Sept. 21, 1998
It’s not fair that the Diva Divine makes albums only as vacations from movies and motherhood, for her genius is as a singer-entertainer. Midler‘s vocal voltage and pristine song salesmanship are on display here in tunes by Leonard Cohen, Chuckii Booker, Carole King, Ben Folds–lots of fine folk. Her voice can ache with hard-won wisdom (on the first single, My One True Friend) or smile with the sweet clarity of her Honolulu youth (Gus Kahn‘s 1925 Ukulele Lady). Songs like Laughing Matters, I’m Beautiful and I’m Hip give the album the sassy intimacy of a pep talk from an old friend. But Midler is not aging; those pipes are still brass-bold and silk-smooth. At 52, Bette’s still best.