Fly (ALBUM)
:: SARAH BRIGHTMAN
:: introduction : publication : tracklisting : production : notes : reviews

:: INTRODUCTION

The second Frank Peterson-produced Sarah Brightman album had a completely different sound and feel to Dive. Peterson makes epic songs like A Question of Honour into top hits, despite their complexities. The music on this album is some of his most layered, and yet also very pop-dance orientated. Despite what some reviewers may have said, Sarah's voice can be clearly heard on the album, although it is affected now and then which further enhances the atmosphere. The whole album feels like it is a soundtrack to a film dealing with angels and lost souls. Another wonderful masterpiece!

:: PUBLICATION DETAILS

Release Date 1 December 1995
Label EastWest Records GmbH
Catalogue # 0630-13270-2 / LC1557 / CA-851
Purchase Buy
Lyrics Available

:: TRACKLISTING
 
1. The Fly
2:55
 
  Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson
2. Why
5:11
 
  Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson
3. Murder In Maryland Park
3:38
 
  Music & Lyrics: Stina Nordenstam
4. How Can Heaven Love Me SINGLE
3:44
 
  Music: Peterson, Christensen / Lyrics: Dorell
5. A Question Of Honour SINGLE
6:34
 
  Music & Lyrics: Peterson
6. Ghost In The Machinery
4:23
 
  Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Ravenhill, Peterson
7. You Take My Breath Away
6:49
 
  Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson
8. Something In The Air
4:22
 
  Music: Peterson, Christensen / Lyrics: Peterson, Filz
9. Heaven Is Here SINGLE
4:03
 
  Music: Peterson, Schwarz, Meissner / Lyrics: Brightman, Schwarz
10. I Loved You
4:09
 
  Music: Peterson, Schwarz, Meissner / Lyrics: Brightman, Schwarz
11. Fly
2:51
 
  Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson

:: PRODUCTION DETAILS

Produced by: Frank Peterson and Sarah Brightman
Tracks 4, 5 and 8 Co-Produced by: Alex Christensen
Track 9 Co-Produced by: Thomas Schwarz and Matthias Meissner
Strings Arranged by: Mike Rutledge

Track 4 Male Vocals by: Chris Thompson
Track 8 Male Vocals by: Tom Jones
Keyboards: Frank Peterson, Matthias Meissner, Michael Soltau
Piano: Sarah Brightman
Guitars: Peter Weihe
Strings: The String Thing
Drums: Frank Peterson, Gota Yashiki's "Groove Activator"
Backing Vocals: Chris Thompson, Andrew Eldritch, Bridget Fogle, Linda Fields, Reggie Montgomery, Sophie St. Claire, Penny Lane, Joe Dorff, Gunther Laudahn, Jane Commerford, Kelvyn Hallifax, Betsy Miller, Sandra Blake and Sarah Brightman

Recorded at: Nemo Studios (Hamburg) and Nemo Studios (London)
Engineered by: Frank Peterson and Michael Soltau
Mixed by: Tom Lord-Alge at Encore Studios (California)
Mix Assistant: David Bettencourt
Add. Recordings by: Alan Parsons and Carl Nappa at Hit Factory (New York), Matt Howie and Kevin Jacobs at Metropolis Studio (London) and Michael Tiebes at Chateau de Pape
Mastered by: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound (New York)

Photography: Simon Fowler
Design & Art Direction: Stylorogue

:: NOTES
 
Fly re-released on 22 November 1996 with Time To Say Goodbye included at the beginning of the album, with The Fly and remaining album starting from track 2
— an exclusive version called Fly II was made available at concerts during the La Luna world-tour. This double-disc set contained the original Fly album and the best remixes taken from the various singles released. It also includes the bonus song Desert Rose (also included before on a bonus version of Eden)

