Devotion or reliability?

I am thinking of an artist whose name begins with the letters “En” and who has managed to record the same album four times.

Who is this artist? Give up?

It’s Enya!

But since this a review for Enigma, the same thing can apply.

Like Enya, Engima creator Michael Cretu doesn’t paint far outside the lines of his well-established aesthetic — lots of a ethereal, reverb-drenched synthesizers, breathy, come-hither female vocals, an occasional robotic singer, restrained but thundering beats.

The homogenous nature of Cretu’s work makes itself apparent on Love, Sensuality, Devotion, a greatest hits collection.

Even though the tracks on the collection span four albums, they have been mixed to blend one into the other, just like all his albums. As a result, Cretu has managed to make his entire discography obsolete.

Don’t waste time sitting through fillers on each of those albums — the best has been spliced together into a seamless whole, thereby maintaining a typical Enigma listening experience.

Long-time fans can probably discern tracks of one album from another, but folks who own only one Enigma album couldn’t tell the difference.

The track listing for Love, Sensuality, Devotion also skews heavily toward his second through fourth albums.

Starting with The Cross of Changes, Cretu significantly upgraded his music gear and convinced himself his singing was an integral part of Enigma’s sound. (It isn’t.)

His first Enigma project, MCMXC a.D., probably his most popular on the count of “Sadness (Part I)”, gets only minimal representation.

That’s because MCMXC a.D. possesses a bit of a rough edge Cretu subsequently washed out of his work.

The comparatively sparse arrangements of “Principles of Lust” and “Mea Culpa” feel at odds with the lushness of Enigma’s more recent work. It definitely undercuts the whole homogenous vibe.

Love, Sensuality, Devotion contains few surprises, but then again, listeners don’t head for Engima to be surprised. Enigma is a reliable project, focused on beauty and melody. Michael Cretu can get away with being repetitive.

Just like Enya.