Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Defense of Enya


It takes a brave man to defend the culturally unpopular.

I am a brave man.

I like Enya.

You know them. They were in a VERY popular Crystal Light ad in the 1990's with their song Orinoco Flow (here's the song). Enya is ambient music - it uses soundscapes and melodic, airy vocals to create atmosphere. Story or narrative are secondary, and often besides the point. It's relaxing music.

It also happens to be in the maligned category known as "New Age." It's associated with old women, wimpy men and the culturally castrated. Witness some snippets from blogs on the subject:
  • "Enya Sucks So Much More When It's 4:00am at Wal-Mart"
  • "Jazz music called.. they want their scat singing back."
  • "Listening to Enya is like being old."
  • And the fledgling "I hate Enya" Facebook group
The lead singer (also known as Enya) also got lots of flak when she decided that singing in the English language was too "obtrusive" to the mood she was trying to create, so she made up her own language to sing in.

Whatevs. Music is always personal to a degree, and personally I like Enya. Why? Because many years ago when I was still in journalism, and the 70+ hour weeks were crushing me emotionally, Enya was pretty much the only thing that could calm me down after a terrible workday. I still lived at home at the time, and my mom suggested I listened to an Enya CD to relax. I turned out the lights, poured myself a glass of ginger ale, put on "The Memory of Trees" and passed the hell out.

P.S. Enya also wrote a song for the Lords of the Rings movie. And she's sang in Elvish, too. That's nerd cred.

2 comments:

Zeyev said...

Nerd comment: She's "sung" in Elvish.

On to the subject at hand: Enya is OK for background music that does not wish to engage you. And that's what you seemed to like about it. Me? I prefer ballads that tell a story in easy-to-understand terms. Or country music, again for its often comprehensible lyrics. In other words, I think I get why YOU like it and I hope you would be more sympathetic to the people who are so turned off by it.

Signing off . . .

Jonathan Rubin said...

Jews defending country? Certainly this is the strangest of all possible worlds.... Make me a mix CD, Zeyev, so that I may check it out.