I decided to write a series of posts about Enya releases for casual fans and beginner collectors. There is a great number of singles, special editions and promotional items from all over the world and it might be difficult to decide what to buy at first. I will talk mainly about releases that are not impossible to obtain and can be either still found in online stores or at least show up on eBay quite often.
The first article is going to talk about ‘A Box of Dreams’ and ‘Only Time’ collections, and ‘Amarantine Deluxe Collector’s Edition’ and ‘The Very Best of Enya Collector’s Edition’ deluxe box-sets. These items can be a wonderful start for a new Enya fan (that’s how I started!) or an easy upgrade for someone who owns the studio albums and wants to move on. The artwork is usually beautiful and these editions contain exclusive material that you won’t get on iTunes or regular albums.
A Box of Dreams
Released in 1997, ‘A Box of Dreams’ was a deluxe equivalent of Enya’s best of album ‘Paint the Sky with Stars.’ The collection includes three thematically arranged cds: ‘Oceans’ contains the upbeat hits, ‘Clouds’ the piano instrumentals, and ‘Stars’ slow ballads and more atmospheric pieces. This organization can be very practical if you count on listening to the cds as you can easily choose the mood you are after.
PACKAGING: The set is packaged in a silver-embossed blue cardboard box. The picture cds come in individual jewel cases and each has its own unique design. The softcover cd-sized booklet is separate.
ARTWORK: The calligraphy and design were done by Brody Neuenschwander and the whole collection looks very, very nice. This might be easily Enya’s best looking commercial release.
TEXT: Roma wrote liner notes that are unique to this collection. They do not talk about individual songs but are rather short poetic musings. There are no lyrics.
MUSIC: 46 tracks (complete tracklist)
B-SIDES: Oriel Window, Willows on the Water, Morning Glory, Eclipse
Germany (reviewed here): WEA 3984-21333-2
Taiwan (cds without booklet and box): WEA 4718253-00025/6/7
PRICE: $20+ for the Taiwanese edition (sealed), $30+ for the German edition (used)
+ Beautiful artwork, thematically arranged cds
– Limited liner notes, no lyrics, out of print
A must-buy for collectors and fans who love calligraphy and appreciate the beautiful booklet. Otherwise not recommended due to short liner notes and missing lyrics.
Only Time: The Collection
The four-cd collection was released in 2002 after Enya became widely popular thanks to her songs ‘Only Time’ and ‘May It Be.’ The cds are arranged in chronological order, so the first disc would include a mix of songs from ‘The Celts’ and ‘Watermark’, and the last one primarily songs from ‘A Day without Rain.’ The last cd also contains the video for ‘Oíche Chiúin (Silent Night)’ and a screensaver.
PACKAGING: A purple velvet book hosts four cds in plastic holders on the inside of the cover. The glossy booklet is attached in the middle.
ARTWORK: The design by Stylorogue is very classy and modern. The booklet contains a great number of full-page photos taken exclusively for this collection.
TEXT: There are Roma Ryan’s lyrics and liner notes to each song. They can be a wonderful guide to gain a deeper insight into Enya’s music and understand the song meanings.
MUSIC AND VIDEOS: 50 tracks, 1 video (complete tracklist)
B-SIDES: Willows on the Water, Eclipse, Isobella, May It Be (single version), Oíche Chiúin (Silent Night), Song of the Sandman (Lullaby)
PRICE: $36+ (new)
Germany: WEA 0927-49211-2
USA: Reprise 2-49211
+ Great photos, complete liner notes and lyrics, still easy to buy
– Be careful when handling, the box attracts dust
A wonderful introduction to Enya, I got this collection before any of the studio albums and loved it.
Amarantine Deluxe Collector’s Edition
One year after the ‘Amarantine’ release in 2005, the US issued a deluxe edition containing the original cd, Roma Ryan’s book ‘Water Shows the Hidden Heart’ and three photocards.
PACKAGING: Everything is packaged in a red velvet box with a small Amarantine flower embossed on top. The black hardcover book has a pocket on the inside back cover that holds the cd.
ARTWORK: The photocards contain previously unpublished photos of Enya from the album photoshoot. The book includes small photos of the members of the Trio, illustrations by Roma Ryan, and abstract photographs by Persia Ryan, Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan.
TEXT: Even though the 148-page book contains the album lyrics, it is aimed primarily at the fans of Roma and her poetry. It explains the imaginary world of the Loxians and offers a lovely selection of Roma’s poems. While the poems can be easily enjoyed by everyone, your English needs to be really good to understand the abstract narrative of the man who is looking for the one he loves.
MUSIC: 12 tracks (complete tracklist)
USA: Reprise 25646 4140 2
PRICE: $28+ (new)
+ Roma’s poems, backstory to the Loxians, still easily available
– No new songs, the foreword by Enya from the first edition of the book was left out
A great item if you are a fan of Roma’s poetry and/or the Loxians. Not really interesting for a casual listener though.
The Very Best Of Enya Collector’s Edition
The official UK store presents this retrospective 2009 box set as the cornerstone of any Enya fan’s collection. It includes ‘The Very Best Of Enya’ cd and dvd discs, 12″ ‘Orinoco Flow’ picture vinyl and 12×12″ hardback book. (12″ equals 30cm)
PACKAGING: Everything is packaged in a black cardboard box with the album cover image on top. The vinyl is stocked in a transparent plastic sleeve. Now, the packaging of the book depends on the issue you get.
The first issue was a hardcover book with the cd and dvd attached on the inside of the front cover and the pages held by staples. As the staples were not strong enough and the pages tore, the official store replaced all the copies. In the new edition, the booklet is separate and the pages are now glued together. The cd and dvd discs are in plastic holders instead of cardboard ones as before.
ARTWORK: The booklet is printed on 12″ glossy pages, so the included pictures really look great. There are many previously unavailable photos of Enya and also an image of Roma’s handwritten lyrics and notes.
TEXT: The booklet offers a very interesting read. It contains exclusive articles by Enya, Roma and Nicky looking back on their career. There is also a detailed history of the Enya trio by Niall Stokes.
MUSIC AND VIDEOS: 22 tracks on cd, 3 tracks on vinyl, 13 videos + 3 documentaries on dvd (complete tracklist)
UK: 1st and 2nd issue
PRICE: $35+ (1st issue), $120 (2nd issue)
+ wonderful pictures in big format, exclusive articles by the Trio
– high price, quality issues with the first printing
This item is really beautiful but as there is no exclusive music, you are basically paying a lot of money for the vinyl and the book. The additional problem is a high possibility that the book is damaged if you buy anywhere else than from an official Warner store that carries the second printing. I got my copy cheaply and repaired the pages with tape but you should be prepared for this.
So… which one will you choose?