Bergmaniac

Streisand dazzles (as usual) on new CD of songwriters’ lyrics

Bergmans_Barbra
THE WAY THEY WERE | Babs has sung the lyrics of Marilyn and Alan Bergman for decades; now she has an album dedicated to the songs she and others have made famous.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

For Barbra Streisand, releasing an album is old hat… especially when she returns to the familiar. Her new album (dropping Tuesday) — her 33rd, following 2009’s Love is the AnswerWhat Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, has been on her to-do list for some time: On it, she honors her frequent collaborators, who composed the lyrics to the Yentl soundtrack, “The Way We Were” and more.

It’s almost unfair to review Streisand anymore. Her production values are top-notch and there is no denying her voice still gorgeous after 50 years. For what she does, it’s perfection. Add to that her status as a music legend, especially among gay men, and nitpicks might seem blasphemous. But regardless of what the makers of Glee think, she’s still human, and while Matters works in the usual Streisand oeuvre, she also refrains in her tone.

On the opener, the Oscar winner “The Windmills of Your Mind,” Babs lets the construction shine more than her vocal interpretation, delivering drama but still holding back. Still, her voice is solid, like a perfect wine glass: delicate but sturdy. She continues such subtlety in subsequent tracks “Solitary Moon” and “Something New in My life” (where slight hints of grit in her voice are surprisingly refreshing).

She closes the 10-track album with songs that also rely on similar structure. Face it: She’s diva enough to not mind showing off. But her touches to “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” and the title track are exquisite.

Soon into the album, though, the impact is lessened. Covering Sinatra’s “Nice ‘n’ Easy” doesn’t fit her style. Streisand is not overly sexy, but this track needed to be flirty and sultry; instead she sounds like mom singing a silly “come hither” tune in front of all my friends. Awkward!

There is a downturn in the second half as “Alone in the World” and “So Many Stars” play on. They make less of an impression and she’s less engaged with the lyrics. An Academy Award-winning actress could put a little more emotion into it.

“The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye,” though, is a floating dream, and is easily a highlight, as is “That Face” performed jazzy and playfully. Streisand even sounds less on guard than her previous tracks, more relaxed.

For diehard fans, this is Streisand at her finest: Quality production, impeccable voice, timeless tunes. For the rest, this is the same over again. With nothing to prove, I wish she’d be more daring in her music the way she’s willing to be with her films (Little Fockers, anyone?).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 19, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Getting warmed up for Valentine’s Day — kissing flashmob hits Canadian market

OK, so flashmobs have gotten to be old hat, I know. But this one — set up by the independent Canadian band Lazybones “in the hopes of spreading some love across the world on Valentine’s Day and beyond” — is a little different.

In this video, set in a Canadian market, a young woman is wandering about h0lding a bouquet of red roses when suddenly she stops and yells out, “I’d do anything to get your heart!” Then a song by that name begins to play in the background as she walks up to couples and hands them roses, at which time, the couples begin to kiss. Nothing pornographic, just sweet, loving kissing. About 20 couples in all participate — and that includes at least one same-sex couples, two guys who are the first to get a rose.

Most of the bystanders and onlookers, although caught off guard at first, soon begin smiling. Some take out cameras and start taking photos. Others just smile and walk on by. But one shopkeeper is obviously not impressed and starts yelling at the couples to cut it out. Too bad he wasn’t feeling the love, and it’s good he was the only one making such a fuss.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy, and spread a little love of your own this Valentine’s Day.

—  admin