The Memory of Trees
The Memory of Trees is the fourth studio album by the Irish singer, songwriter, and musician Enya, released on 20 November 1995 by WEA. After travelling worldwide to promote her previous album Shepherd Moons (1991), and contributing to film soundtracks, Enya took a short break before she started writing and recording a new album in 1993 with her longtime recording partners, arranger and producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. The album is Enya's first to be recorded entirely in Ireland, and covers themes that include Irish and Druid mythology, the idea of one's home, journeys, religion, dreams and love. Enya continues to display her sound of multi-tracked vocals with keyboards and elements of Celtic and new age music, though Enya does not consider her music to be in the latter genre. She sings in English, Gaelic, Latin and Spanish.
|The Memory of Trees|
|Studio album by|
|Released||20 November 1995|
(Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland)
|Singles from The Memory of Trees|
The Memory of Trees received mostly positive reviews from music critics. It became a worldwide commercial success, reaching number five on the United Kingdom and number nine on the Billboard 200 in the United States. In 2000, it was certified multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling three million copies. Two tracks were released as singles; "Anywhere Is" in November 1995, which reached number seven in the United Kingdom, followed by "On My Way Home" in November 1996, which peaked at number twenty-six. Enya supported the album with a promotional tour which included several interviews and televised performances. The Memory of Trees won Enya her second Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 1997. It was remastered for a Japanese release with bonus tracks in 2009, and became available on vinyl in 2016.
Recording and productionEdit
After travelling worldwide since late 1991 to promote her previous album Shepherd Moons (1991), and working for the soundtrack to the romantic adventure drama film Far and Away (1992), the 31-year-old Enya took a break from music which lasted for approximately one year. She spent most of her time with her family, trying "to unwind", and visiting different places around the world which provides some inspiration to her song writing. She returned to work in 1993 when she felt it was the right time to start writing and recording a new studio album with her longtime recording partners, arranger and producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. Enya received further soundtrack offers during the recording of The Memory of Trees, but turned them down as she wished to concentrate solely on the album.
During Enya's break from music, the Ryans moved home from Artane, a northern suburb of Dublin, to Killiney, County Dublin, which involved the relocation of Aigle Studio, their home recording facility where Enya had recorded her previous three albums, Enya (1987), Watermark (1988), and Shepherd Moons. Prior to the move, Enya and Nicky would start to record in Artane but were required to finish albums in London as Aigle lacked the right equipment to do so, which Enya found difficult as working in the city was met with frequent distractions and high studio rental costs, compared to the "very intimate and personal" setting at home. Aigle was rebuilt as a separate building on the grounds and upgraded with new equipment designed and built according to their specifications, thus making The Memory of Trees Enya's first to be recorded entirely in Ireland. She described the two-storey studio: "It's very peaceful and quiet. Upstairs we have this long room with two big arc windows at either end with a piano looking out over the Wicklow Mountains".
Enya's pace and hours of working in the studio increased during the last eight months of recording, waking up at seven or eight in the morning and working until late in order to "give as much as I could" on the album. Enya later said she "gave 100 per cent" on it. When recording finished the album was mastered by Arun Chakraverty, who had also worked on the 1992 reissue of Enya. Nicky was pleased to have the album complete due to the length of time it took to record. He reasoned this down to the three being "the worst enemies in deciding when a piece is finished ... listener fatigue sets in and we're unable to judge whether the work's ready."
The album's sleeve design was arranged to a layout by Sooky Choi who, like Chakraverty, had worked on the reissue of Enya. Its front is an adaptation of The Young King of the Black Isles, a painting by American artist Maxfield Parrish from 1906, itself based on the story of the same name from the collection of folktales, One Thousand and One Nights. Enya is depicted as the crying young king sitting on his throne in a costume designed by English fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel. Live action footage of Enya in the costume and pose is used in the music video to "Anywhere Is".
Music and lyricsEdit
Enya is the sole composer of the music on The Memory of Trees and co-arranged them with Nicky. It is her first album not to feature guest musicians. In addition to the vocals, piano and an array of keyboards and synthesisers which defined her sound, Enya plays the violin, cello, and percussion instruments. Her method of song writing has deviated little since the start of her career, which starts by entering the studio and forgetting about past successes. Ideas are then be put on tape as either a vocal or a piano melody. "Usually what happens is the first note, the second note, and it takes me on a journey and I just go along with it." When a collection of ideas have been recorded Enya presents them to Nicky, starting discussions on how to develop them further into songs. Roma will then work on a lyric if they feel the song would suit one.
