and her voice was stunning. Other acts were only on some of the shows also. You didn't know that did you. You don't like Susan's songs - that's YOUR opinion - her millions of fans who have put her over the top on Amazon music as the highest pre order sales EVER disagree with you. I've heard enough of the songs to know you're analysis is off. So go back to your head banger music - or what everyou listen to - and those who appreciate good music will continue to propel Susan's wonderful career forward. Simon Cowell knows how good she is and so do all her fans.

What an ignorant article. Ignorant meaning rude to start and ignorant meaning unaware of the facts. You didn't do your homework very well. Susan Boyle only bowed out of 3 or 4 shows of the exhausting 28 shows. She did pretty well considering she had just been released from a hospital for exhaustion. She did splendidly on those shows too - haven't seen any of them have you - or the screaming cheering fans. She was relaxed and professional and her voice was stunning. Other acts were only on some of the shows also. You didn't know that did you. You don't like Susan's songs - that's YOUR opinion - her millions of fans who have put her over the top on Amazon music as the highest pre order sales EVER disagree with you. I've heard enough of the songs to know you're analysis is off. So go back to your head banger music - or what everyou listen to - and those who appreciate good music will continue to propel Susan's wonderful career forward. Simon Cowell knows how good she is and so do all her fans.

Your research is lousy. Don't they have fact checkers on the Sun Times anymore? Your mistakes about the BGT tour have been documented above. What is even more ridiculous is your musical criticism. What are you, the copy boy? You may be into flash and bling and electronic music, but there is a vast world population that enjoys music with a deeper meaning. Susan Boyle's music "soothes the savage breast". It speaks to the human condition. It believes that if you don't give up, you will get your chance. If that bores you, kid, I fear for you.

Susan Boyle has millions of fans around the world. She has touched people to the core of their being, moving many to tears myself included. I am sorry you have not experienced the joy of this experience. Perhaps you listened with your head and your ears instead of with your heart. Give it another listen. You just might like it.

Lucky for me, I have a mind of my own.
I know what I like, and I like what I hear. Very much indeed.
My CD should arrive on the 23rd.
I can't wait!!!!

I agree with the review. It is a horrible album. She warbles throughout which is incredibly annoying. Daydream Believer... should be labeled Daydream Destroyer. Also the End of the World is craptastic.

Honestly if she was pretty she would have not sold any albums.

Jim, you ignorant slut. I don't know you and you certainly don't know Susan Boyle. This is the worst critique ever produced by a human with half a brain. Your uninformed, poorly educated, and you obviously lack any original thinking. Look in the mirror and you'll see what I mean. May you get cancer.

"One more thing.
Susan did 22 of the 28 shows on the tour.
Not bad for someone that was just released from the hospital, and told she didn't have to do any of them.
Don't forget to mention that other performers missed some gigs too.
Perhaps you know someone that could have handled those 7 brutal weeks better.
I don't."


Marty, 28 shows is nothing. Most stars of today would call that a "mini" tour. Most big tours are 60 dates or more. So, there are plenty that could do it better and it is far from brutal. And don't forget, she didn't perform for 90 minutes, which is the minimum that most artists do. She only sang a few songs.

I disagree totally with this article. The excerpts from Susan's album that I have heard are superb. She pours her heart and soul into each song and she has the most beautiful voice. I have pre-ordered her album and believe it will live up to my expectations. I hope she continues to record and share her lovely voice with the world.


I hope she can go back to anonymity soon, now with enough money to live comfortably for the rest of her life.

She doesn't deserve the sh*t she's getting.

I think Mr.DeRogatisan is just a TAD bitter. What a joke of an article.

First, just to reiterate what was already said - Susan Boyle performed 23 of 28 BGT tour shows, skipping a bunch in the middle AS PLANNED because of her very recent hospitalization.

Second, numerous critics were provided review copies. Simply check twitter and you'll see the various critics telling people they've received their copies.

It appears Mr. ReRogatisan is annoyed that he didn't get one. Maybe it has something to do with your clear bias and mistaken facts?

Reviewing a CD based on illegal download is a disgusting and pathetic practice - and yes, ILLEGAL.

I truly appreciate you insulting me by lumping Susan fans in a group who "like to see people eat bugs." That tells me so much about your mindset going into listening to you illegal download.

I can't believe your editors allowed this. Frankly, I hope Sony takes notice and never, never again sends your paper a review copy of anything.

