First fan impressions of the new ‘Guilty Pleasures’ songs: They are great!! Strong melodies and very nice production with a still wonderful voice of Barbra!!
Two songs are ballads: Hideaway and Without Your Love and one is more up-tempo:
Night Of My Life with a strong Barry falsetto backup.
“Guilty Pleasures” is produced by Barry Gibb & John Merchant; Executive
Producers are Barbra Streisand & Jay Landers.
Songs were written by Barry and his sons Ashley and Stephen. They proved ideal partners.
Barry approached the creative challenge of developing material for Barbra as a good opportunity to write songs with his sons Ashley and Stephen. They proved ideal partners, as each contributed to Barry’s ever growing palate of musical colours. Soon demos arrived for the romantic “Golden Dawn”, “Hideaway”, “Without Your Love”, and the topical “Stranger In A Strange Land”. Each song uniquely different, but with a common thread of sophisticated pop elegance. Hearing them in these early stages, it was easy to imagine Barbra bringing her own brilliant interpretive skills to them… locating the deepest values in each composition.
It was important to both Barbra and Barry to aim towards an even balance of romantic, celebratory, rhythmic, reflective and thoughtful material. As much as Barry wanted Barbra to luxuriate in rich melodies, he also wanted her to display her youthful and exuberant side, so he created the paean to ‘ 50’s era prom nights with “Come Tomorrow”, and the soulful, country-tinged “It’s Up To You”. Recalling Barbra’s brief but highly successful forays into dance music with Donna Summer on “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” and the equally driving “The Main Event”, — not to mention his own singularly important contributions to the genre he sent Barbra the supercharged “Night Of My Life”. Knowing her concern for human rights, he wrote the Middle-Eastern flavoured “All The Children”.
Three songs merit special attention. When Barry, co-producer/ engineer John Merchant and Ashley Gibb met with Barbra’s to go over the songs with her, they brought a demo for “Above The Law”. (The title was conceived as a sly wink to “Guilty”.) As Barbra listened, a counter-melody came to her mind, almost fully formed. She sang it to Barry, and the next day, he had incorporated it into the song…thus the first Gibb/Streisand composition was born.
“(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away” was a song Barry had written for his late-brother Andy, who recorded it in 1978. With his untimely passing, the song took on a larger meaning, as the Bee Gees performed it in concert, as a sweet elegy to their youngest sibling. In preparation for the album, Barbra was listening to the Bee Gees version of the song, which had appeared as a bonus cut on their Greatest Hits CD. She recognized the classic nature of the song, and asked Barry if he’d consider revisiting it for her album.
Finally, “Letting Go” was a song Barry had written in 1984. He’d even sent it to Barbra, who loved it but didn’t have the right project to give it the importance she felt it deserved. Barry ultimately recorded “Letting Go” himself, including it in a film soundtrack he was working on called “Hawks”. “All things in time”, someone once said. Two decades after first hearing the haunting melody, Barbra finally recorded the song.
While they were sequencing this album, trying different combinations of songs to achieve the best flow, “Letting Go” was always placed as the final cut. Barbra recorded her vocal in a stunning single take at The Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage. The famed recording facility on the Sony Pictures lot was formerly the MGM Scoring Stage, where Judy Garland had recorded “Over The Rainbow” just to mention one of legendary voices whose echoes are ingrained in the vast studio. It was clear to everyone that night, including Barry, who’d waited so long for his song to find it’s home, that it could only be the album’s closer.
“Reuniting with Barry was wonderful”, says Barbra. “I love his voice and the passion that comes through in his melodies. Singing with him on the duets was a delight, and singing to his background vocals (or as he calls them “The BG’s Choir”) is always inspiring”. “It’s almost as though the combination of our two voices creates a third voice”.
It quite natural to view this collection as a sequel of sorts to “Guilty”. Both the album title and cover art are designed to acknowledge the unavoidable comparison. Still, Barbra and Barry’s hope is that the album stands on its own merit as a unique listening experience.
As witness to the good feelings shared during the vocal sessions for this album, I can report, that both the producer and artist were truly there for the enjoyment of each other’s gifts…making music for the pure joy it. As you listen to the results of their rekindled union…it’s almost like eating ice cream when you are on a diet. In fact, you might say that listening to this album is the sweetest kind of guilty pleasure.
A special “Guilty Pleasures” website with much more info about the realisation of the new album etc. you’ll find at: http://blog.columbiarecords.com/barbra/