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Various Artists -- New Music From An Old Friend CD

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Various Artists: New Music From An Old Friend

Various Artists: New Music From An Old Friend

source: target.com

The Bottom Line

As a chance to hear some of the great singer/songwriters of the great singer/songwriter era of the Sixties and Seventies, both remaking their old classics and offering up new additions to their oeuvre, this is a bargain. But anyone expecting a few new vital additions to these legends' songbooks -- or a fresh approach to their best-loved songs -- may come off disappointed, more often than not.
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Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

Description

  • Studio
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Various artists
  • New

Guide Review - Various Artists -- New Music From An Old Friend CD

There's not much stylistic integrity to this collection of new songs by established singer-songwriter legends, available only at Target stores -- not that there isn't plenty of style and integrity left in the admirable muses whispering in the ears of musicians like Brian Wilson, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Kris Kristofferson, and several lesser lights, but the fifteen tracks here don't add up to a cohesive experience. (Phil Ramone's airbrushed yet understated production notwithstanding.) This is an experiment, though, so maybe that's all right. But it feels as if there should be more genuine revelation coming from artists of this caliber, and hearing Wilson revisit "God Only Knows" almost to the letter, with just a little more Smiley clipclop Americana thrown in, doesn't count.

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.

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