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Pure Talent

Pure - Westenra, Hayley > Reviews > Pure Talent

A review by Zoe_South on Pure - Westenra, Hayley
October 11th, 2003


Author's product rating:   

Pros: Excellent debut album
Cons: Spot the duff track...

Recommend to potential buyers: yes 

Full review

I have to admit to a vested interest here. Iíve performed as a backing singer for Hayley on a couple of occasions, and sheís a very sweet, unspoiled girl, with a great attitude for making a success of herself in this business. If any of the ďchild starĒ so called classical musicians have a shot at enduring success, itís her.

I also have to confess that the Special Edition of ďPureĒ that I have was a gift from Universal Classics, but you can buy ďPureĒ from Amazon at £13.99, which is probably your best bet.

DO I LIKE THE ALBUM?

Yes. I have to confess that I didnít think I would, and that I would be passing it on as a present at Christmas, but Iíve played it a few times now, and Hayleyís sweet, girlish soprano is initially very appealing. Whether it will pall on repeated hearing I couldnít say, but at present, itís still close to the CD player in this house.

COVER/BOOKLET/PRICE
As a new release, itís obviously at Full-Price at present. £13.99 (Amazon) is probably the best price you will get for ďPureĒ for a while. As it also broke all Classical Chart records for first week sales, this is not going to be in the bargain bin any time soon.

The cover and back shots are of Hayley, and there are many more ďartyĒ shots of her in the booklet, mostly taken at the seaside, and sheís clearly freezing! Iím not sure quite how her company are trying to market her, as thereís more than a hint of teen popstar here rather than young crossover artist. For me, thatís just not right.

The big bonus for the booklet is that you get lyrics (and translations, where appropriate!) for all tracks, one thing the pop side of the business has always had the classical market well beaten for.

TRACK LISTING
Thirteen tracks, and I will leave you guessing where I hit the ďskipĒ key!
Pokarekare ana; Never Say Goodbye; Who Painted the Moon Black?; River of Dreams; Benedictus; Hine e Hine; Dark Waltz; Amazing Grace; In Trutina; Beat of Your Heart; Heaven; Wuthering Heights; Hine e Hine (Maori Mix)

Hayley is at her best in the Maori tracks and in the Karl Jenkins number (Benedictus), although there really is only one duffer here (again, Iíll keep you guessing, but it isnít rocket science to spot the deliberate mistake on this album!).

This is a pretty generous debut selection, and I donít want to draw the obvious comparison with Charlotte Church (but Iím going to), works far more successfully in my opinion.

WOULD I BUY IT AS A GIFT?

Definite yes. Ideal for people whose classical tastes run to the Karl Jenkins/Lesley Garrett/Bryn Terfel singing show songs end of the market (and that isnít meant to be patronising, honest!). I suspect Hayley may also become an aspirational figure for teenage girls, and she may have a surprise pop hit on her hands here too.

WOULD I LIKE TO RECEIVE IT AS A GIFT?

I might be dubious (as I was), but I make a point of playing every CD Iím ever given, and Iíve been pleasantly surprised so many times I canít count.

IS IT A GOOD DEBUT ALBUM?
Undoubtedly, yes. I have no idea how Hayleyís immediate career in this country will pan out, but this is a very promising first album. With a generous track listing (largely) well-performed, it bodes well.

SUMMING UP
If you like artists like those I mentioned in the gift section, performing light classical material, you should give this album a try. I like it, and I didnít think I would.

This is my first Ciao op in some time, so Iím a bit out of practise! Any comments gratefully received.

More details

Originality Definitely a cut above the rest  
Lyrics Standard  
Quality and consistency of tracks A couple of weak links  
Shelf Life Enduring  
How does it compare to the artist's other releases Not applicable  
How does it rate alongside the competition Good  
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Good  

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