My "Retro Rewind Record Review" series continues. Thanks to editor Ian Koss for allowing me to re-print some of my (nearly) forgotten treasures which have appeared originally over the years on Ink19.com.
The Greatest Love Songs of All Time
Arista / Sony Music
Mind-numbing and pointless are the first words that come to my mind when describing the latest offering from one-time chartbusting icon Barry Manilow. Clearly, the "Divine Mr. M." and other legendary artists such as Rod Stewart and Linda Ronstadt have all successfully salvaged their sagging careers by remaking the classics – but c'mon, enough is enough! Barry Manilow is the guy who "wrote the songs that made the whole world sing" (yeah, I know he didn't write that one). And in the spirit of full disclosure, I gleefully admit that "Mandy," "It's a Miracle," "Trying to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England" and "Could This Be Magic?" remain some of my all-time pop faves. Yet now, nearly half of his entire catalog consists of these types of tired remake records. At least when Willie Nelson seemingly began the trend of covering standards in 1978 with his Stardust record, he put his personal signature on the songs, making them fresh and uniquely his own. However, here, Manilow seems simply to be going through the motions.
Longtime producer and industry mogul Clive Davis commented in a recent interview that he and Manilow were "on a mission" with this record "to bring to a new generation the great songs that are the soundtrack of our lives." Uh, whose lives? And at age 66, to what "new generation" does Manilow expect to appeal? It's hard to imagine a nineteen-year-old in 2010 walking into his local Best Buy store and plunking down hard earned cash for the new Chris Brown AND Barry Manilow records. And does anybody really need another version of the theme from Love Story? Really?
If Manilow, one of pop music's all-time greatest songwriters, has in fact run out of material, perhaps he could at least spice up his game a bit. How about Manilow Meets Manson or maybe Barry Belts Bon Jovi? One can only imagine the endless magical possibilities.
Barry Manilow – The Greatest Love Songs of All Time – it's cheaper than Ambien and Xanax, but just as effective.
*Author Christopher Long's latest book,
is available NOW on Amazon.