The Bottom Line
- It's always good to hear from some of these artists.
- The best of these singer/songwriters remain interesting, if no longer surprising.
- The production is slick but not overly so; everything flows nicely.
- The new songs from these old friends are pleasant, but mostly not up to their own standards.
- The remakes are more notable as technical accomplishments than necessary updates.
- Various artists
Guide Review - Various Artists -- New Music From An Old Friend CD
It's a typical reaction to the music on this new, aptly-titled CD: these are still the old friends you always knew, and Ramone gives these tracks the warm coffee-commercial bonhomie you expect, but there's nothing particularly exciting here. Bacharach's typically wistful "I Still Remember," with guest vocals by Josh Pagano, is the closest these new tracks come to making an emotional statement above and beyond "It's nice to see you again." (The Wilson-Bacharach meeting of the minds, "What Love Can Do," gets second prize, but the mix of the former Beach Boy's childlike whimsy and Burt's more adult, moody romanticism turns out to be an acquired taste.) The covers are so faithful that you take their modest pleasures where you find them, like the morning-after strings that prop up Kris' "Sunday Morning Coming Down" or the unique Spanish muzak of Richard Marx's new version of "Hold On To The Nights." By the time you find Willie Nelson melodically all at sea with Paul Williams' "Rainbow Connection," you'll wish that these old friends had cleaned up a bit more before visiting.