Moonlight Serenade

Studio Album by released in 2005
Moonlight Serenade's tracklist:
Moonlight Serenade
I've Got You Under My Skin
I Only Have Eyes for You
Moonglow
Alone Together
In the Still of the Night
The More I See You
Where or When
My One and Only Love
All the Things You Are
How Long Has This Been Going On

Moonlight Serenade review

Carly Simon was one of the most popular of the confessional singer/songwriters who emerged in the early '70s. She could spin vintage Black Sabbath into the musical equivalent of buttery, well-warmed comfort food. Not surprisingly, much like her earlier trio of classics from the Great American Songbook (1981's Torch, 1990's My Romance, and 1997's Film Noir), Carly positively nails the 11 standards collected on Moonlight Serenade. Her brand new album of romantic songs features new tracks in collaboration with her old friend and hit producer Richard Perry. All of the songs are upbeat in a "fox-trot" kind of style, and Carly's heartfelt vocals are simply divine. There is no doubt that the Simon/Perry magic that worked so well in the 1970's is very much alive and well in 2005. Moonlight Serenade showcases Carly Simon's dusky and sensual vocal stylings on romantic standards penned by some of the world's greatest songwriters including Glenn Miller, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II, George & Ira Gershwin, and Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz.

Moonlight Serenade is the best of her previous collections of pre-rock standards, and one of the best albums of standards yet recorded by a singer of Simon's generation. It beats the pants off of similar sets by Linda Ronstadt and Rod Stewart, for example. For one thing, Simon is simply a great singer, even at this late stage in her career; she's taken care of her instrument, and her tone throughout Moonlight Serenade is superb, as is her increasingly jazzy and unconventional phrasing. (Listen to her subtle but effective vibrato on All The Things You Are, for starters.) More importantly, Simon chooses songs to suit her voice, not her audience's expectations, which means that along with such familiar tunes as I Only Have Eyes For You, listeners are treated to readings of relative obscurities like My One and Only Love instead of the umpteenth rendition of Stardust. Confident interpretations and respectable playing aside, what you hear on Moonlight Serenade is naturalness and joy, a spirit that bespeaks Simon at her peak. That spirit's power to transform ballads and soft rock songs into instant classics grabbed the 70's generation by the collar. With Moonlight Serenade, we thankfully see that spirit sweeps across a ballroom with the same fullness and fire.

Simon demonstrates on her fourth album of standards that she remains an assured and expressive stylist, quite comfortable with the exquisite melodic and lyrical subtleties. Moonlight Serenade digs a little deeper than her previous outings. Perhaps it's the plethora of standards outings by popular artists – Rod Stewart's done three in a row – perhaps it's because of her pedigree and background; perhaps it's simply because she thinks she can pull it off, and indeed she can. She delivers these 11 songs with panache, savvy, and just a touch of sass. Produced by Richard Perry, these tracks are not so much elegant as enigmatic. Simon appreciates the swing inherent in delivering a standard, even if it's a ballad. Moonlight Serenade fulfills the aesthetic promise Carly first made with 1981's Torch, the groundbreaking album of pre-rock and non-rock cover songs that foreshadowed the trend of contemporary singers performing pop standards. .

(19.08.2005)
Rate review3.75
Total votes - 4


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