A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even though they might be caught up in the Susan Boyle-mania that's sweeping the globe, it doesn't mean their kids will be entertained or even mildly interested in this release. This album, full of jazzy standards and mature ballads, doesn't have anything that little ears shouldn't hear. But the slow, operatic vocals and classical melodies might hit a sour note with the kiddies, so be prepared for grumbles.
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What's the story?
I DREAMED A DREAM is Scottish singer/YouTube sensation/Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle's debut album. And although this overnight sensation may have dreamed a dream of one day singing for a living, it's doubtful she could have ever conceived of a reception like this. Her dream is breaking records across the globe, and the stats are startling: number one debut on the U.S. Billboard 200, the highest debut ever for a new solo female artist in the time of Soundscan, the biggest opening sales week in 2009, Amazon's best-selling album in pre-sales, and the fastest-selling global female debut album to date. The history-making album is, of course, loaded with Boyle's most famous song renditions, like the repeatedly viewed online title track, "Wild Horses," and "Cry Me a River." It also includes some faith-based tracks such as "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art."Â
Is it any good?
Since the video clips released long before this album was produced, there's never been any doubt that Susan Boyle is a woman with some vocal chords. But with this studio debut, Boyle has to answer the question of whether her Cinderella story and awe-inspiring vocals can transfer to recorded tracks. The answer depends on the listener. Sure Boyle sings with near perfect pitch on tracks like "Silent Night" and Madonna's "You'll See," but she also dulls down upbeat tracks like "Daydream Believer." It's refreshing to see the Internet sensation take a risk on lesser known songs like Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain," but Boyle will have to add some energy to subsequent albums if she wants to appeal to audiences used to spirited teen pop stars. Given her track record for surprising audiences, it's definitely within her grasp.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media hype surrounding Susan Boyle. Do you think this album would be as popular if Boyle was not a contestant on Britain's Got Talent? What does this success say about the cross-promotion between TV and the music industry? Are shows like
What do you think about Susan Boyle's image? Would she be as popular today if she looked like the typical pop star, or does her average image help her relate to people? What lesson do you think you can learn from Boyle's story and talent? Does it give you confidence to know that someone can be recognized for their skills rather than just their looks?
Families can talk about women in the media. Susan Boyle doesn't fit the typical pop star standard. Why do you think women are so pressured to be ultra-slim and ultra-sexy if they want to be in the entertainment industry? There have been many male singers who are overweight or not what society would consider to be extremely attractive. Is there a double standard, and are men less likely to be judged on their looks?