Enya – Watermark

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The sound is airy, open, spacious, and super transparent. This may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like these. The vocals are breathy and full-bodied with staggering immediacy, and the bottom end is weighty and powerful. The instruments all have lovely texture, and it’s easy to pick out and follow them over the course of a song. 

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

And most of the time those very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy that does all that, it’s an entirely different listening experience.

By the way, do you have any idea how difficult it is to find quiet vinyl for this album? It’s easier to find quiet Stones albums, I kid you not. We never see this one in the bins for under $25 these days, and even when they look Minty they often are too noisy to even bother with. We don’t do too many shootouts for Geffen albums from the ’80s, so I’m not sure if their vinyl is the problem but it seems likely.

5 Stars

AMG gives this album 5 stars and it’s easy to see why. Even if it’s not your thing — and truthfully it ain’t really ours, you can check our Top 100 to know where our tastes lie — there’s no denying that Enya is an artist at the very top of her field, and it is easy to see why Watermark is widely considered her masterpiece. If you are going to own one New Age album, you can’t do much better than this.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Watermark 
Cursum Perficio 
On Your Shore 
Storms in Africa 
Exile 
Miss Clare Remembers

Side Two

Orinoco Flow 
Evening Falls… 
River 
The Longships 
Na Laetha Gael M’Óige 
Storms in Africa, Pt. 2

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

Enya’s second album Watermark established her as the unexpected queen of gentle, Celtic-tinged new age music…. Indeed, the subtlety that characterizes her work at her best dominates Watermark, with the lovely title track, her multi-tracked voice gently swooping among the lead piano, and strings like a softly haunting ghost, as fine an example as any.