Your fact-checking should start with counting. There are 11 covers & one new song on the album. You have no clue about Susan's audience. We LIKE ballads more than mechanical sound effects with no melody attached. The reason Susan will succeed is that we're the kind of people who PAY for our music rather than support the kind of piracy on YouTube & Twitter. Now we're finally getting the music we like. If you think Susan can't interpret music because she doesn't use 15 screams when one perfect note will do, that's your opinion, but it's not as important as ours--all several million of us.

...........YOU ARE NOT SUITED TO BE A "MUSIC CRITIC" AND i do believe that ....many of us , should PETITION to have you fired!
How would you like that ?
Think its not possible or that you are "invincible" ....ITS CALLD THE4 "POWER OF THE PEOPLE" sir and you have just HEARD it !!
How DARE you try to influence those of us whom have bene OPPRESSED for years of being forced to listen to what is "ALLOWED" for us ,as dictated by the so called MUSIC INDUSTRY , that morons and "wanna be' Mucic Critics LIKE YOURSELF ...PUSH forward , when we are ACHING to be INSPIRED , to feel HEALED , to be ULIFTED and believe that we can conquer the world ...and you SIR are trying to TELL US, that the mainstream crap and DIVAS we have had to endure ,DO ANY OF THAT ???
THINK AGAIN. NO OPEN YOUR HEART, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY YOU DONT HAVE ONE . READ THE COMMENTS ON YOUTUBE under MISS Boyles LEGALLY UPLOADED CLIPS of PEOPLE ( everyday people) whom have had their LIVES changed for the BETTER , because of Miss Boyle, but then ...that kind of RESEARCH is beneath you , isnt it?
YOU ...DO NOT HAVE THE HEART, NOR DOES THE SO CALLED CRITICS FROM THE TIMES OR THE GUARDIAN have a BETTER PICTURE of whats REALLY taking place WORLDWIDE.....
YOU ALL SHOULD BE FIRED and WE the "little" people can MAKE that HAPPEN!
WATCH US....

Spencer, that was a talent show tour. She had only sung 3 times before it started, she wasn't well, and as I said, Simon excused her from the tour entirely. She wanted to do it.
Don't forget what those 7 weeks were like for her and she wasn't given any support to deal with it. None.
If she ever decides to tour, she'll be prepared for it. That's a whole other ballgame.

Unlike the reviewer, I'd like to admit my one factual mistake in my comment above- I spelled his name wrong. Sorry for the error.

Regarding Anon at 3:26 PM, thanks for pounting out Mr. DeRogatis' inability to count the tracks on the CD.

The more I've thought about it, the more I understand Mr. DeRogatis' response, though. Programming begins early. Autotuning, manipulation of voice tracks, visual cues during performances - all designed to create a certain accepted "performance." How many people just stand behind a mic now and sing with a pure voice? How many people refuse autotuning and just sing, often with only one instrument backing them - like on this CD? And perform without lip-syncing and without any synthesis on their mic? I suspect quite a few people haven't heard an un-tuned voice in a while.

Karaoke album in time for christmas. Can't believe she's singing Skeeter Davis.

Note - her singing will probably be pitch perfect on this album but there's nothing there in terms of emotion or personality. Listen to the originals. Her success is based on the fact that people are, for some reason, shocked that a woman who doesn't look beautiful can actually sing.

She has a natural gift but her only talent is doing and singing what she's told. There's nothing unique here. Nothing inspired, beautiful, new; just a cash-in like Robson & Jerome. This is for music what Katie Price/Jordan and all celebrity books are for literature.

Come on, its nice to be critical, but have you heard "UP TO THE MOUNTAIN"? Impressive! Madonna has no voice at all and she is the biggest star of the world.

Isn't it simply amazing the absolute garbage some of them come in here with.Take lucy,Ron J,spencer,and Catharine.Notice like the reviewer,Not a single one of them put there own taste up for scrutiny.And the reason is simple.They would be torn apart as probably susan will sell more in her tea break than the artistes they listen to would in a lifetime.This absolute garbage that she is not a good singer is a stupid as one could possibly imagine.They all think 340 million hits are seen by mindless sheep,when in fact it is they that are light years behind the populous that support her,And dan you like the reviewer have no clue about research.She did NOT sing what she was told almost all of the tracks were chosen by her to reflect music that she herself has said reflects songs that have inspired her from childhood to adulthood.So really like the reviewer these individuals would not know a singer from a cheesburger and i challenge them to have the guts to mention there choice of music when commenting.I think she is the best singer in the world,Not even close.My tastes beatles,black sabbath,dire straits,cyndi lauper,rolling stones,chris de burgh,and to many to mention,See now that wasn't difficult was it.

