Itâ€™s been a while since Bette Midler delivered a brand new album, specifically eight years since her last album, the holiday effort, Cool Yule. Although various compilations have arrived since Cool Yule, Midler returns with her covers of great girl-group classics, Itâ€™s The Girls!. Shy of her 69th birthday, Midler certainly sounds in excellent voice throughout the effort, if nothing more. No she doesnâ€™t reinvent herself or the classics that she covers, but overall, Itâ€™s The Girls! is both sound and enjoyable.
The effort opens capably with â€œBe My Baby,â€ a classic courtesy of The Ronettes. A sensational choice to start things, â€œBe My Babyâ€ ranks as one of the high points of Itâ€™s The Girls!. Midler possesses both the power and expressiveness to â€˜killâ€™ this one. She doesnâ€™t do too badly for herself on â€œOne Fine Day,â€ which keeps the tempo quick and amps up the cutesy, tongue-n-cheek sentiment. Midler embraces the style exceptionally.
The Andrews Sisters find themselves in good hands as Bette flexes her musicianship on the equally tongue-n-cheek, jazzy â€œBei Mir Bist du SchÃ¶n.â€ Midler shows things down on â€œBaby Itâ€™s You,â€ initially accompanied by piano before adding strings, guitar, and percussion. This particular cut allows for Midler to show off both poise as well as the robustness of her pipes.
She excites things with The Exciterâ€™s beloved classic â€œTell Him,â€ which is delivered in as spirited fashion as the original. Sure Midler changes little, but her interpretation is at east faithful. She duets with the legendary Darlene Love on â€œHeâ€™s Sure The Boy I Loveâ€, but more captivating results come by way of The Chordettesâ€™ â€œMr. Sandman.â€ Nothing short of a crowd-pleaser, â€œMr. Sandmanâ€ ranks among Itâ€™s The Girlsâ€™ best.
â€œCome and Get These Memoriesâ€ slackens the pace, once more giving Midler the opportunity to truly showcase her voice. While it is performed quite well, â€œCome and Get These Memoriesâ€ just isnâ€™t as interesting as some of the quicker numbers. â€œToo Many Fish in the Seaâ€ smartly contrasts the ballad, reenergizing things.
Following the oft-covered â€œTeach Me Tonight,â€ Midlerâ€™s biggest surprise comes by way of TLCâ€™s â€œWaterfalls,â€ which is transformed into a more stripped ballad. The results are magnificent, giving the song top honors by all means. â€œYou Canâ€™t Hurry Loveâ€ may not match the emotion of â€œWaterfalls,â€ but the folksy, country take is an excellent touch.
â€œGive Him A Great Big Kissâ€ is theatrical, just as its title suggests of The Shangri-Las classic. She tones things down on a somewhat surprisingly reserved interpretation of â€œWill You Still Love Me Tomorrow.â€ Reserved it is, â€œWould You Still Love Me Tomorrowâ€ is still beautiful. â€œItâ€™s the Girlâ€ concludes the effort energetically, angularly, and manically. In other words, itâ€™s a perfect match given Midlerâ€™s background.
Ultimately, Itâ€™s The Girls! is a well-done covers album from a highly regarded actress and vocal diva. No itâ€™s not â€˜the second coming,â€™ but following such a lengthy hiatus from recording, Itâ€™s The Girls! successfully reacquaints the world with â€œThe Divine Miss M.â€ What more is there to ask for? Bette Midler delivers, period.
Favorites: â€œBe My Baby,â€ â€œTell Him,â€ â€œMr. Sandman,â€ â€œWaterfallsâ€