The Second Disc

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Archive for May 7th, 2010

Reissue Theory: Celine Dion, “Falling Into You”

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The Second Disc’s Mother’s Day Mania continues with a Reissue Theory look at Celine Dion’s Falling Into You, the Canadian chanteuse’s fourth English-language LP and one of her all-time best.

Wait, what?

For some, it is weird to label a Celine Dion record as good. Even more forgiving folks will come down hard on her for what some would consider her increasingly schmaltz output over the years (particularly after the inescapable “My Heart Will Go On” helped propel Titanic to an even wider appeal). Those that decry her for being a too-calculated woman in pop need only observe when she was more of a girl – her earnest covers of Jennifer Rush’s “The Power of Love” and Patti LaBelle’s “If You Asked Me To,” or her fantastic contribution (with Peabo Bryson) to the theme to Disney’s superb Beauty and the Beast – and then one might find something to like.

This is perhaps why Falling Into You may be her most satisfying LP (at least to this writer): she ably straddled the girlish and womanly impulses in her ’90s pop niche, and the result was a great mix of tunes that included a few phenomenal covers (“River Deep, Mountain High,” “All by Myself” and Jim Steinman’s superb “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” originally an obscurity by Pandora’s Box!) and light tunes like “Dreamin’ of You” and the title track.

This album largely showcases Dion for what she really is: she’s not heavily reliant on vocal acrobatics (at least, not yet), but she could make a song her own, no doubt about it. If Legacy ever reissues the album, there are a few bonus cuts worth adding for good measure, and you can take a look after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2010 at 11:08

Posted in Celine Dion, Features, Reissues

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Back Tracks: Barry Manilow, Part 1 (1973-1984)

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Where Barry Manilow is concerned, it’s best to let the facts speak for themselves. A Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner, Manilow scored his first Billboard No. 1 album in 1977, his most recent in 2006. His string of hit singles extended from 1974’s chart-topping “Mandy” to 1983’s Top 20 “Read ‘Em and Weep,” with 38 songs hitting the Top 40. He’s recorded over 25 studio albums and released countless more live discs, compilations and soundtracks, and regularly plays to sell-out houses after over 35 years of live performing. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Back Tracks looks at the core recordings of one of Brooklyn’s favorite sons, Barry Manilow.

Rolling Stone called him “the showman of our generation” and Frank Sinatra proclaimed as “next” in line for the chairman’s title. Yet his music has been used to drive teenagers off the streets (or worse) and is often dismissed as corn or schmaltz by some members of the music press. Why the great divide? The great songwriter Irving Berlin is believed to have once said, “There’s an element of truth in any idea that lasts long enough to be called corny.” And for nearly 40 years now, Barry Manilow has rarely strayed from his chosen path of recording lush, unabashedly romantic music filled with optimism and hope. These are clearly truths for Manilow, and if that makes his music “corny,” perhaps the term is a compliment. Many diverse influences created the Barry Manilow sound known to the world today, and all of those influences – jazz, classical, Tin Pan Alley, Motown, the Broadway musical, Brill Building rock and roll – are most evident on his earliest recordings as he honed his familiar production and vocal style. Read on after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 7, 2010 at 10:28

Posted in Barry Manilow, Features, Reissues

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Friday Feature: “Dirty Dancing”

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Dirty Dancing is one of those movies that, on paper, should be a massive dud. It’s a painfully by-the-numbers tale – rich girl becomes emotionally, culturally and sexually liberated by a dashing stranger and the art of (you guessed it) dirty dancing – but it is one of those movies that will not disappear from the public eye. And frankly, it’s not hard to see why.

Yes, as a story, Dirty Dancing is nothing special. But the production is something to behold. It immortalized its two young leads, Jennifer Grey as “Baby” and the late, great Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle; it featured a phenomenal set of moves from acclaimed choreographer Kenny Ortega (enjoying a second wave of success with the High School Musical franchise and what would have been Michael Jackson’s This is It Tour). But most of all, it featured a wide array of songs that at once celebrated the early-’60s setting of the film and the best of late-’80s balladeering.

And it’s catnip for many women to a fascinating degree. One could conceivably do a scientific study on the far-reaching popularity of the film, which has spun off a semi-sequel, a dance-instruction DVD and plenty of other ephemera. (It’s a multi-generational appeal too; in my junior year of high school Dirty Dancing was somehow voted by our class to be the collective favorite movie in 2004).

Like the film itself (which was actually just reissued on DVD in time for Mother’s Day), the music from the film has seen a lot of repackaging. Join us as we provide you with a Mother’s Day treat and reflect on the many Dirty Dancing albums over the years.

Have the time of your life (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2010 at 09:30

The Sun Still Shines on T.V.

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Talk about timing. With hours to go before a-ha played their first U.S. date in years, the band’s official Web site revealed a delightful pair of track lists for the promised deluxe editions of Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days from Rhino. The sets should be ready to pre-order May 11, says the band’s site, and will be in the hands of fans by June.

Check out these stunning track lists and some more a-ha thoughts and treats after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2010 at 02:03

Posted in a-ha, News, Reissues