Love Is The Answer
Even before their first session together, Barbra Streisand and collaborator Diana Krall designed Love Is the Answer as a deeply emotional record: "each song an exploration concerning matters of the heart." And with the arrangements of maestro Johnny Mandel simply drawing occasional shading around Streisand's expressive voice -- and often leaving her voice as the only instrument -- the album goes well beyond the usual saloon-song tropes to become a heart-wrenching experience with virtually every song. Additionally, although much was made of the collaboration, Krall's piano stays in the background, and Streisand's is the only voice heard. But the song choices also were tailored to maximize the emotional impact of Love Is the Answer, and Streisand's incomparable voice. Nearly every song is a classic of tender balladry, despite the fact that none had been put on album by Streisand before during her long career. Those facts alone should leave Streisand fans in ecstasy, as practically nothing stands in the way of her voice as she sings some of the best songs of the last century, aching and sincere with every melancholy or lovelorn ballad, tenderly strident with every (ultimately) uplifting anthem. "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" opens up like a flower akin to some of her best performances, and the same goes for "Make Someone Happy," composed by the classic team of Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green (Styne composed the music for Streisand's Funny Girl). Elsewhere, more classics of the American songbook -- "Here's That Rainy Day," "Where Do You Start?," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Gentle Rain" -- prove themselves irresistible to the Barbra Streisand treatment. The overall effect is that this is one of the Streisand albums most appealing to her fans and her potential fans -- which includes nearly everyone who appreciates a singer singing like she's lived every line of her songs. ~ John Bush, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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