The Other Side Of Time
Sony Classical, 2003
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/12/2003
You longtime readers of the DV know that Christopher Thelen, Our Founder, and I play several little games in our reviews. His favorite, for example, is to make sure that he gets in an occasional comment about my fanaticism for October Project (for an illustration, check out his review of OP lead singer Mary Fahl's first solo EP, Lenses Of Contact ). In return, I make sure to keep comparing making occasional references to October Project and the sheer ignorance that killed their recording career -- think of it as my own personal version of remembering the Alamo.
However, there will be no October Project reference in this review, save one…
This is NOT an October Project CD.
After a long absence, Mary Fahl has returned with her first full-length solo CD, The Other Side Of Time -- and it's a departure from the sound of October Project entirely. From operatic (Donizetti's "una furtiva lagrima") to almost bittersweet ("The Other Side Of Time"), Fahl's repertoire is unique and idiosyncratic, somewhat of a departure from her past work.
So is it good? The answer is yes, but…first off, the recording is peerless. Engineering and production are perfect, focusing on Fahl's steam-and-honey alto voice -- which is exactly as it should be, given the magnificence of that instrument. Its power and passion is uncompromised.
What in the final analysis turns The Other Side Of Time from a great to a good CD is the song selection. Some tracks work -- "Paolo" and "Raging Child", which originally appeared on Fahl's Lenses Of Contact EP; "Into The Great Unknown"; "Want To", "Redemption"; and "The Station". Some don't; specifically, I'm not at all fond of the pseudo-Celtic, made-for-a-movie-soundtrack-Celine-Dion-lite "Going Home" and "The Dawning Of The Day". Interestingly enough, both are from movie soundtracks; I won't be going out of my way to purchase them. In many ways, Fahl's song selection is similar to Sarah Brightman's solo work; and just like Brightman, the CD can rise or fall based on the appropriateness of track selection.
In summary, Mary Fahl's voice is still a brilliant thing, breathtaking and rich, and The Other Side Of Time is still a decent piece of work. What I suspect is happening is that some pinheaded A&R man at Sony has decided Fahl needs to appear on every mellow movie soundtrack that Enya and Celine aren't already signed to do. My suggestion is to dump him or her into a bucket of piranha forthwith, and let Mary Fahl be Mary Fahl.