Tuesday, March 30, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 119

Concert Review: Sheryl Crow

Album Review: Go Soundtrack

Album Review: Virgos Merlot


About the Cougar

Artists living on a prayer
Alanis Morissette, Perry Farrell, John Williams, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt lend their voices on spiritual compilation

The Prayer Cycle

Various Artists

Available from: Sony Classical

Our rating: **** (out of 5)

Our riew: The album is passionate, presenting the calmness of what the artists' images try to become.

By Rattaya Nimibutr
Daily Cougar Staff

Madonna isn't the only artist who gets her spiritual boost through some culturistic reading that leads her to wear what she wears and stamp her image as "that inner self-appreciation lady with the mendhi art on her hands."

Alanis Morissette has also been on the string line of artists who have become overly involved with the self-whatever through other cultures, presenting images of artists to be pure and inspirational.

Rock diva Alanis Morissette lends her melodic soprano voice to The Prayer Circle, an album featuring various artists performing spiritual pieces.

Katrina Dickson/Maverick Records

So Madonna does her "Nothing Really Matters" video with that Japanese getup, following her controversial stint at the 1999 Grammy Awards, while Morissette shifts over to something that is less contestable and actually worth the exposure.

The Prayer Cycle, a culturistic collection of different artists with the mastery of Johnathan Elias as the head composer, displays the nine-track offer of soothing and imaginative scores.

The symphonic masterpiece starts with "Mercy," a chanting and remedic track with the likes of Morissette singing in Hungarian, Salif Keita in Mali, and the English Chamber Chorus in Swahili.

That's mainly how the rest of the album goes, riding on that haunting collaboration of different artists and with such song titles as "Hope," "Strength" and "Grace."

This album may seem just a little too much on the spiritual side, with everyone exhibiting enchanting melodies of different languages and various instrumental additions, not to mention naming their tracks with inspirational words. But despite the overall impression, this album is soothing and sets you into a relaxed state of mind.

Other artists also lend their hands to make this album even more melodramatic and somewhat eccentric. The list includes James Taylor, Perry Farrell, Linda Ronstadt, Liz Constantine, Ofra Haza, Richard Bona, Yungchen Lhamo, The American Boychoir, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mah Damba and John Williams.

Then there's The English Chamber Choir, whose amusing performance throughout the album is superb, relying on Latin in "Compassion," Italian in "Grace," French in "Innocence" with Morissette, and German in "Faith" and "Benediction."

The various artists are passionate about this album and each track is pleasant throughout, presenting the calmness of what the image tries to become. It's a rather ethereal, essential form of music.

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