New Age Music gets a bad rep, which may be partly due to people not comprehending the difference between the Ambient music genres and Muzak and thus automatically dismissing it based on the fact that it’s designed as a form of background music, but I think the larger problem is that this bozo has been the public face of it for the last thirty years. In reality, there are plenty of legit artists in the New Age field (granted, the only one that most mainstream listeners would recognize is Enya, but within the genre there are other respectable big names like Stephen Halpern, Jean Michel Jarre, David Lanz, Loreena McKinnit, Kitaro, and Symbiosis), but unfortunately none of them has penetrated the pop consciousness as much as Yanni. In effect, he plays the homogenized pop version of New Age Music…his music is all cheesy, overblown bombast, with none of the subtle atmospheric beauty of the good New Age musicians. Granted, bombast can have its pleasures under the right circumstances, but it’s best when combined with memorable melody, and this guy’s total lack of melodic inspiration keeps him from taking his bombast to the level where it would have any actual sweep or power. On top of that, he’s just not a particularly talented piano player, a pretty damning indictment for a guy who makes his living at that instrument. Just how ungifted he is can be illustrated by comparing him to his direct predecessor, because in the previous generation, we also had an Easy Listening pseudo-Classical pianist for basically the same market…his name was Liberace. Now, Liberace wasn’t on the level of Classical piano giants like Glenn Gould, but he did have often dazzling virtuosic skill at his instrument and an extremely distinctive playing style, two things that Yanni will never achieve. I’ve been told this particular piece has the same positive effects on the human brain as a certain famous Mozart concerto because its basic musical structure is similar to (read: ripped off from) that piece, and while I’m not qualified to disprove that statement, it seems extremely far-fetched given the actual quality of the piece…I’ve heard Diane Warren compositions that were closer to being Mozartian than this garbage.
Verdict: Bad, but if you want to see what the New Age Music genre is really like, check out some of the more legit acts I mentioned above. They’re a hundred times better than this idiot.