Me and my three 20-something friends have preordered Susan's CD from Amazon. My mother preordered her own copy. Susan's version of WH certainly has an emotional impact on me - I feel every word she is singing. I really couldn't care less what any music critic has to say - I buy what I like - simple as that. Again, sloppy research on your part.

Dan - Bitter, much? Why don't you wait until you've heard the CD to criticize, okay? "will probably be... etc." isn't very convincing. Just makes you look bitter and jealous. Or... Mr. DeRogatis can tell you where to get an illegal copy right now.

Spencer at 1:26 PM - try reading the so-called review. The responses regarding the BGT tour were because Mr. DeRogatis said she skipped a bunch. We were discussing that particular tour because he brought it up. duh. When Susan Boyle does her own tour next year, then you can criticize her all you want, and I'm sure you will.

Thought you might be interested in the title of another review (from someone with a legal copy) from a paper with a slightly bigger circulation in another US urban center - "Susan Boyle's Album is a Dream." He didn't like all the tracks but it's a fair-minded review. Google it. ;)

There seems to be a lot of ranting here on both sides of this topic, much of which adds more heat than light. Certainly, this review added no light, as the writer went out of his way to be belittling of Miss Boyle and of her (many!)fans. The problem seems to lie in what different people expect from music, and even in what they hear. What I hear when Susan Boyle sings is beauty - a pure voice quality that is, indeed, better than hundreds of popular singers and that does both convey and inspire emotion. A huge number of people hear the same, which is our reason for buying her album. The fact that we also love her personality and her story is just icing on the cake. If the reviewer and some of the commenters above don't hear her the way we do, that's OK. Different tastes. But it's not a reason to stoop to bitter, dismissive, exaggerated, insulting comments. Don't imagine that you are the sole authorities on what is worthwhile. I seriously doubt that I would like whatever it is you listen to.

"Not a single one of them put there own taste up for scrutiny.And the reason is simple.They would be torn apart as probably susan will sell more in her tea break than the artistes they listen to would in a lifetime"

How do sales prove quality? Britney Spears is a better artist than Bob Dylan because she sells more records? Titanic is the best movie of all time because it is the biggest grossing? Harry Potter books are the best because they sell the most? The more watered down something is the more accesible it is, hence more sales. You'll find in in almost everything, from newspapers to music.

Why should people put their own tastes up for scrutiny? What difference does is make whether you like Mozart or Miles Davis, Johnny Cash or The Shangri-La's?

"Why don't you wait until you've heard the CD to criticize, okay? "

I've heard a couple of the songs. The cover of Skeeter Davis is laughable.

Maya, you seem to have an unnecessary and angry take on downloading as well. It's mostly young people who download and you'll find most young people spend most or at least a lot of their money on music. Most people I know see live music once a week and at least once a month and like to listen to about 200-300 new albums a year. Unlike you, not everyone can afford to buy all the albums they MIGHT like. I don't know anyone who can afford to buy 20 albums a month that they're curious, but unsure about. It's actually good for music. The artists find their audience and the listener can discover what they like and then support it. You can try most things out before you buy - from clothes to books to televisions, but it's not so easy with music.

There are no legal copies of this album available online at this time, or particularly at the time you wrote this; You Tube or otherwise. It does not seem that a major institution like the Chicago Sun Times would condone reviews based off of illegal copies of albums, but I shall inquire.

By Andrew Burns on November 20, 2009 8:20 PM

--------

Since you asked, I'm mostly a jazz fan, Andrew.

I wasn't ripping this poor woman, I have sympathy for her. I think the people attacking her, and the people like you who are trying to turn her into a trained seal, are screwing her up.

(Remember: As was the case with Elvis, Michael Jackson and so many others, it's often the alleged supporters and close advisors who do the most damage.)

I hope she can take her money and go back to her simple life when this is all over, but I fear she'll never be able to go home again.

I think that Catherine, Spencer and so on are a bunch of jealous people who cant stand susan because she has a real talent and they are talentless people. They are anti semitic. We have to ignore them, but it is very sad that musical critic Jim is so unproffesional, he did not give us any analyses of susan's album, he's just a bully. Susan is a real star and she gives happiness to lots of people, this is very important in our hard lives. And shame on you Jim, you are anti semitic

I used to think most of the negative comments in these reviews were just the result of rabid fanboys who can't take criticism of their favorite artists. I can understand this.

But this much hostility for a negative Susan Boyle review? Seriously? I'm just not seeing it here.

Shirley Worthen, at the very least you should realize that advance copies are sent to music critics, radio stations, and music publications.

