Review: Bette Midler Proves She’s Still Got It On ‘It’s The Girls!‘
Brent M Faulkner
November 7th, 2014 1:30pm EST
It’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, It’s The Girls!. Shy of her 69th birthday, Midler certainly sounds in excellent voice throughout the effort, if nothing more. No she doesn’t reinvent herself or the classics that she covers, but overall, It’s The Girls! is both sound and enjoyable.
The effort opens capably with “Be My Baby,” a classic courtesy of The Ronettes. A sensational choice to start things, “Be My Baby” ranks as one of the high points of It’s The Girls!. Midler possesses both the power and expressiveness to ”˜kill’ this one. She doesn’t do too badly for herself on “One Fine Day,” 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 “Bei Mir Bist du SchÃ¶n.” Midler shows things down on “Baby It’s You,” 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 Exciter’s beloved classic “Tell Him,” 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 “He’s Sure The Boy I Love”, but more captivating results come by way of The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman.” Nothing short of a crowd-pleaser, “Mr. Sandman” ranks among It’s The Girls’ best.
“Come and Get These Memories” slackens the pace, once more giving Midler the opportunity to truly showcase her voice. While it is performed quite well, “Come and Get These Memories” just isn’t as interesting as some of the quicker numbers. “Too Many Fish in the Sea” smartly contrasts the ballad, reenergizing things.
Following the oft-covered “Teach Me Tonight,” Midler’s biggest surprise comes by way of TLC’s “Waterfalls,” which is transformed into a more stripped ballad. The results are magnificent, giving the song top honors by all means. “You Can’t Hurry Love” may not match the emotion of “Waterfalls,” but the folksy, country take is an excellent touch.
“Give Him A Great Big Kiss” is theatrical, just as its title suggests of The Shangri-Las classic. She tones things down on a somewhat surprisingly reserved interpretation of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Reserved it is, “Would You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is still beautiful. “It’s the Girl” concludes the effort energetically, angularly, and manically. In other words, it’s a perfect match given Midler’s background.
Ultimately, It’s The Girls! is a well-done covers album from a highly regarded actress and vocal diva. No it’s not ”˜the second coming,’ but following such a lengthy hiatus from recording, It’s The Girls! successfully reacquaints the world with “The Divine Miss M.” What more is there to ask for? Bette Midler delivers, period.
Favorites: “Be My Baby,” “Tell Him,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Waterfalls”