I Dreamed a Dream (album)

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This article is about the album. For other uses, see I Dreamed a Dream (disambiguation).
I Dreamed a Dream
Studio album by Susan Boyle
Released 23 November 2009
Recorded July–September 2009
London
Genre Operatic pop, crossover, easy listening, adult contemporary
Length 43:00
Label Syco, Columbia
Producer Steve Mac
Susan Boyle chronology
I Dreamed a Dream
(2009)
The Gift
(2010)
Singles from I Dreamed a Dream
  1. "Wild Horses"
    Released: 15 November 2009
  2. "I Dreamed a Dream"
    Released: 15 April 2010
  3. "You'll See"
    Released: 20 June 2010
  4. "Amazing Grace"
    Released: 15 August 2010

I Dreamed a Dream is the debut studio album by Scottish singer Susan Boyle. It was released on 23 November 2009 by Syco Music in the United Kingdom, and by Columbia Records in the United States one day later. In the standard edition, 11 out of the 12 songs that appear on the album are cover songs, plus the original composition "Who I Was Born to Be". It quickly became the world's biggest selling album of 2009. The album has sold almost 9 million copies worldwide.[1]

The album entered the UK album chart at number 1 and became the fastest-selling debut album ever in the UK, selling 411,820 copies, beating the record previously set by Spirit by Leona Lewis and outselling the rest of the top five albums combined during its first week on sale. The album remained at the top spot for four weeks, becoming the biggest selling album in the UK in 2009.[2] In the U.S., I Dreamed a Dream debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 701,000 copies sold in its first week, breaking the record for the highest debut by a new solo female artist in the SoundScan era (post 1991).[3] I Dreamed a Dream became the biggest opening sales week of 2009 in the U.S., beating out Eminem's Relapse which sold 608,000.[4] It was the second-biggest selling album of 2009 in the U.S., with 3.1 million copies sold, right behind Taylor Swift's Fearless at 3.2 million copies.[5] In only six weeks of sales, it became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009.[6]

Background[edit]

In August 2008, Boyle applied for an audition for the third series of Britain's Got Talent (as contestant number 43212) and was accepted after a preliminary audition in Glasgow. When Boyle first appeared on the show at the city's Clyde Auditorium, she said that she aspired to become a professional singer "as successful as Elaine Paige".[7] Boyle sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables in the first round of the third series of Britain's Got Talent, which was watched by over 10 million viewers when it aired on 11 April 2009.[8] Programme judge Amanda Holden remarked upon the audience's initially cynical attitude, and the subsequent "biggest wake-up call ever" upon hearing her performance.[9] This performance was widely reported and tens of millions of people viewed the video on YouTube.[8] Boyle was "absolutely gobsmacked" by the strength of this reaction.[10] Since the appearance, Paige has expressed interest in singing a duet with Boyle,[7] and has called her "a role model for everyone who has a dream".[11]

Despite being the clear favourite to win the final,[12] she ended up in second place to Diversity; the UK TV audience was a record of 17.3 million viewers.[13] However, Boyle was quickly signed to Simon Cowell's record label and began the production of the album soon after the show.[14] Cowell compiled a list of around 150 songs that had in part been accumulated from "various A&R guys" who sent them to him.[15] He then whittled these down to 50 and presented the list to producer Steve Mac, so that he could try out the songs with Boyle to see which worked for her and which she wanted to record.[15] They then recorded 20 songs for the album, with 11 eventually making the final cut.[15] In an interview with HitQuarters, Mac talked about working with the singer:

"Susan had a big say in what she wanted to record. She’s an extraordinary artist – she’s an old school artist in that she can only sing what she feels in her heart. She’s not one of those singers that can make anything sound good, it’s only if she feels the passion of it and understands the lyric. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with an artist that could do that."[15]

Composition[edit]

