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Album Review: Barbra Streisand - Release Me

16 November 2012 | 9:43 am | Jake Dennis

The liner notes already hint at a follow-up release, and considering the excellent quality of this album we should expect another triumph.

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Spanning a recording career that began in the 1960s and continues to this day, this collection of rarities presents a stunning selection of 11 previously unreleased songs from the incomparable Barbra Streisand. This is an album of releases in two senses: the soaring freedom of Streisand's voice and the release of tracks which have been stored away since recorded. Some tracks even contain recording-studio chatter; a clever touch that creates the feeling that you've been given privileged access to the temperature-controlled vaults that preserve the efforts of Streisand's illustrious recording career.

The album begins with the ambitious and divinely executed Being Good Isn't Good Enough, which illustrates the “I'm going to show the world I deserve to be a star” assertiveness of some of Streisand's best work. This is followed by the melancholic and melodic classic Didn't We before the album's only misstep – a plodding rendition of Willow Weep For Me. However, a brief foray into country music on Try To Win A Friend followed by a stunning piano-and-vocal-only performance of I Think It's Going To Rain Today showcase Streisand's stellar ability to illuminate the heart of lyrics. Amid the predominately musical theatre tunes there is the pleasant surprise of a lyrically and melodically challenging bossa nova song, and an innovative track about childhood in which Streisand duets with herself and enacts the roles of a comforting mother and a daughter afraid of the dark. Streisand will enchant new listeners with this release and keep her passionate fans satisfied. The liner notes already hint at a follow-up release, and considering the excellent quality of this album we should expect another triumph.