New York Times: It’s The Girls…One Of Bette Midler’s Best

New York Times
It’s The Girls
Stephen Holden
Nov 3, 2014


The spark of madcap mischief that has lit up Bette Midler’s performances for more than four decades has hardly dimmed, as evidenced by “It’s the Girls!,” her bubbly first studio album in eight years and one of her best. This tribute to girl groups, from the Boswell Sisters to TLC, was produced with Ms. Midler’s longtime collaborator, Marc Shaiman, the composer of “Hairspray,” some of whose songs strongly echo classic ’60s hits produced by Phil Spector. That music, along with Motown, is in Ms. Midler and Mr. Shaiman’s bones, and their fit is as comfortable as ever.

Ms. Midler’s brash, mouthy vocal persona is still capable of sounding playfully transgressive, at least by ’60s standards. She injects songs like the Marvelettes’ “Too Many Fish in the Sea” with a defiant air of girl power, which in those days was synonymous with winning and worshiping a sexy bad boy.

As vintage oldies mellow into latter-day standards, the reverence surrounding them tends to inhibit any remakes, but not here. The tempos are breezy on the album’s remakes of the Exciters’ “Tell Him” and the Chiffons’ “One Fine Day.” A lighthearted, cotton candy version of “Be My Baby” is all the better for not pushing a martial grandiosity.

Not all the songs adhere to the style of the originals. The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman” is infused with zany Hawaiian guitar that makes its funny/gushy lyrics even more amusing.

Most important, Ms. Midler brings her sense of humor. At the end of the Shangri-Las’ hit “Give Him a Great Big Kiss,” she announces that she must rush back to the I.C.U. to visit her sweetheart: “He’s 98, you know,” she explains. “I’ve known him since this record came out.” STEPHEN HOLDEN

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10 thoughts on “New York Times: It’s The Girls…One Of Bette Midler’s Best

  1. I just received an email telling me the Aussie release has been cancelled and so has my album order … nooooo …. oh well, have to import it from America now. The other day they said it will be delayed until March 2015 and now it has been indefinitely put on hold. I cant believe they are not going to release It’s the Girls here. Australia is a big Bette supporter and this is really going to affect the album’s success.

  2. i think this is unbelievable! i was able to buy be my baby, one fine day and my sandman off Australian itunes and then suddenly the whole album has disappeared!!! what a joke, australia is a big market for Bette and this is her best album in so long!

  3. I’m thinking that she is wanting to be in the places in question on the actual release Dates so she can do actual physical promotional stuff. So the USA had there release day yesterday & so for the next two weeks she will be doing a Big P.R Junket over there & then on the 17th it’s released in the UK & she will be here to do TV & Radio Shows for two weeks & then I’m guessing that she will also announce a UK Tour on the 17th on the day of release like she did in the USA & then it will be Christmas/New Year so I’m guessing that’s why it is put back to March so that she can come to Australia to promote it also & remember you were very lucky that she took Kiss My Brass to your Country as we haven’t Experienced the Divine in Concert since the 70’s when I was unfortunately a Tadpole!!! X

  4. I, for one, would release the album globally. Only distribution problems would stop me from doing that. Even if Miss M would only be promoting the album later in places like Australia. It would just give the album a second chance on the charts. But I’m no important industry executive.

  5. Fingers crossed that your prediction is right Miss Orry. xx At the moment there is no release planned here.

    Miss M obviously has a soft spot for the UK … a number of visits for chatshows over the years, a special edition of the Best Bette and Memories of you all for her UK fans. Im thinking a trip back to my homeland of England may be in order next year once a tour is announced! When are they going to start cloning humans so there are 50 Bettes to do everything we want 😉

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