Haven’t done a What’s on your iPod in forever…I’m in a blogging mood – and did a bunch of iTunes burning…The way it works is that I play my iTunes on shuffle, and review the first 5 tracks that come on…
“Celebrate” by Jordin Sparks & Whitney Houston – I always get a bid sad knowing that this is one of Houston’s last recordings. And even though it’s a bouncy disco number, it’s still pretty poignant to hear. Houston’s storied voice is pretty much intact – a bit huskier and slightly thicker, but because she’s not called on to do much soul-wailing, she sounds great. Sparks is also good, a sunny offset to Houston’s darker tones. Because of her diminished vocal capacity, Houston doesn’t nearly dominate this track as she would’ve if she were at her peak (just listen to any of her other duets in her career to hear the pop diva obliterate her singing partners on vinyl – Jermaine Jackson in particular sounds like he never had a chance).
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by Sandra Bernhard – Sandra Bernhard is a polarizing singer. Some people find her voice distinct, others think it’s grating. I’m a fan. This is from a mid 90s musical album. This is a cover of the late Sylvester’s disco classic. Bernhard starts it off as a pretty, soulful piano ballad, before it becomes a dance-pop, house-lite number. While no one will mistake Bernhard for Streisand, she does have a singular voice and I see her more as a song stylist than singer. And the song’s message of coming out and embracing oneself, falls in line with Bernhard’s mission and vision as an entertainer.
“The Man That Got Away” by Rufus Wainwright – Rufus Wainwright did an album tribute to Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall live album, track-by-track. He’s got a good voice, but it’s slightly nasal and can get whiny, so I can’t listen to him for too long. He does a good job with Garland’s signature tune from A Star Is Born, and he’s backed by an ace orchestra. He doesn’t have Garland’s vocal power or pathos, but in his own way, he sells it with his cheeky reverence for the material.
“Why Do Fools Fall in Love” Diana Ross – another cover, this time Ross’ early 80s cover of Frankie Lymon’s classic song. Ross is in great voice – her peak, really, but the production just about kills the song. It screams faceless L.A. session musicians. It aligns itself with Ross’ Vegas excesses that really took hold on her recording career in the 80s. Still, it was a huge top 10 hit for her, and again, even if it’s pretty soulless, Ross does sing with her customary professionalism and verve.
“Take You to Rio” by Ester Dean – The first time I heard this song during the cartoon Rio, I thought it was Justin Bieber. I then did some research and learned she’s an up and coming singer on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. “Take You to Rio” is a great dance song, that despite its title, has nothing to do with Brazil or bossa nova – in fact, it sounds like something Rihanna would record. Dean’s voice is pleasant, slightly androgynous. It’s good, inoffensive dance pop.