Corbin Times Tribune
November 10, 1990
Bette Midler, for all her bawdy antics, knows how to put together an album, and no other artist has the same motley taste and quirky style.
The queen of camp has done it again with her new album, “Some People’s Lives.”
Though this new collection keeps alive all the animated personality that made Bette such a star, it shows a great deal more finesse and maturity than her early work. Professionally, she’s done a lot of growing up since her days as The Divine Miss M. (Just look at the difference between “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and “Beaches“.)
For one thing, Bette seems to have developed a fancy for synthesizers, and some songs, like “Moonlight Dancing,” consist almost entirely of keyboard and percussion. She has also picked up a tendency toward night club sounds reminiscent of Streisand, a trait she was beginning to show on the “Beaches” soundtrack.
Of course, none of this interferes with the bawdy, loveable Bette Midler who’s spent years earning a reputation for being outlandish. There are still songs, like “Miss Otis Regrets,” that showcase the outrageous side that made Bette a star.
For the most part though. “Some People’s Lives” is pop music more than any album Bette Midler has ever released.
Of the 11 songs on the tape, about half of them have chart potential.
That’s pretty good for a performer like Midler who likes to fill her albums with vaudeville medleys and Disney tunes.
Just a look at the cover will tell you that this is not the same woman who brought us “Outrageous Fortune” and “Big Business.”\
The comic spirit is still there, but, like a lot of comediennes of her generation, she has tempered it with maturity.
The result is a delightful project intended for listeners who don’t necessarily consider themselves Bette fans.
It’s nice to welcome a performer like Midler into the mainstream, but for those who feel like they’ve lost an old friend, there are still moments, even on this album, when she shows her true colors.
Fear not. The Divine Miss M. is no doubt waiting somewhere for costume Jewelry and Hawaiian prints to come back in style. Until then,
I’m content just to enjoy the mellow sounds of the new Bette Midler.