As with her previous two albums, The Memory of Trees opens with a same-titled instrumental with wordless vocals. The track originated from Roma after she read about Irish mythology and the Celtic druids, who placed a great importance on trees and believed they were sacred and possessed wisdom. Enya maintained it does not mean an ecological statement, but more about what trees many think about humans. Roma suggested its title and Enya agreed, thinking the title was particularly strong and has a sense of ambiguity which allows the listener to conjure up their own images and ideas when they see and hear it. When the title was agreed upon, Enya proceeded to write the song around two weeks later which was an unusual way of working as the melody had always come first, followed by its title and lyrics.
"Anywhere Is" developed from a staccato line that Enya described had a "march feel". Initially it was a track that she and Nicky wanted to reject for the album, but it was developed further after Rob Dickins, then chairman of Warner Music UK who had signed Enya, was invited to Ireland in August 1995 to listen to the album, roughly one year-and-a-half into the recording process. Enya and the Ryans thought the songs needed further work but Dickens expressed his satisfaction, "Most tracks sounded absolutely superb. They were ready." For "Anywhere Is", for which only its backing tracks had been put down, Dickins sensed the song had the makings of a hit single and encouraged them to complete it; it was the final track to be worked on. Enya's melody for the song inspired Roma to write lyrics about, as Billboard magazine put it, "the search for the temporal heaven all cultures call 'home'", a subject that Enya felt was important as she only writes and rehearses her songs in Ireland. Dickins received a dedication on the album's sleeve in Gaelic.
"Pax Deorum" is Latin for "Peace of the Gods" and features Enya playing the cello and violin, instruments that she had not fully learnt but can play basic chords which to her, sounded effective when Nicky layers them in the studio with her synthesisers. While working on the track in its early stage during the Christmas 1994 period, the song took a direction that Enya and Nicky were not happy with, so they left it for up to three months before they revisited it, readjusting its basic theme in the process. When Enya played the song to Roma, it was clear to them that the song suited a language other than English, and decided Latin, at Roma's suggestion, for its "classic feel". In writing about the lyrics to "Athair Ar Neamh", loosely translated as "Fatherless" and sung in Irish, Enya's first language, Roma thought "The voice of epiphany is found in 'Athair ar Neamh'. It is the voice of day, the voice of night, the voice of all, of understanding ... a peace which is unique to the individual, a peace that is felt rather than described".
"From Where I Am" is the album's second of three instrumental tracks on the album. The title of "China Roses" makes reference to the flower Rosa chinensis. Its lyrics refers to the plants Christmas holly and Angel's tears, the red-tailed comet, the Keys of Heaven, and the One Thousand and One Nights stories. Roma explained the song is based on the idea that "everyone has their own idea of heaven ... it is a different treasure we embrace". "Hope Has a Place" was developed lyrically at first, after Roma had visited the Silent Valley Reservoir in the Mourne Mountains in Ireland, and wrote its words based around one's first love for her daughter Ebony. Enya subsequently wrote a melody and visited the Silent Valley with Nicky, who suggested that she record the song's lead vocal on location.
"Tea-House Moon" is the album's third instrumental track. "Once You Had Gold" was influenced by Enya's experience of singing hymns in her youth, and incorporated its structure and melody into the track. "La Soñadora" is Spanish for "The Dreamer". Its lyrics were inspired by a poem recited by Amergin Glúingel, a Druid of the Milesian race, upon his arrival to Ireland from Spain. Enya has an ancestral connection to Spain through her mother's side of the family; both aspects inspired her to sing it in Spanish, at Roma's suggestion. To Enya, "On My Way Home" is about "those wonderful memories and fond moments that you have when you're on your way home", and wished to present a positive feel in the chorus. The song contains samples from two other Enya's songs, "Book of Days" and "Orinoco Flow".
The original Japanese edition contains "Oriel Window", a piano instrumental that was recorded around the time of Shepherd Moons, as a bonus track.
Release and commercial performanceEdit
To promote the album, Warner Music organised a pre-release event in London for journalists and broadcasters on the Silver Barracuda, a pleasure boat that travelled from Charing Cross to Greenwich, where a reception was held at Queen's House complete with a fireworks display. The following day, Enya held a private conference for the press. A limited edition promotional box set was released for the album's launch which included the album on CD and cassette, and a 14-page booklet with a foreword autographed by Roma Ryan and printed lyrics.
The Memory of Trees was released on 20 November 1995 by WEA in the United Kingdom and on 5 December 1995 by Reprise Records in the United States. It reached number one on the Irish Albums Chart, and became Enya's fourth album to enter the top 10 of the UK Albums Chart, entering at number 6 before it reached its peak position of number 5 for two weeks in December 1995 during its initial 22-week run on the chart. The album re-entered the chart for a total of six weeks in 1996, and three more weeks in 1997. In the United States, The Memory of Trees peaked at number 9 on the Billboard 200, her highest charting album in the country at the time of release, during a 66-week stay on the chart. On the Billboard New Age Albums chart, the album became Enya's second consecutive number one during a 104-week stay. To further promote the album, Enya and Nicky travelled worldwide on a media tour that covered sixteen countries and included interviews, guest appearances, and lip-sync performances of "Anywhere Is".