The album opens with a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" (1971), which Boyle described as "[o]ne of my personal favourites and an emotional release." She further stated that its "haunting theme" conjures up memories of her childhood amongst council estates, poverty and struggle in the first verse.[16] Her version of the popular American torch song "Cry Me a River" had been previously recorded in 1999 for a charity CD.[17][18] She also covered "You'll See" (1995), written and originally recorded by pop singer Madonna. Boyle stated that the cover of the song is her answer to the teachers who beat her regularly and the classmates who were aggressive and bullied her when she was growing up. "That was a statement I was trying to make, because I was bullied a lot at school: ‘You may have done that to me when I was younger, but you can’t do it to me any more. I’m grown up now," she said.[19] Boyle had been a volunteer at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Blackburn, West Lothian, and recorded some religious songs, including "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art", a Christian hymn based on a Swedish poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885.[20] The only original composition of the album is "Who I Was Born to Be", written by Audra Mae, Mark Linn-Baker, Johan Fransson, Tobias Lundgren, and Tim Larsson.[21]

Reception and commercial performance[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[22]
Entertainment Weekly (B-)[23]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[24]
The Independent 2/5 stars[25]
Los Angeles Times 2/4 stars[26]
MSN 8/10 stars[27]
Slant Magazine 1.5/5 stars[28]
The Times 2/5 stars[29]

The album received a score of 54 out of 100 on aggregate review site Metacritic, based on seven reviews.[30] According to the Daily Mail, I Dreamed a Dream sold approximately 134,000 copies in the United Kingdom on its first day of release alone, and approximately 300,000 copies by Friday, 27 November.[31][32] Sales of 411,820 copies made it the largest first week sales of any debut album in UK chart history.[33][34] The album debuted at No. 1 in Australia, selling 26,474 in the first week of release and has been certified 9x Platinum (630,000 units shipped). In New Zealand, the album was certified 3x Platinum for shipping over 45,000 copies after just one week of release while debuting at number 1; the album was certified 8x Platinum (120,000 units shipped) three weeks after its release.[35] It has also become the highest-selling debut album in New Zealand history.[36] The Japanese market regarded it as a classical music album,[37] and it debuted at No. 5 on the Oricon weekly comprehensive charts with around 36,000 copies,[38] and climbed to No. 3 the next week.[39]

In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with approximate sales of 701,000 units, becoming the best sales week for an album in the United States for 2009.[2] I Dreamed a Dream broke the record for the highest debut by a new solo female artist in the SoundScan era (post 1991).[3] It also became the biggest opening sales week of 2009 in the U.S., beating out Eminem's Relapse which sold 608,000.[4] It stayed at number one for five consecutive weeks, selling in excess of half a million copies each week, bringing her total U.S. sales over to 2.9 million copies. It is the fastest-selling debut album to reach two million in sales and was 2009's second biggest-selling album. In just 6 weeks it sold 3.1 million sold according to SoundScan; behind Taylor Swift's Fearless which sold 3.21 million[5] since being released one year prior on 11 November 2008. The album moved 3,974,000 copies in the United States to date.[40] The album sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide in its first three weeks of release, and has sold almost 9 million to date.[41] It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album but lost to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster.

Promotion[edit]

