I managed to pick up Sarah McLachlan's latest album, Closer, and grabbed Sarah Brightman's Symphony as well, almost entirely based on the fact that it had a stunning cover.
Unfortunately they only had the jewel case and not the digipak, but it still had most of the artwork inside, which I really liked. Closer I managed to get the digipak, but someone decided it was a great idea to put stickers on the cardboard itself. After some searching, I found out I could remove the sticker using a hairdryer, some tape cleaner (isopropyl alcohol), a razorblade, and patience. I messed up a bit with the razor blade, but managed to remove the sticker without otherwise damaging the cover.
Symphony starts off with Gothica, which builds up into Fleurs du mal (trans. "Flowers of Evil"), which was a very pleasant surprise. It reminds me a bit of Nightwish, and while I'm not entirely convinced that the instrumentals suit her voice, it's definitely one of the better tracks on the album.
Most of the other tracks weren't much to my liking, aside from Canto Della Terra (duet with Andrea Bocelli), which had a very epic, grand and dramatic feel to it. While it won't be getting me to listen to "proper" opera very soon, it's a welcome change to the usual music I listen to.
The album ends with Running, which is a bit cheesy, but is still an easy to listen to song. There is a hidden track after Running, which is the Reprise Mix, sans vocals, of Fleurs de mal, which is probably my favourite track on the album. I like Sarah Brightman's voice, but it just felt very out of place on the vocal version.
On to Closer, which starts off with Vox, her debut single from 1988. It's a very catchy tune, and definitely one of my favourites. Into the Fire is also quite upbeat and catchy as well.
Unfortunately, most of the other songs on the album pale in comparison to their live versions on Mirrorball. The studio versions on Closer just sound colder, more lifeless, and more sterile than the live versions.
As for the two new songs, they didn't leave too great an impression on me. They're not BAD, it's just that everything else on the album is so much better than them. However, I found the album worth it, both for the beautiful cover, and having Vox and Into the Fire.