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Piano Love Songs - Various - Something for everyone

2006-03-29 18:55

It's a pretty uneven ride, from Simon and Garfunkel's sublimely camp "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to REM's eerily brilliant "Night Swimming" (is this a love song?). It lifts off from the classy schlock of Seal's "Kiss from a rose" (unplugged, thank goodness) to the upbeat and light Vanessa Carlton with "A Thousand Miles". Then it dives from David Gray's touching but laboured "Be mine" to Linda Rondstadt and Aaron Neville's syrupy "Don't know much". And keeps going on CD 2 with Phil Collins (why, oh why did he ever take up singing?), to Josh Grogan (who can sing, pity about the songs), and then confusingly McCartney & Stevie Wonder's rather naf and politically "Ebony & Ivory", which is almost certainly NOT a love song.

All this genre jumping results in an uneasy salad of styles. Although there's at least a 14 track album's worth of classic, wonderful stuff, it's all mixed up with a lot of trash you'll wish you could edit out.

Who are the producers trying to please? It's unclear. If you're deeply moved by the romantic bits in afternoon soap operas or by bank adverts, you're going to find half the music too grungy. And if you're can't bear emotional histrionics, you'll be skipping every second track. What a pity the guys in charge didn't at least think to put the schlock on one CD and the good stuff on the other, so that they could have been sold separately, or listened to separately depending on whether you were feeling besotted or broken-hearted.

Perhaps the point is precisely that there's "something for everybody" on this album. Most tracks will ring a bell with anyone who's listened to radio since the early 80s. And however different the songs may be from one another, you can hardly miss completely with 36 hit tracks to choose from! There is some wonderful stuff here you might have forgotten, like Kate Bush's "The man with the child in his eyes", Simply Red's "Holding back the years", Tori Amos's "Crucify" and Anita Baker's "Sweet love".

- Jean Barker


"As the title says, these are all piano-driven tracks, most of which are pop classics and, as such, particularly good for a road trip."
- KwaZulu-Natal Tonight

"...what's up with that "piano based" marketing tag? Simple really: it's all about giving your listener what he or she wants. In this case, it's understated, evocative and, yes, intimate song craft, as opposed to, say, guitar-driven power ballad surges. It's a thoroughly compelling listen..."
- Musica online

Pop, folk, R&B and cheeserock royalty bunged together on a 36 track double CD compilation of love songs featuring piano music? It sounds like a recipe for disaster but there's some really worthwhile stuff on this CD, alongside a lot of nonsense pop.

ROY JACOBY 2004/06/05 9:03 PM
mr We all live in a pretty stressfull world. Softer music has its place and I enjoy this form of music at times, besides, the "older" music is better. yes
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