Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Peerless Performer: Streisand Is in Top Form with a Collection That Reminds Us Why We Loved Her in the First Place

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Peerless Performer: Streisand Is in Top Form with a Collection That Reminds Us Why We Loved Her in the First Place

Article excerpt

The Movie Album * Barbra Streisand * Columbia

As Streisand gently glides through the initial lyric of Charlie Chaplin's oft-covered "Smile," an inner war will ensue--even within the diva's most die-hard disciple. At first, the idea of Streisand embracing a pop warhorse too schmaltzy for even an American Idol wanna-be will draw sneers. But as she moves deeper into the song, the passion that underlines her performance becomes infectious. It's a masterful opening to a recording that firmly reasserts Streisand as a peerless performer.

The inner war sparked by "Smile," which dates back to the 1936 classic Modern Times, is almost certain to rage on throughout The Movie Album. Unlike her classic The Broadway Album, this film-themed set leans heavily on songs so deeply ingrained in American musical consciousness that she seems to have intentionally stacked the deck against herself. She challenges herself even further by wrapping songs like "Moon River" (from Breakfast at Tiffany's), "But Beautiful" (Road to Rio), and "Calling You" (Bagdad Cafe) with faithful, olden orchestral arrangements. …

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