The Odd Couple
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a big fan of Barry Manilow. I'm not a Fanilow, just a fan of his music. Barry will be releasing a new collection of his ode to the decades this September. Hopefully, this will be the final installment of a lackluster collection of hits that began with the fifties and is hopefully ending with the seventies. Barry is one of many artists under the iron wing of Clive Davis and, as anyone who knows Clive, artists over the age of twelve are relegated to recording cover albums. Clay Aiken said recently in an interview that he was strongly urged by you-know-who to go in that direction, but he wisely resisted. Not Kelly Clarkson style, but in his own gentile way by mixing original songs, some of which he wrote, and cover songs based on Clive's formula of success. However, artists like Barry and Rod Stewart, seem to be doomed to this kareoke existence in order to keep a pulse beating in their career. Too bad because Paul McCartney who is older than the both of these guys is still kicking ass in the songwriting department and doing very well under Starbucks' label.
What you will find in this latest collection of Barry's hits from the seventies is middle-of-the road classics that he didn't already cover on his last ode to the seventies 'Summer of '78'. This batch of songs will include a duet with, and I feel like barfing when I write this, Rosie "I can't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow" O'Donnell on Elton John's "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart". If this is supposed to boost album sales, I'm not quite sure if it won't backfire given Rosie's history of instability lately, but it should be one track to skip over should you decide to purchase this CD. If you do purchase it, skip the regular version and go for the deluxe package which will include a second CD filled with Barry's greatest hits, which were re-arranged and recorded acoustically. Yes, 'Mandy' will be there too, but Barry has apparently omitted his signature huge orchestrations and opted for a minimalist approach to these beauties. On the flip side of that bonus CD, you will find a DVD with an inside look at the making of the collection which is always fun to watch.
If you decide to skip it altogether, that's okay. Barry will have a new jazz based Christmas collection coming out later this Fall for Hallmark and I hear that one is really great!