Friday, September 23, 2011

Blend To Me, Stay With Me

Good 'ol Tony Bennett - he is still trudging along. Though he is not my favorite among his contemporaries, (I hate how he ends his songs the exact same way every single time) I certainly do respect him. He paid his dues, he is legendary, he is in his own terms an icon. I always thought he was the poor man's Sinatra - Ol Blue Eyes did his own Duet album series during his twilight years. Of course, the real stars of this album are his partners. I thought Bennett's singing here as pretty rote, myself. But, it's a good way to test-drive today's crop new crop of singers. Most of them have their own personality, and are not afraid to shy away from Tony. I loved John Meyer's bluesy vocals on "One For My Baby," and Alejandro Sanz is heartbreaking in "Yesterday I Heard The Rain." Both female country superstars Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood can't escape their  blandness; though. k.d. lang imbues more emotion in a single word than any of than both combined. Aretha Franklin's soulful take in the pensive "How Do You Keep The Music Playing" is embarrassing, and Bennett trying to out melisma her melisma towards the end of the song was laughable. (Compared to Aretha, Mariah in her duet here seems almost...restrained) Michael Buble and Josh Groban are both in their elements, though the latter's song choice is a bit odd. As much as I think Queen Latifah is more than competent, I can't help but feel she is holding back a part of her personality. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has personality alright in "The Lady Is A Tramp," it's just too bad that it's a copy of Eydie Gorme. Really, now, does this woman have an original bone in her body. As everyone else have noted, though, the heartbreaking Amy Winehouse track is more than worth the price of whatever you will pay for this album. I will never forget that husky, heartbreaking voice.

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