thu 19/09/2019

CD: Barbra Streisand - Walls | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Barbra Streisand - Walls

CD: Barbra Streisand - Walls

At 76, Streisand is still doing precisely what she does best - and it'd take a hard heart not to take notice

If there's anyone on this godforsaken planet who is fully entitled to emote their way through a mash-up of “Imagine” and “What a Wonderful World”, it's Barbra Streisand, right? This, after all, is the woman who was able to deliver “Life on Mars” as a Vegas showstopper, complete with the pronunciation “from Eye-beetser to the Norfolk Broads” and make it into a thing of wonder. This is the woman who has personified camp sincerity for decades, for whom no orchestra is too big, and no crescendo too grandiose. She is, quite often, beyond good and evil, musically speaking.

One thing that is just plain good, though, is her voice. And even at the age of 76, that voice shows no sign at all of diminishing in power. On this album, Streisand is on such fine fettle that no matter how preposterous it gets, no matter how hard she bellows, no matter how thick the schmaltz is laid on, it would take a hard heart not to get a little tingle from time to time. Doubly so, given that there's a running theme through the three originals and eight standards of pleas for compassion, tenderness and resilience in hard times.

There's nothing new here musically: we're firmly in Vegas / Broadway territory, strings swooping through the clouds, crescendos reaching the top of the empire state then the spotlight closing in on Streisand for fragile, intimate closing lines. And really, that's a blessed relief, considering how easily she could have gone for Bono duets and EDM superstar production for the mass market. In fact, that “Imagine”/”Wonderful World” does actually take that preposterousness too far. But overall, the absolute sincerity will break down your cynical defences against showbiz manipulations, and by the final, relatively fragile and intimate two tracks – Lerner/Bernstein's “Take Care of This House” and a forlorn but resolute “Happy Days are Here Again” – if you're feeling vulnerable anyway, it's potentially devastating.


There's nothing new here musically: we're firmly in Vegas / Broadway territory, strings swooping through the clouds, crescendos reaching the top of the empire state


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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