A wonderful gift, this handsomely packaged four-CD box set (purple velvet cover, gold-foil lettering) also serves as an inviting midcareer retrospective of an uncommon vocalist-sonic architect. Only Time: The Collection
is a mix-and-match assortment of tracks spanning Enya's first five U.S. releases (including her 1987 debut, The Celts
) and embellished with a half-dozen B-sides not found on her previous U.S.-released albums. Chief among them are "May It Be" (from the Lord of the Rings
soundtrack); "Isobella," a hushed, slowly evolving beauty formerly available only in Japan; and "Oiche Chiun (Silent Night)." The set's fourth disc is an enhanced CD that includes 1996 video footage of Enya performing "Oiche Chiun" during a BBC special. Also included is a 44-page, tall-format booklet filled with regal artist photos, song lyrics, and commentary on each track written by lyricist Roma Ryan. Some notations are throwaway items. Others are insightful, such as the unfinished lyrics (about lost love) for the instrumental title track to A Day Without Rain
. The order is a jumble, usually mixing tracks from two recordings onto one disc. The stylistic difference between her dated 1987 debut and the sophistication of 1988's Watermark
makes for some occasionally jarring listening on disc one. On the other hand, the opening sequence on disc three ("After Ventus," "No Holly for Miss Quinn," "The Memory of Trees") is mesmerizing. Overall, nicely done. --Terry Wood
The first career-spanning collection of Eithne Ni Bhraonain aka Enya's ethereal work, featuring 49 tracks on 4 CDs including a number of tracks never before available in this country! Orinoco Flow; Only Time; Caribbean Blue; The Celts; The Book of Days; The Memory of Trees all her signature songs are here, together with a 48-page booklet featuring notes by collaborator/lyricist Roma Ryan. Beautiful package!