tue 26/10/2021

CD: Rumer - This Girl's in Love | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Rumer - This Girl's in Love

CD: Rumer - This Girl's in Love

Revived 45s: Rumer revisits the Bacharach - David jukebox

This Girl's in Love

In a career that began just six years ago, Rumer has tipped her musical hat to such songwriting greats as Jimmy Webb and Hall and Oates while also finding her own voice as a writer. Now, with her fourth album, she pays homage to one of the great pop catalogues, that of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, in a collaboration with Rob Shirakbari, her musical and life partner, who worked as Bacharach's musical director. 

There are many who would disparage it as “elevator music”. Critic Nik Cohn described it as “tasteful, attractive, a bit gutless” and thought that between them Bacharach and Dionne Warwick “brought muzak to its highest point ever”. That’s unfair on the composer and on Warwick and the many other great singers who stamped their style on songs such as “The Look of Love”, “Walk On By”, “What the World Needs Now is Love” and “A House is Not a Home”, which Rumer sang in a White House tribute to Bacharach and David. Q declared Rumer to be the “heir to Dusty Springfield and Karen Carpenter” but Springfield’s are giant shoes to fill, Carpenter’s not so big – though in somewhat dubious taste. Listening to the carefully calibrated saccharine of Karen and Richard it’s easy to understand why punk happened.

None of which is to deny Rumer’s accomplishment here. The 12 tracks are generally faithful to the original arrangements instrumentally, with with real strings and horns et al and Bacharach himself playing piano on the title cut. Because those great Sixties and Seventies versions remain forever in the mind’s ear, it’s hard not to compare Rumer’s interpretations to them. It’s not that she’s left wanting – but perhaps it would have been better if she’d made the songs more her own. Her voice is always pitch-perfect and wistful, fragile-sounding, even at times ethereal.  And really a bit too close to Karen Carpenter for comfort.

Still and all, This Girl’s in Love is classy easy listening which, in this most difficult of eras, may be no bad thing, and it will ensure the music of Bacharach and David impinges on a younger audience.

Springfield’s are giant shoes to fill, Carpenter’s not so big - though in somewhat dubious taste


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Have you ever really LISTENED to Karen Carpenter's voice without all of the overproduction and preconceived notions? The critics have changed their tune in the past few decades. and Karen is now considered one of the greatest female singers of all time. (If you want supporting reviews, I can provide them.) Turn the lights down low, get comfy, have a glass of wine, and just take in her beautiful voice on this piece. I am a fan of Rumer, but even she states that Karen was a superior singer. (BTW, the Carpenters recorded this before the George Benson hit.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GChYjK8rIk

I too disagree with your comments on Karen Carpenter's voice.

I too find the comparison with Karen Carpenter very strange. I don't think Burt Bacharach realized how great the song "Close to You" was until the Carpenters made this into their debut Number One single. That was seven years after Richard Chamberlain sang the original version, and in the meantime both Dianne Warwick and Dusty Springfield also failed to uncover the potential. I feel that Rumer's version, as pleasant as it may be, does not exhibit the same vitality, syncopation and expression as the Carpenters. These are qualities that superb David and Bacharach sogs really deserve. Is this to be nothing more than a song of an idle observer, or something more engaging?

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