Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweet Melissa

I recently saw an indie movie titled ""Dirty Girl" and it featured a lot of Melissa Manchester's music, and I was suddenly reminded of how great her pop songs are.  Who, you ask? Melissa Manchester is a relic from the late 70s, and 80s, one of those smooth pop singer-songwriter types, from that era when record albums were called "albums." (She even says "Pardon me when I reference my albums as albums) She was performing at a small venue outside the strip and we thought it would be fun to see her.  As she started the show, she said "We are going to sing old songs, new songs, brand spanking new songs, and really old songs," and it proved to be a fantastic mix resulting to a fun evening. Let's be straight, though: the voice is not as rich and bold as it used to be but it would be unfair to compare it to recordings done almost thirty years ago.  Its still a beautiful alto, and the depth and intensity of her interpretations are still intact, if not even more felt nowadays. She goes through all her hits: "Midnight Blue," "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love," and a beautiful "Come In From The Rain," which was done  with just her and apiano. She sings with her younger self on video in "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," and duets with her friend  Barry Manilow on video for "You've Got A Friend." There were songs from her "When I Look Down That Road," which one of my favorite albums of hers, as well as songs from the "First Great American Songbook," and a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.  And there's even that new song she wrote for "Dirty Girl," which she says was in the first round of nominees for Best Song on this year's Academy nominations.  The crowd was low wattage, mostly older, more nostalgic than anything else. When she started singing "Looking..." the lady right next to me literally started weeping, and there was a part of me who understood her, and was thinking what could have caused her crying:  Lost Love? Regret? A Happy Memory? Melissa Manchester comes from a time when pop songs were simple and beautiful, lush without being too complicated, heartfelt without having too much drama. Give me those over today's excesses. 

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