The album became an international commercial success. In December 1995, it was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for 300,000 copies sold in the United Kingdom. In August 1996, it reached double platinum for 600,000 copies sold. Its greatest success was in the United States where in February 1996, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling one million copies. In the following six months, a further one million copies were sold. In March 2000, The Memory of Trees was certified triple platinum for selling three million. In November 2008, Billboard reported the album had sold 2,397,724 copies in the United States according to figures tracked by Nielsen SoundScan.
Enya released a single from The Memory of Trees in 1995 and 1996. "Anywhere Is" was the lead single, released in November 1995. It became her second highest charting single in the United Kingdom, reaching a peak of number 7 during its 13-week stay on the chart. In 2013, it was certified silver by the BPI for 200,000 copies sold. A music video for the song was directed by David Scheinmann, who had previous worked with Enya on the reissue of Enya and her other promotional videos. "On My Way Home" was the second single, released in November 1996. It reached number 26 in the United Kingdom during a two-week stay on the singles chart. Its video was directed by Dickins.
In 2009, the album was remastered for a Japanese release on Super High Material CD with three bonus tracks: "I May Not Awaken", originally released as the B-side to the "On My Way Home" single, and single edits of the latter and "Anywhere Is". On 11 November 2016, Reprise Records put the album out on vinyl for the first time.
|Los Angeles Times|||
The Memory of Trees received mostly positive reviews from music critics at the time of release. The Cincinnati Post rated the album with a "B+" in a summarised review by Jody Callahan, who praised Enya for the "sonorous melodies, glowing with strings, piano and crashing percussion; luxurious vocals". The down side to the album, she thought, was its similarity to Shepherd Moons, particularly the case with "Anywhere Is". That said, Callahan wrote: "But really, who cares? In its essence, Trees is another Enya record, with all the myth and warmth that implies". In his review for The Washington Post, Mike Joyce noted its similarity to Watermark and Shepherd Moons, "brimming with the kind of lush orchestrations, celestial harmonies and mystical imagery" and "lyrical grace and spiritual power of its own, not to mention some pop smarts", a combination that makes the majority of similar albums "utterly dull". Joyce praises her vocals and Nicky Ryan's production to create a "cascading shower of harmonies". Jim Sullivan wrote a review for The Boston Globe. He thought the album was not "quite as exotic or transcendent" as Enya's previous two albums, but she and the Ryans produce "serene ambience" and "new-age music with subtlety and smarts". He wrote "Anywhere Is" "has a frothy, trivial pop bounce", but wished for a greater amount of "movement and drama" in the tracks. The Record included a review from Steven Johnson, who noted the album did not break any new musical ground, "But why change what works?" He highlighted Enya's "ethereal" vocals and "Anywhere Is", a "spirited melody" that is the furthest away from her usual "tried-and-true" musical formula. Johnson concluded: "A super collection of music that, at its best, seems to touch the stars".
David Browne reviewed the album for Entertainment Weekly and awarded it a "B" rating, calling Enya "even less the life of the pub" with her new release. "With its layered, breathing-lesson choral harmonies cushioned in sullen keyboards, the album is, except for a few perky moments, wistful to the point of stultification. A gorgeous formula, but perhaps even Enya could use a good stiff belt." The Los Angeles Times issued a three stars out of four rating in a review by Don Heckman. He wrote that Enya remains in her "musical trance ... on an ethereal plateau of her own", which he recognises as a good thing for her fans. The "technical proficiency and the mood-sustaining qualities" of the music, that Heckman called "mysterious" and "rich" coupled with Enya's "angelic, folk soprano" and "nostalgic" piano, flow to make a seamless album that "almost demands that the album be heard in its entirety". Heckman praised Enya for the "remarkable" feat of being the album's sole musician, and concluded with: "If anything can restore the tarnished image of New Age music, this may be it". Rolling Stone magazine reporter Elysa Gardner gave the album three stars out of four. She wrote: "Because Enya's lush, synthladen arrangements rarely come off as bloated or banal, her work typically inspires less ridicule than, say, Yanni's". Gardner picked out "China Roses" as a track that reminded her of the "tranquil radiance" of "Caribbean Blue" from Shepherd Moons, with "Once You Had Gold" sounding "equally tender, with a reassuring lyric and all the prettiness of a Christmas carol". She continued: "Regardless of whether you understand Latin or Gaelic, the atmospheric warmth of "Pax Deorum" and "Athair Ar Neamh" will temporarily convince you that the world isn't such a terrible place after all". The album received a more critical review from Howard Cohen for The Los Angeles Daily News, saying it does not "disappoint, at least not stylistically" with its "flawless" recording and "gorgeous" sounds, but goes on to write, "She stalls ... drowning in her formula. Two stars".
|1.||"The Memory of Trees"||4:18|
|4.||"Athair Ar Neamh"||3:39|
|5.||"From Where I Am"||2:20|
|7.||"Hope Has a Place"||4:44|
|9.||"Once You Had Gold"||3:16|
|11.||"On My Way Home"||5:08|
|1995 Japanese release bonus track|
|2009 Japanese remaster bonus tracks|
|12.||"Anywhere Is" (Single Edit)||3:48|
|13.||"On My Way Home" (Remix)||3:38|
|14.||"I May Not Awaken"||4:23|
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.
