Friday, April 5, 2013

Ruin Your Day (Music Review: Ruthie Henshall, I've Loved These Days)

Oh, the theater vocal album. It seems every theater diva has one, and God knows I have them all. But once in a while, a release excites me, and when I saw Ruthie Henshall's "I've Loved These Days," I was very very excited, if only to experience a legendary West End diva. But to say I was disappointed about this release is an understatement. I have listened to it a couple of times and now, and I still feel...cold. Henshall hits all the right notes, has perfect pitch, but the whole thing seems uninspired. The musical arrangements are rote - by-the-number copies of "Don't Rain On My Parade" and "When You're Good To Mama" - and do not have any spark. She sings like she is sleepwalking through these roles. And when she tries to be "different," like on a head-scratching opener in "A Hard Day's Night," you just end up becoming befuddled. I wish I felt more warmth. She seems to be more concerned in hitting notes rather than breathing life to the songs. "Electricity" is a curious choice, but she seems to end it quickly before the song starts to takes off. Her "Blizzard Of Lies" would make Judy spin in her grave, and Joni Mitchell can slap her with her yawn-inducing version of "Both Sides Now." And why does she sound so "matronly," I wonder ? I think this is such a wasted opportunity, truly.

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