Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Diana Moves On (Music Review: Diana Krall, Wallflower")

I always pay attention when Diana Krall releases a new album. Sometimes I love her albums, sometimes I just like them. I feel like I like her more than I used to. When she first hit it big, I kind of hated her, but then I started to really listen to her albums, and I realized maybe I had been unfair. I do have a deep appreciation for her raspy voice, and in her past couple of albums, her lyrical interpretation has really been very intelligent. The, this. Her new collaboration with David Foster for Verve is an album of songs from the 60s and 70s. I wish the song selections were a little more adventurous, because we get the usual suspects here. It's as if the selection was decided upon by a focus group: let's pick an Elton John song, a Carpenters, a Mamas and Papas. But pushing that aside, I think this album is a winner. Krall infuses a lot of herself in these albums, and I do feel her love for these songs. The arrangements by Foster are a little too predictable, but Krall saves the tracks by singing them with passion, and you can't help it but believe. I was torn by her heartbreaking "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," and her melanchol;y "California Dreamin'" seems the perfect reflective take for the baby boomer generation who first grooved to the song. I can't say I was very familiar with Bob Dylan's "Wallflower," but i will remember it now as a Krall song. I also loved her "Superstar," and when she sings "Don't you remember you told me you love me, baby" you feel each moment of longing she feels. One track doesn't work, though: her too-cheery duet of the Gilbert O'Sullivan song "Alone Again Naturally" with Michael Buble. (For a great cover of that song, look no further than Nora Aunor's from her Alpha Records years) Ultimately, this album is a great marriage of singer and songs, proving there's more to Diana Krall. When she is singing the Great American Songbook, she is just "one of those," but here she may be inventing a genre she could own.  

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