To promote the release, Boyle sang on several television shows. Her first performance was on the America's Got Talent final, on 16 September, where she performed "Wild Horses" before more than 13 million viewers in the United States[42] On 10 November, she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" on Dancing with the Stars, during the performance of Chelsie Hightower and Tony Dovolani, and she also sang "Wild Horses" on The X Factor.[43] On 23 November, Boyle gave a live TV performance on the Today Show on the NBC television network which took place outside its studios on Rockefeller Plaza;[44] Boyle sang "I Dreamed a Dream", "Wild Horses", and "Cry Me a River".[44] After the show, Boyle attended a lunch with fans where she was presented with a handmade quilt made by over one hundred people from 28 countries including Mexico, Poland, Japan and Antarctica.[45] On 13 December 2009 she appeared in her own television special, "I Dreamed a Dream: the Susan Boyle Story", featuring a duet with her idol Elaine Paige.[46] The show achieved ratings of 10 million viewers in the United Kingdom.[47] In the U.S. it was carried on the TV Guide Network, becoming the highest rated special in the tiny cable network's history.[48] It was reported that Susan Boyle would be invited to perform "I Dreamed a Dream" for a small gathering at the birthday celebration of Michelle Obama on 17 January 2010.[49] "You'll See" was included in the international soundtrack to Ti Ti Ti, a Brazilian telenovela, which helping to propel "I Dreamed A Dream" up the charts in Brazil.[50]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. "Wild Horses"   Mick Jagger, Keith Richards The Rolling Stones 4:53
2. "I Dreamed a Dream"   Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer Patti LuPone, from Les Misérables 4:20
3. "Cry Me a River"   Arthur Hamilton Julie London 2:41
4. "How Great Thou Art"   Carl Boberg Christian hymn 3:12
5. "You'll See"   Madonna, David Foster Madonna 4:41
6. "Daydream Believer"   John Stewart The Monkees 3:18
7. "Up to the Mountain"   Patty Griffin Patty Griffin 3:29
8. "Amazing Grace"   John Newton Christian hymn 3:33
9. "Who I Was Born to Be"   Audra Mae, Mark Linn-Baker, Johan Fransson, Tobias Lundgren, Tim Larsson Original composition 4:08
10. "Proud"   Steve Mac, Wayne Hector, Andy Hill The cast of Britannia High 3:20
11. "The End of the World"   Arthur Kent, Sylvia Dee Skeeter Davis 3:13
12. "Silent Night"   Josef Mohr, Franz Xaver Gruber Christian Christmas hymn 2:59
13. "Wings to Fly" (Japanese bonus track) Kunihiko Murai Akai Tori 3:51
14. "The Susan Boyle Story: Interview" (Tesco Bonus DVD)     11:19
15. "I Dreamed a Dream (Original Audition)" (Tesco Bonus DVD) Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer Patti LuPone, from Les Misérables 3:11

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
JLS by JLS
Irish Albums Chart number-one album
27 November 2009 – 17 December 2009
Succeeded by
Crazy Love by Michael Bublé
Preceded by
Echo by Leona Lewis
UK Albums Chart number-one album
29 November 2009 – 27 December 2009
Preceded by
Golden Rule by Powderfinger
Australian Albums Chart number-one album
29 November 2009 – 15 February 2010
Succeeded by
Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
Preceded by
The System Is A Vampire by Shapeshifter
New Zealand Albums Chart number-one album (first run)
30 November 2009 – 1 February 2010
Succeeded by
Glee: The Music, Volume 2 by Glee
Preceded by
Glee: The Music, Volume 2 by Glee
New Zealand Albums Chart number-one album (second run)
8 February 2010 – 21 February 2010
Succeeded by
Holy Smoke by Gin Wigmore
Preceded by
My Worlds by Justin Bieber
New Zealand Albums Chart number-one album (third run)
10 May 2010 – 16 May 2010
Succeeded by
My Worlds by Justin Bieber
Preceded by
Battle Studies by John Mayer
U.S. Billboard 200 number-one album
3 December 2009 – 13 January 2010
Succeeded by
Animal by Ke$ha
Preceded by
My World (Part I) by Justin Bieber
Canadian Albums Chart number-one album
3 December 2009 – 22 January 2010
Preceded by
Rated R by Rihanna
Switzerland Albums Chart number-one album
13 December 2009 – 2 January 2010
Succeeded by
The Element of Freedom by Alicia Keys
Preceded by
Die Beste Medisyne by Kurt Darren
South African Albums Chart number-one album (first run)
6 February 2010 – 13 February 2010
Succeeded by
The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga
Preceded by
The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga
South African Albums Chart number-one album (second run)
20 February 2010 – 27 February 2010

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External links[edit]