:: TRACK BY TRACK ANALYSIS & REVIEW

The Fly (Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson)
Once again, this is a short introductory song that sets the dark and forbidding mood for the album. At first, one thinks the title of the album refers to the act of flying, but the buzzing sound effects used in this song confirm that it refers to the insect (which may explain Sarah's very strange outfit on the front cover). Luscious strings are to be heard throughout, as well as an eerie theme played using tinkle-bells and distorted voices which sound like transcripts from space are heard in the background. Sarah's voice enters and sings some of her strangest and most surreal lyrics. The song progressively beats up (the rhythms are fantastic on this album, it is always welcome to hear electronic beats and drumloops). TRACKLISTING

Why (Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson)
A few seconds of ambient sounds begins this track before it is interrupted to make way for electric guitar. The song takes a completely new direction now, with tablas being thrown in as well. Even though the drums are electronic it is impressive and surprising to hear the use of such ethnic rhythms. Sarah sings her verse in her usual seductive, breathy pop-voice and once again the backing vocal arrangement is perfect, ensuring Sarah's voice is clearly heard. The chorus, like most of the song, is very rock-like because of its use of hard-rock guitars but it is enjoyable. TRACKLISTING

Murder In Maryland Park (Music & Lyrics: Nordenstam)
The only song on the album that is not composed by Frank (although it is his arrangement). It starts off with some gentle synth sounds and effects, before moving into a piano-only accompaniment (played by Sarah). We hear her voice very clearly here and one can see how she is capable of singing so many different vocal roles: operatic, musical, soaring anthems, dance, and as in this song: intimate ballads. To be honest, the first half of the song does not necessarily grab you (except for the sad lyrics about a woman being murdered). However suddenly the music lifts up and becomes a typical Peterson-style arrangement: large sound, heavy drumbeats, and opera vocals (whether this is by Sarah is unknown). A far-off electric-guitar solo plays in this instrumental portion which adds a wonderful atmosphere. I would have liked more of the song to be in this style, but soon Sarah finishes off with one last line before we're taken to... TRACKLISTING

How Can Heaven Love Me (Music: Peterson, Christensen / Lyrics: Dorell)
...this remarkable song which is a duet between Chris Thompson and Sarah. He seems to be singing the role of a human being looking for redemption, while Sarah fills the role of an angel (it could be considered an appropriate number for some Musical in fact!). Another song that uses quite a bit of electric guitar, but it is well used and makes for an aggressive song. The lyrics are probably the best on the album, very metaphysical and poetic. Sarah and Chris alternate lines for the verse, and he sings the main repeating line of the chorus, while she echoes what he sings. There is a spoken verse later in the song in German, which some have said could be Frank (although it is more likely to be Gunther Laudahn). A beautiful and epic song, it is just one of many remarkable tracks on this album. TRACKLISTING

A Question Of Honour (Music & Lyrics: Peterson)
The previous song ends very abruptly with a brief reverse cymbal, before moving into the best track on the album. It starts all very classically with the aria La Wally by Cataloni (the version used in this song sounds like a sample, but it would later be performed by Sarah in its entirety on her Timeless album). The music is broken then by a clap of thunder before starting a regular dance beat. The opera singing is then brought back over this wonderful arrangement, before exploding again with a new drumbeat, a male chorus singing the lyrics "when two men collide" (although it is almost indecipherable). Sarah repeats the title a few times now and then during this ground-breaking arrangement. A large group of vocalists sings the very catchy 'chorus' and then Sarah sings the one and only verse on her own. The song then goes into an electric guitar solo before returning to the large vocal group and the Sarah verse (accompanied this time only by piano). If I could give this song more than 10, it would get it. One of the most impressive songs in the Frank Peterson repertoire. The track ends by repeating the intro and you are compelled to listen to the whole song once again. Peterson should definitely look at modernising more opera songs like this! TRACKLISTING

Ghost In The Machinery (Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Ravenhill, Peterson)
Now we wind down to a slightly more ordinary pop-rock song. Although not one of my top favourites, probably because of its prominent use of electric guitar, it has a catchy chorus with Sarah whispering the title between backing vocalists. The bassline is nice and 'groovy' which gives the song overall that same feel. The bridge consists of very weird effects, some of which sound like anvils, factory sounds and machinery (which is appropriate to the title). TRACKLISTING

