Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Duets

Columbia

Barbra Streisand. Does she really need any introduction? Of course not. And because she’s someone who’s known more for being insulted on South Park and having a distinctive nose than she is for her music, I’m automatically sympathetic towards her. I resisted the urge to be cruel in this review because frankly, she’s been insulted before and I can’t really see any reason to add to the quagmire of anti-Barbra sentiment out there. No, I’m going to be good and focus on the positives in Duets. The concept here is to repackage classic Barbra tracks (duets, obviously) with a couple of new recordings and sell millions of copies. Sounds simple enough, and it is — there aren’t many surprises. It’s a shame: an edgy vocal outing with someone a little less safe than Barry Manilow would have been great. But no matter; we still get Neil Diamond, Bryan Adams, Celien Dion, Judy Garland… and of course, both Barrys (Gibb and Manilow). Who can do mundane better than that lineup can?

Okay, that’s harsh. I actually found most of this disc really quite pleasant; nothing I’d listen to of my own accord, but inoffensive and pleasingly arranged. Streisand can really sing — she’s endured because of more than the delight so many take in mocking her. Some tracks rise above ordinary — notably, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and the Burt Bacarach/Hal David-written “One Less Bell to Answer” — and there’s enough variety to keep things moving. She’s very good at what she does; a bit of a guilty pleasure, but if you can ignore the boring bits and forget the Barbra-stigma then this is a nice addition to the “classically corny” section of your CD rack.

Barbra Streisand: http://www.barbrastreisand.com

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