Paradiso
by Hayley Westenra and Ennio Morricone, pop/classical (2011)
Decca, $10.78, ASIN B004VPHPQ2


Hayley Westenra and Ennio Morricone, two of the biggest names in the pop-classical pap genre, collaborate in Paradiso, a spectacular replacement for that CD that has burned out after being played too many times in elevators, hotel functions, and other instances that require pleasant and inoffensive background music for grown-ups to bore themselves to. Yes, Mr Morricone rallies the troops by bringing in his personal orchestra, a 120-strong barrage of saccharine muzak makers, and really, it's a marvelous album to get diabetes to.

As usual, Ms Westenra produces sickeningly sweet and absolutely soulless warbling sounds over the orchestral muzak. Gabriel's Oboe (Whispers In A Dream), I Knew I Loved You (Deborah's Theme), and Per Natale (L'Esprit De Noël) are just some of the songs that get processed through the muzak machine here. I'm sure they are lovely songs under ordinary circumstances, but here, Ms Westenra's emotionless interpretation of each song gets tedious after a while. I may as well just play a music box to get the same effect.

I actually enjoy Mr Morricone's musical works, mind you, so it's heartbreaking to see his efforts wasted on an emotion-free canary like Ms Westenra, who is all technique but no soul. At any rate, Paradiso is the epitome of hotel lounge music - forgettable, bland, and passes easily into one ear and out the other. It will stay relevant as long as there are hotels and elevators in this world, but I personally prefer music that can touch my heart even a little.

Rating: 53


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