On September 29th, 2009 the kooky and hilarious mother of Gaylord Focker, also known as Barbra Streisdand or Babs, released her latest album, Love Is The Answer, to the public.
It’s been four years since her last album of new material was given to the masses in the form of Guilty Pleasures in 1995. But Love Is The Answer is different from her previous works. It is not a series of duets, and it doesn’t include any of her most famous songs. Instead it’s a combination of classic jazz tracks such as “In the Wee Small Hours” and “Make Someone Happy.” Not only does Streisand venture off of the well-trodden Broadway tune path, she also recorded most of the songs twice; one recording is with an orchestra backing her, and once with a quartet. Both sets of melodies are on the deluxe edition which consists of 25 songs and is on sale through iTunes and Amazon as well as many music retailers where physical copies may be obtained.
But why would she duplicate 12 songs on one album? And why would she choose jazz? The answer is simple: she can and she’s good at it. As usual, Streisand pours emotion into each musical phrase and one can’t help but be swept away by her powerful voice. With the orchestra in the background it can’t be helped but to see her on a glorious stage with a sold-out crowd hanging on her every syllable. Her overwhelming stage presence probably even induces a few single tears. But the quartet behind her shifts the vision to a small jazz club with a small stage. Anyone listening could almost taste the smoky air, hear the clinking of Brandy Alexanders and maybe even be able to see her jaw move in that signature sideways movement of hers under the two spotlights.
The only problem with “Love Is The Answer” is the fact that, depending on one’s audio device, the difference between the orchestra and quartet sections might be subtle. Very subtle. So subtle that only a person with a trained ear might be able to tell the difference and even then might only hear the distinction after listening to a particular song more than once. But good luck is abounded! There is also a version of the CD that only includes the orchestra backing.
For over forty years Streisand has been amazing audiences of all kinds with her humorous acting, beautiful ballads, and iconic vibrato. No one who has seen “Yentl” or “Funny Girl” could ever deny her musical ability or her comedic timing. Love Is The Answer proves, once again, her longevity as a performer. For those readers who are looking for Barbra Streisand: The Comedian, they’ll just have to wait until the film “Little Fockers,” which is set to come out in July of 2010.
4 out of 5 stars