Sheesh people, no need for such venom. Jim stated his opinion, just as you all can state yours. But face it, Susan Boyle has very few fans since very few people know much about her music. Britain’s Got Talent has millions of fans and people are caught up in that show and the reaction that Ms Boyle got on it. Sure she can sing, but she does not sing in a particularly unique manner nor does she sing any particularly unique songs. The songs she does sing have nothing to them that a hundred other singers could not have added. This woman only brings her back story and her appearance on Britain’s got talent to the table.

ALL GREEN....BET y'd love to have that voice & $$$$!!!

Your article in the Chicago Sun Times was most pitiful. Susan Boyle is fantastic. Perhaps you weren't able to see her in person. She is what life is all about, struggle and a happy ending. You sound so jealous of Susan, if you can't say something nice... MJB

FINALLY! Someone willing to tell it like it is, not buy into the hype, and say out loud that the Emperor is naked.

I've been saying this about Susan Boyle since day one. While her "instrument" is that of a clear voice with strong vibrato and adequate pitch, she has no interpretative abilities. Every song sounds the same. And to watch her perform is painful. Her hand/arm gestures are not organic. They are staged and calculated, and often done on the wrong beat. Her sense of rhythm and phrasing is equally amateur.

I have heard hundreds of voices of the last 20 years which are far superior to hers. So why has she been handed superstar status? Because people tend to idolize others to escape responsibility for their own lives.

I am a voice/piano teacher. I am also a singer... quite a good one, I might add. I am 50 and moderately attractive, therefore having no "gimmick."

THANK YOU for your article. It gives me hope that eventually people will come out of their delusions about Susan Boyle.

Best to you,
Rachel

Maybe we should hear you sing a little something. Then we can tell everyone who has ears how bad you are. While I am not really a fan of Susan Boyle, I don't enjoy making someone feel bad for reaching an incredible accomplishment. You tear her down and speak of how people have made fun of her in the past. Are you an atractive Brad Pitt look-alike or perhaps a successful business man like Bill Gates. No? Then maybe you shouldn't be so quick to toss a stone and tear someone down. And maybe you should hope that someone is a little kinder to you, than you are to them.

Jim,

Though the facts are interesting in your article about Susan Boyle I question your intent on the rest of the article. It seemed a bit revengeful or cynical…not critiquing like I would have expected from a music critic.

Kendra

Why don't you stand back from yourself and read what you wrote.

Maybe it's time for you to reevaluate. You sound so burned out.

For one, I don't know how many times I have watched the video when Susan first appeared to thrill that audience and even Simon.
Her performance is about hope and belief in yourself not just talent; although she has plenty of that.

She had spent her entire life taking care of others and now it is her turn. Don't begrudge it to her.

If there ever was a time in this country to show someone given a second chance in life, it is now with our unemployment and men shamed by having to stand in food lines for their families. I will never get over the picture of that man in Southern Ohio all slumped over at his shoulders, standing in line for a little food. Appalachia is on it's knees and so is Michigan, not to mention other states.

Susan is just what we need to see and hear.

Mr. DeRogatis, writing about Susan Boyle in your column will be your 15 minutes of fame.....she will be around alot longer than you could ever hope for. Your a classic critic....out of touch what the people love and enjoy!....who cares what you think!

Hi Jim:

Would all these naysayers be the ones laughing at, Celine Dion? Or do all these naysayers want a singer with a smoking hot body like, Jessica Simpson, who can’t seem to remember the words to her own songs? Just curious.

Sincerely,

Morgan Edward Hagel

Your suggestion in a comment that Susan Boyle's entire cd is available on-line makes me wonder what country you are in. It is available in Austraila on i-Tunes but anything on YouTube is illegal and infringing on copyright laws. Are you proposing that people just go download it from YouTube. That seems like a very sad thing for a public writer to put in people's heads. Even tho lots of people are willing to steal work from the artists and producers hard work, you don't have to encourage it.


Love Susan!
Don't pay attention to the negatives.
Received cd today.
Love most of it, except for the back-up choir.
I was hoping for "pure" Susan!

Like most critics, you don't have a clue about what is or is not good. Susan Boyle rocks. Her talent is God given and off the charts great. Dude, you made yourself look foolish by criticizing her ability. You think any local soprano in a city stage troupe can sing with Boyle? I bet you're a frustrated musician. Also as a critic, you're an idiot.
Tim Brummett
Spokane WA

Hi there, what on earth have you started? (regarding Susan Boyle).

You have to understand the DEPTH of feeling towards Susan from people ALL
OVER THE WORLD!

Susan really is a Phenomenon, & critics & reporters need to be careful of
what they say because of that depth of feeling (unprecedented in today's
"Modern Times") towards her.