- Enya – vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, cello, violin, percussion
- Nicky Ryan – producer, arrangements, recording engineer, audio mixing
- Rob Dickins – executive producer
- Arun Chakraverty – mastering (credited as "Arun")
- EMI Songs Ltd. – publisher
- Maxfield Parrish – sleeve photography (inspired by)
- Elizabeth Emanuel – costume design
- Sooky Choi – sleeve layout (credited as "Sooky")
Charts and certificationsEdit
|Worldwide||20 November 1995||WEA|
|United States||5 December 1995||Reprise|
|Worldwide||11 November 2016||LP|
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- Ryan, Roma (1995). The Memory of Trees [Promotional Box Limited Edition] (Liner notes and booklet) (Media notes). Warner Music. 0630-12879-2/4.
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- Singer-Songwriter Enya. HuffPost Live. 14 March 2016. Event occurs at 21:25–21:48. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
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- Dawn, Randee (February 1996). "Reviews – Enya – The Memory of Trees". CMJ New Music Monthly. No. 30. p. 34. ISSN 1074-6978.
- Roma Ryan (2002). Only Time — The Collection (Booklet notes, pages 15, 16, 19, 21). Enya. Warner Music. 0927 49211-2.
- The Memory of Trees (Media notes). WEA Japan. 1995. WPCR-550.
- The Memory of Trees [Box Set Limited Edition]. WEA. 1995.
- "British album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 July 2016. Enter "The Memory of Trees" in the field 'Keywords'. Select 'Title' in the field 'Search by'. Select 'Album' in the field 'By Format'. Click 'Search'.
- The Memory of Trees at AllMusic
- "American album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
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- "Artists / Enya: Chart History: New Age Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Stewart, Ken (7 September 1996). "Ireland: The Billboard Spotlight". Billboard. Vol. 108 no. 36. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
- Sutherland, Mark (29 November 2008). "Simple Gift: Christmas Comes Early for Enya, Warners". Billboard. 120 (48): 43. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- "British album certifications – Enya – Anywhere Is". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 March 2017. Enter "Anywhere Is" in the field 'Keywords'. Select 'Title' in the field 'Search by'. Select 'Single' in the field 'By Format'. Click 'Search'.
- The Memory of Trees (Media notes). WEA Japan. 2009. WPCR-13300.
- Browne, David (1995-12-08). "The Memory of Trees Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- Heckman, Don (1995-12-02). "ALBUM REVIEWS : Musical Spirits Continue to Inspire Enya". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- "Enya - Memory of Trees CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- Gardner, Elysa (1996-01-25). "Enya: The Memory of Trees : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone: 73. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- Callahan, Jody (4 January 1996). "ENYA'S NEW 'TREES' LOVELY, LAYERED SOUND". The Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2017 – via Highbeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- Joyce, Mike (7 January 1996). "Enya's 'Trees': That Eire Quality". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- Sullivan, Jim (28 December 1995). "ENYA THE MEMORY OF TREES Reprise/Warner Bros". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- Johnson, Steven C. (21 January 1996). "ENYA". The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey). Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- Cohen, Howard (15 December 1995). "SOUND CHECK POP". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017 – via Highbeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- "ENYA - THE MEMORY OF TREES (ALBUM)". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 62, No. 21" (PHP). RPM. 8 January 1996. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "Official Albums Chart Top 100 10 December 1995 - 16 December 1995". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- "The Memory of Trees - Enya". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
- "Argentinian album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers.
- Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia’s Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 94.
- "Austrian album certifications – Enya – Memory of Trees" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Enya in the field Interpret. Enter Memory of Trees in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen.
- "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 1995". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- "Brazilian album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos.
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- "Enya" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
- "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "French album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Enya; 'The Memory of Trees')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "RIAJ > The Record > June 1997 > Certified Awards (April 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Dutch album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter The Memory of Trees in the "Artiest of titel" box.
- "New Zealand album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees". Recorded Music NZ.
- "Polish album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry.
- "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados > 1995–1999". Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
- "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
- "British album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Memory of Trees in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American album certifications – Enya – The Memory of Trees". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
- "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.