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What's Your Favorite New Age Album?

Last weekend, I married my sister and her fiancée, and though I’ve never been big on weddings, it was the first time I ever attended one and really considered the impact it had on our lives, and how really special it was. As a child, weddings were all about fun—playing “Lucky Star” over and over on the jukebox and making people pissed off at me, hiding under the tables and climbing over peoples’ feet, and generally bothering the bartender for “anudder cup ‘o coke.” As a teen, they were mainly boring events to endure—especially since I wasn’t into socializing at all during those years.

But this was different. And I found myself humming “Return to Innocence” by Enigma. I know people have some bad things to say about the song, and I know that they are valid; yet I have many positive memories associated with it myself. I bought the Pure Moods I album in high school and was in love with the whole thing. I remember lighting incense and setting floating candles adrift in this little tray, doing my homework or making art to the soundtrack. I don’t know if it helped “purify” my mood or anything, but I really enjoyed it (though my boyfriend grew tired of it pretty quickly), and I still associate it with important life events.

But I’m not sure if it’s my favorite “New Age” album. My favorite is probably Loreena McKennit’s Book of Secrets, which has everything from “The Highwayman” to “The Mummer’s Dance” to my absolute favorite, “Dante’s Prayer” on it. It’s absolutely gorgeous from song to song, with both Celtic and Indian flair thrown in, and my daughter listens to it every night before going to bed.

I am also in love with several of Enya’s albums, too—especially Watermark and Paint the Sky with Stars, which I listened to while in college over and over again. I remember getting heartbroken when I had a bottle of essential oil spill onto the latter album and ruin most of it (along with a Norah Jones CD) without me knowing it, finding it later with the oil all gunked up over the plastic. Come to think of it, I could really use a new copy of that CD…

Unlike many fans, I don’t care for “Orinoco Flow” (“Sail Away”) much at all; in fact, it really gets on my nerves. But if you play something like “Marble Halls” or “Paint the Sky with Stars,” I am a huge Enya fan. (I also love the music she did for Lord of the Rings, as well as the lovely, non-dance version of “Only Time.” Aside from Enya, I love listening to many other New Age performers, from Clannad to Medwyn Goodall. I also love any fantasy or epic adventure soundtracks, from Braveheart to Lord of the Rings. I remember going bonkers for the Ever After soundtrack in my youth as well.

What is your favorite New Age album? I’d love to hear other recommendations.