Gay Times UK
byÂ Darren ScottÂ
REVIEW: Bette Midler – Itâ€™s The Girls!
The girls get another outingâ€¦
Itâ€™s been eight years since her Grammy-nominated Christmas album, Cool Yule, and The Divine Miss M has finally been coaxed back into the studio by long-time fan, friend and collaborator Marc Shaiman.
And oh boy – or should that be oh girl? – what a pairing. Itâ€™s The Girls – a collection of classic songs by girl groups – is an absolutely joyous production. Itâ€™s uplifting, itâ€™s happy, itâ€™s funny, itâ€™s sad – in fact, itâ€™s the best album weâ€™ve heard all year. The fun they had making it is blatantly apparent, and infectiously so. Indeed, sheâ€™s touring the album so she must be enjoying herself…
If youâ€™ve ever wanted to be part of a girl group – and lets face it, who hasnâ€™t? – then this is the album for you. You canâ€™t help but sing along. Or, indeed, mime along as we suspect a great number of people will be doing this autumn.
Itâ€™s The Girls is a fantastic return to form for Bette Midler – so much so that in parts it sounds as though youâ€™re listening to one of her first two albums. This is likely no coincidence, given how this music influenced her early career and made Marc Shaiman a fanâ€¦ Thatâ€™s the same Marc Shaiman that wrote the music for Hairspray, which is the perfect fit for this project.
It seems that after two â€˜Songbookâ€™ productions focusing on specific artists – with moments of greatness between
them – Ms Midler has got her groove back. Volume Two please!
Be My Baby (originally performed by The Ronettes)
A faithful, and fantastic, cover and sets the tone of Itâ€™s The Girls brilliantly.
One Fine Day (originally performed by The Chiffons)
Another cover that stays true to the original classic. Itâ€™s still a thrill to hear multiple Betteâ€™s singing backing vocals.
Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (originally performed by The Andrews Sisters)
What would a Bette Midler girl group covers album be without The Andrews Sisters? Again, the vocals are spectacular and all by Bette.
Baby Itâ€™s You (originally performed by The Shirelles)
A slowed-down, piano and guitar heavy interpretation. Beautiful.
Tell Him (originally performed by The Exciters – and later covered by Quentin and Ash!)
Upbeat again – how could it not be? Joyous, fun and yes, just a tad camp.
Heâ€™s Sure The Boy I Love (duet with Darlene Love, originally performed by The Crystals)
One of those brilliant â€˜everyone sings the backing vocalsâ€™ moments, which is perfect considering itâ€™s a duet with the equally brilliant Darlene Love. And if youâ€™re not familiar, you need to watch 20 Feet From Stardom NOW.
Mr Sandman (originally performed by The Chordettes)
Wonderful. The classic you know and love but with a classic Better Midler twist – Hawaiian!
Come And Get These Memories (originally performed by Martha & The Vandellas)
Another of the stripped-down numbers – originally upbeat, this slow version makes Come and Get These Memories a real heartbreak record.
Too Many Fish In The Sea (originally performed by The Marvelettes)
This. Is. Brilliant. Properly old-school Midler, in this case she herself plays her original backing singers, The Staggering Harlettes and engages in conversation with herself as the record ends. Hilarious.
Teach Me Tonight (originally performed by The DeCastro Sisters)
Another faithful and fantastic cover. For The Boys 2.
Waterfalls (originally performed by TLC)
The most recent cover on the album – though other options were considered – and itâ€™s a bit of a tearjerker that stops you in your tracks and makes you actually listen to the lyrics and the emotion in them. Stripped down, slowed down and allowing sensitive vocals to accompany a pianoâ€¦ If weâ€™re going back to original Bette Midler, this is her new Hello In There.
You Canâ€™t Hurry Love (originally performed by The Supremes)
Hillbilly pop, joyously upbeat, banjo-twanging brilliance. Love it.
Give Him A Great Big Kiss (originally performed by The Shangri-Las)
This might actually be more upbeat than the original, but itâ€™s definitely funnier – yes sheâ€™s back talking with her backing singers (ie herself). We didnâ€™t realise how much we missed it until this album.
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (originally performed by The Shirelles)
This gets the slowed down treatment – not that Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow was ever a particularly upbeat number. Of course, itâ€™s beautiful.
Itâ€™s The Girl (originally performed by The Boswell Sisters)
The 1930s jazz song that inspired the album! Great fun and a faithful cover.