This week sees the release of Barbara Streisand’s album Release Me. Eleven songs in length, it features a selection of unreleased songs, and sets about reminding listeners why it is that Barbra Streisand has been able to sustain a career of more than 60 albums.
The instant that Release Me begins to play you are immersed into a vat of intimacy; the banter between Streisand and her studio crew makes you feel like you are there, privy to its recording. It is a delightful quirk which colours the album with charm however it is easy to imagine that some listeners will not appreciate these tiny interludes between the songs.
The general and overwhelming feel and theme of the album comes in the form of love. The romance, need, want, desire, heartbreak and heartache are clear in the song choices and indeed Streisand’s delivery of them and you cannot fault her vocal delivery; it is pitch perfect. Her natural vibrato is a joy to listen to and is utilised well in her choice of ballads. This matched with Streisand’s innate ability to tell a story through song mean that this album has the same intensity of her better known tracks.
Yet I cannot help but feel that it is a very safe album; it is very static with a tempo and ambiance that does not change. Whilst it is very relaxing you cannot help but feel that the album doesn’t really say anything new about Barbra Streisand. Nevertheless, there are a few tracks that are particularly lovely. The lyrics of Two Win A Friend are easy to relate to, it is a similar story to ABBA’s Winner Takes It All but completely different in sound and Mother and Child is mind-blowing, simply for the sequence in the song that sees Streisand duet with herself.
Overall, Streisand fans will like the album, but next time she releases an album I’d hope that it feels a bit more varied.