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No Oscar for This Movie
on 10 March 2010
This was apparently Streisand's sixtieth album release. Wow! Most the songs are at Streisand's signature pace and style with lush orchestration, but one often yearns for a radical change of scene. This change is represented here by the bossa nova rhythm of `I'm in the Mood for Love', and the marrying of the orchestra to relaxed contemporary sounds in the three songs produced by Robbie Buchanan, especially in the haunting `Calling You'. Two tracks (`But Beautiful' and `The Second Time Around') have a lazy jazz/blues-inflected style. But, otherwise, the album is all so comfortable, and (dare I say it) verging on the bland. But at least we hear some great instrumental solos: violin, trumpet, flute, horn, and more, all rightfully credited.
So, what about the songs themselves? Well, there's no `As Time Goes By', no `Over the Rainbow'. Instead we have songs from such well-known films as 1982's `Best Friends' and 1988's `Bagdad Café'. Mmm. It's a shame there are no Bond movie songs. Instead, we have many songs that a lot of people (including myself) would have a hard time naming the films from which they originate. But there are some classics, such as `Smile' and `Moon River'.
There is also `Wild is the Wind', but once you've heard the raw emotion of the Bowie version, one might want to question the sincerity of Streisand's singing "you're life itself". But, having said that, there are good orchestral effects in the orchestral arrangement. Of `More in Love with You, Streisand writes how it is "the most magnificent movie theme I think I've ever heard." I found the lyrics by the Bergmans quite cheesy. The shortest track is `Goodbye For Now' (yes, you remember which movie that featured in - or rather didn't - don't you?), which proves that Sondheim can write fluff as banal as anyone.
I don't want to sound too critical. I like this album and give it four stars. It's just that I feel there have been lost opportunities here in the choice of tracks and in the style of presentation. But Streisand still has probably the best female singing voice in the western world; and for that, I can forgive (almost) anything.