Barbra Streisand is one of the most commercial successful female singers of all time. She is listed by the Recording Industry Association of America as the bestselling female album artist ever in the US. Listening to the simple, stunning beauty of this late career album we are reminded once again of the gift of her voice. She is quite simply one of the best female singers of all time who, when given quality material and sympathetic production, can deliver performances of jaw-dropping artistry.
Released September 2009 by Columbia Records
Stripped Down Arrangements are Revelatory
Acclaimed jazz pianist and vocalist Diana Krall is the producer of this collection of pop and jazz standards performed by Barbra Streisand with simple arrangments. The performances on the standard version of Love Is the Answer include orchestrations by Johnny Mandel. His work primarily provides gentle backing that softens the overall presentation. However, on the deluxe version of the album you also receive the original, stripped down arrangements by Diana Krall's quartet that often break down to simply piano or guitar and Barbra Streisand's voice. There is an occasional bass or brushed drum, but mostly just a simple instrument and voice. Any student of Streisand's talent will highly appreciate the clear, unadulterated focus on her vocals here.
Finding the Nuance in the Songs
Nothing gets in the way of every nuance in Barbra Streisand's interpretations of these emotional pop classics. The manner in which she delivers each note in a deliberate fashion to pull all possible resonance out of the song brings echoes of many of her classic performances. When she exhales the word "funny" near the close of "Here's That Rainy Day" or asks with strength, "Where's the real stuff in life to cling to?" during "Make Someone Happy," your heart is in motion with Barbra Streisand's voice as she navigates the universal truths in these classic standards. As you hear her deliver the line, "Once I was a sentimental thing" with a ringing focus on the final word on "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," you know Barbra Streisand is finding herself in the songs as well.
Top Tracks on 'Love Is the Answer'
- "Gentle Rain"
- "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most"
- "Make Someone Happy"
- "Here's That Rainy Day"
A Top Level Album in a Legendary Career
Love Is the Answer will stand with the best albums in Barbra Streisand's career which is a ringing endorsement on its own. A few of the tracks here like "Gentle Rain," "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," and "Make Someone Happy" stand well with the greatest performances of her long, storied career. If you are looking for a musical collection this fall that simply gathers powerful, but not bombastic or maudlin, vocals on some of the best pop standards of all time, Love Is the Answer delivers the goods. If you want the full experience, the deluxe version is a must. Barbra Streisand fans will be in heaven here, and she just may convert a few new listeners along the way.