You Take My Breath Away (Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson)
The music suddenly becomes very relaxing with a Hindi chant to be heard. The whole intro takes us on a journey to a far off place, before the tabla rhythm starts with a group chanting. Sarah sings her verse about all the things we see on our journey, before the music becomes more tense and all backing sounds are muted with just Sarah singing the chorus and a slightly more upbeat drum. Steadily new musical instruments are added as Sarah continues repeating the one line, along with some beautiful backing vocals (which sound like they were performed by Sarah as well). A break sounds, before exploding in acoustic guitar strumming and a more definitive beat. A new Hindi chant is heard (which has also been used in a track from the group Dead Can Dance), along with a beautiful whistle. The song has built up into another epic Peterson song, where acoustic and synthesiser instruments, tribal voices and electronic drumming are all to be heard. Sarah continues with just the one line of chorus throughout the song, along with some ad-libbing now and then. However as the song progresses we have a large group of vocalists singing that one line of chorus and it becomes a superbly powerful track. Towards the very end a strong male vocal from Chris Thompson is heard in-between this large chorus. Another amazing song, that captures numerous feelings and emotions and is some of the most layered instrumentation on any Peterson-album. What many people do not know is that the main melody and some lyrics are actually an adaptation from the Gregorian song You Take My Breath Away from Sadisfaction, although it is not that easy to notice the similarity as the arrangements for the two songs are very different. TRACKLISTING

Something In The Air (Music: Peterson, Christensen / Lyrics: Peterson, Filz)
Once again a track is introduced by classical strings performed by the group, The String Thing. This is interrupted very quickly by Tom Jones singing. Jones is most famous for his decades old hit-song It's Not Unusual as well as more recent successes as Sex Bomb. Sarah sings just the verses of Something In The Air, while Tom sings the choruses in between the large choir singing. Once again the melody for the chorus is a perfect anthem, and you will be singing along to it soon. Even though the lyrics are often repeated, the song never drags or gets boring; this album definitely has some of the most upbeat Sarah Brightman music available. Although one would never think such a match-up could actually work, the angelic vocals of Sarah mixed with Tom's unmistakable vocals works marvellously (like the other duet on this album How Can Heaven Love Me). TRACKLISTING

Heaven Is Here (Music: Peterson, Schwarz, Meissner / Lyrics: Brightman, Schwarz)
Now for the first time on the album we have a more romantic ballad. It is gentle and beautiful. But that tender atmosphere is not to last as we have the large vocal group coming in and the song beating up quite dramatically. Overall a beautiful song, and the big chorus is a wonderful addition. TRACKLISTING

I Loved You (Music: Peterson, Schwarz, Meissner / Lyrics: Brightman, Schwarz)
Another song with its melody first heard on the Sadisfaction album but with a very different and more updated sound. Using a hip-hop beat and Sarah's slightly deeper singing (which is as close to rap as you will ever hear her) the music is quite sparse with just some electric piano chords during verses, but the chorus has her singing very high with some more instrumentation. An interesting sample is from a Ronald Reagan speech regarding American inflation (the lyrics actually refer to him as well with "Ronnie's recession's nice advice"). A lead male vocal is heard then in the chorus, and it sounds like it could be Gunther Laudahn. The song makes wonderful reference to pop-culture like MTV, Tupperware, virtual reality and the music group UB40. TRACKLISTING

Fly (Music: Peterson / Lyrics: Brightman, Peterson)
This track starts off with a sample of the well-known moon landing speech ("that's one small step for man, one...giant leap for mankind") and basically goes into a repeat of the tinkle-bell theme from the intro. However the ending of the song breaks out into a military-style beat, heavily distorted unmelodic guitars and some more strange effects. It scores lower than the intro, because of that weird ending; I would have probably swapped around the intro track and this one as the intro sets a softer and darker mood. TRACKLISTING


:: EXTERNAL REVIEWS

track-by-track review at John's Sarah Brightman Page