Make Valentine's Day last all month!
If you're looking to take the romantic mood of Valentine's Day into the rest of your month, you can't go wrong with picking up some music to set that mood. If your sweetheart is into Celine Dion, Sony has just reissued her 2002 comeback album A New Day Has Come, which includes the hit title track as well as "I'm Alive" and "Have You Ever Been in Love." The new edition of the disc includes a DVD with videos and a "making of the album" segment that's perfect for a night kicked back on the couch.
Anne Murray makes an interesting comeback with Duets Friends & Legends on EMI. The disc finds the classic singer reprising her first hit 1970's "Snowbird" with Sarah Brightman, reliving her biggest hit, 1978's"You Needed Me" with the help of Shania Twain and bringing on Olivia Newton-John to sing on her cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Cotton Jenny," a mild hit for her back in 1972. She puts a country feel to The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" with the help of Nelly Furtado and brings on Shelby Lynne for The Beatles' "You Won't See Me" (both songs she turned into remake hits in the '70s).
Also on board for duets are Martina McBride, Dusty Springfield, Emmylou Harris, Jann Arden, k.d. lang, Carole King, Amy Grant and more. It's a nice trip down memory lane -- kind of like listening to the oldies channel with the voices all shifted around.
EMI also offers a new live album from Olivia Newton-John in Olivia's Live Hits. Unfortunately, while Murray covers the effects of age on her voice by bringing on a host of talent to support her, Olivia has no such help in masking the liver spots in a live setting. It doesn't help that the backing music sounds more like musak than a pop band. The whole production seems like a thin Vegas performance by an Olivia impersonator -- I wouldn't have even guessed that the first track, "Have You Never Been Mellow" was even performed by the original singer if I hadn't put the disc in myself. There's no recapturing that simple purity of girlish voice that Oliva had in the '70s. And her cover of "Physical" strips all the heat out of the original hit to turn it into a weak lounge ballad. For Olivia completists, she also performs "Magic," "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "You're the One That I Want," "Xanadu" and more. But for my mood money, I'd pick up the studio versions of these hits -- which in their original form, were amazing bits of pop music.
Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs
The Legacy label has paired up with Arista, Columbia and RCA to put together a handful of new "oldies" collections by some of the classic crooners of the past 50 years in its Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs series.
Aretha Franklin, Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and Barry Manilow each get their own disc in the series, each CD featuring 12-16 songs:
Ol' Blue Eyes' material is taken from his early period and features a host of standards, from "Star Dust," "Night and Day," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and "September Son," to "I've Got a Crush on You," "Begin the Beguine" and more.
Aretha clocks in with ""Misty," "Freeway of Love," "When You Love me Like That" "Unforgettable" and her duet with James Brown, "Gimme Your Love."
Billie Holiday's collection offers "These Foolish Things," "Summertime, "Body and Soul," "All of Me" and more, and Miles Davis' set includes classic standards like "Stella By Starlight," "I Loves You Porgy" and "My Funny Valentine."
Finally, Manilow, the most contemporary of the bunch, offers his pop hits "Could it Be Magic," "Weekend in New England," and"Somewhere in the Night" alongside his covers of standards like "Stardust," "Unchained Melody," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
If you're over 30, you're bound to find some nostalgic music that's perfect for setting a cozy mood among these discs!