Of course if you only wanted to "liven up the page" then well done your
doing a great job!!

All the best to you!

Mike


Mike Danata

www.mikedanatasmagicstudio.co.uk

You sure have an attitude. I happen to think Susan Boyle is a breath of
fresh air in this reality based television life we are living in.

I think she did a good job of singing. It's not perfect, but I look and
listen to a lot of the pop singers who can't sing. Why don't you comment on
them with the reality pen you apply to Susan.

One of the other things you may want to consider is to write so your
audience can read and understand what you are telling them. It's no wonder
papers are going under.

I was always taught that you write to an 8th grade education. That was a
real challenge. You should try it sometime and still keep the people
wanting to read your column.

Why would you expect an amateur, even though she possesses an "impressive instrument", to make a definitive version of anything on the first time around? What she does do is take twelve songs and bathe them in the beauty of that instrument. And that is more than enough for me. Listen again to "You'll See." You'll see. Except you won't really see; you'll hear. Because, as so many have cruelly pointed out, there's nothing to see. Which is the whole point--a gorgeous disembodied voice flowing from the stereo. I can't wait for the next set of lucky songs.

Tried to get on the blog, but couldn't. After reading your review, just thought I would respectfully disagree with at least parts of it. I know there are many singers out there who are as good or better. I also agree with you that she has been made fun of and hurt. However, I disagree that she was exploited. Instead, I believe they have given her a gift of self worth. She looks lovely now. And after hearing the youtube samples of the album, I believe she is fantastic. I think her voice has a sadness to it--and maybe that is why we are all drawn to her. In a world where Taylor Swift will soon become a billionaire, I say Susan Boyle deserves every dollar this album makes. Maybe we all just want to believe that sometimes good things happen to the underdog.

I'm no Susan Boyle fan, but man-o-man, the hundreds of comments that I read about your "review" sure speaks volumes what most people think about you. Sure hope you're paying attention... and I will add this to their chorus.

It appears that you are not only 'tone deaf', but undoubtedly 'tone stupid' as well.

My eye caught the attention of one writer's succinct comment which said..."your picture tells it all..."
Not knowing exactly what he was referring to, I commenced a Goggle search.

Let it suffice that my wide screen monitor barely could contain your bloated, un-physical image. Equally apparent (only in reverse and not visible at all) was the diminutive size of your intellect.

All I can say is if you are the best your generation (and tha Sun Times...hah) can offer up, then 2012 can't come fast enough. You can barely make it off the couch.... go get yourself another Twinkee and find yourself a real job.


RICK

Can someone explain how a cash-in album for Christmas full of weak cover versions deserves more than 1.5 stars out of four? There have been hundreds of better albums released in 2009; okay, most of them wont have bland pitch-perfect singing like this but they contain original music you haven't heard before, music from the heart.


"I happen to think Susan Boyle is a breath of
fresh air in this reality based television life we are living in."

She comes from a show that isn't far off. Does Simon Cowell influence you all so easily?

She's famous because people, for some reason, are shocked that a woman who looks like she does can actually sing. People have forgotten that looks + singing ability have NOTHING in common. It's patronizing to women.

You know, Jim has every right to not like this album as much as most of you claim you'll love it. Personally, I will not partake in anything that was created or brought upon the world by any kind of cable television program. If I want talent, I'll continue to dig for it in the obscure places where talent lies.

Being a New Hampshire native, I watched 'America's Got Talent' in hopes that Recycled Percussion would win and was totally saddened when a lowly chicken farmer won the competition. Be real, would you pay top dollar in Vegas to see that guy pretend to play awful Aerosmith songs, or watch a bunch of guys put on a show?

Much like the farmer, Ms. Boyle had a compelling story that seemed to overshadow the fact that she also had a gift for singing. There are such things as flukes in this world, remember Milli Vanilli?

Her '15 minutes' will end at some point, but what will live on is just another massive one hit wonder. Most of us that have taste will be wondering what it was all about.

Maybe some of you should realize that not all critics have to like the biggest selling albums. I'm happy Jim doesn't like this album, I wouldn't have given it so many stars either.

I have a feeling some of you read his review of the Pixies show and shrugged it off as if it were a Disney produced show on ice rather than a concert by one the most pivotal bands of the last 3 decades.

Keep up the good reporting Jim, some of us like what you have to say.

Susan Boyle has a wonderful voice, and it is pure baloney to say that she does not "interpret" the songs she is singing. Her evocative rendition of "Wild Horses," for one, is phenomenal. The critic complains of rock-throwing bullies and seems to be one himself.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on November 20, 2009 8:17 AM.

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