What Matters Most

Barbra Streisand, is an entertainment grande dame. She’s done everything and has acquired every accolade the entertainment biz can provide: 2 Oscars, 8 Grammy awards and multiple Emmys, Golden Globes and a TONYS et al. She is the inspiration and driver behind some of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever seen. Streisand’s presence is all over Hollywood and the small screen, as “Glee” makes full use of Streisand signature tunes on the television show.

On August 23rd, she returns with yet another album What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand sings the lyrics Alan and Marilyn Bergman, an album of 10 carefully chosen pieces Streisand has not previously recorded in her illustrious nearly 50 year career. Streisand returns with a new album after her 2009 release, Love Is The Answer which rocketed to #1 on the Billboard charts in the United States and topped the charts in the U.K. making her the ONLY artist in history with #1 albums in 5 consecutive decades.

Thus far, I have heard three cuts off the album: “The Windmills of Your Mind,” “That Face,” and “Solitary Moon,” the latter just being aired recently on BBC Radio 2 in a world wide exclusive on Ken Bruce’s show. I have to say (without being too “Gaga”) that Streisand at 69 is still in remarkable voice and sounds to my ear more relaxed and less strained than on her 2009 release. The silkiness of “Solitary Moon” is at once both lush and sensual, the arrangement by Johnny Mandel is beautifully cohesive and carries his signature sweeping orchestral touches.

Streisand explained how the Bergmans have a ‘remarkable gift for expressing affairs of the heart’, noting her long-held desire to devote an entire album to the couple’s ‘amazingly varied and consistently inspired music’. In fact, the affection and respect between the lyricists and the artist is quite something: ‘When we write a song, we hear Barbra,’ the Bergmans said.

There’s still a month to go, but already Streisand fans are drooling for this new album. Perhaps it’s just me

Streisand is still What Matters Most.

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