Music And Concerts



Bette (2000)

Billboard peak: # 69

Tracks: "That's How Heartaches Are Made" - "In These Shoes" - "God Give Me Strength" - "Just My Imagination" - "Love TKO" - "Moses" - "Nobody Else But You" - "Color Of Roses" - "Bless You Child" - "When Your Love Was Low" - "Shining Star"

Listen To Audio Samples

Rolling Stone Magazine (RS 854), Richard Abowitz

On her new album, Bette Midler has gone into the studio with a master of makeovers, producer Don Was, and ended up sounding pretty much the same. That's a good thing. With the exception of the diva dance-club number "Bless You Child," Bette finds Midler backed by her touring band, working ballads and vamps with a distinctive style perfected over decades of performing.

Midler's secret weapon has always been her ability to pick material, and Bette is no exception. Supported by phenomenal work from keyboardist Bobby Lyle, Midler delivers Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello's "God Give Me Strength" with dramatic understatement and then follows it with a gently nostalgic reading of "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)."

The highlight, however, is the cover of Patty Griffin's "Moses," on which Midler stretches into Sheryl Crow territory and comes out with a winning pop tune that manages to have a gospel flourish. More than anything else, as the title suggests, Bette is Midler just being herself.

Drew Wheeler, CDNOW Senior Editor

It's no coincidence that the title of Bette Midler's new album is the same as that of her new situation comedy, and that their debuts are nearly simultaneous. As to which will fare better is yet to be seen, but putting Don Was at the controls of her album may tilt the odds toward her musical side.

Midler's acting career can make listeners forget that her roots are in pop music, as is apparent from the album's opening cut, the pleasant, updated '60s soul-pop melody "That's How Heartaches Are Made." And "Nobody Else But You," Midler's co-write with Marc Shaiman, has a splendidly hooky, Laura Nyro-styled sensibility. A tropical-funk groove infuses "In These Shoes," a Kirsty MacColl tune with a naughty sense of fun, and sinuous West African guitars enliven Patty Griffin's buoyantly exotic "Moses." (Midler's flirtation with techno, "Bless You Child," can be chalked up as a throwaway experiment.) Midler remakes the Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach tune "God Give Me Strength" and turns in a glistening cover of "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," with Motown-like string embellishments.

Midler's fate may be uncertain as she navigates the choppy waters of TV, but as a pop singer, she's still a pretty good Bette.

Jane Stevenson -- Toronto Sun

While Midler sends up her diva image on her new TV sitcom that premiered this past week, she plays it straight on her latest release.

Thank God.

After 1998's campy, uneven Bathhouse Betty, this 11-song collection is a welcome return to form for The Divine Miss M.

Working with studio pros Don Was (producer) and Ed Cherney (recording engineer), Midler delivers a sophisticated, understated assortment of both new songs and old classics.

Among the standouts are the opening track, That's How Heartaches Are Made, a smooth remake of the Elvis Costello-Burt Bacharach collaboration God Give Me Strength, and an even smoother take on soul gems Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) and Love TKO.

For the dance crowd, there's the Latino-flavoured In These Shoes, a jump-up-and-shake-it version of Patti Griffin's Moses and the destined-to-be-club-classic Bless You Child.

Otherwise, anyone wanting some Bette ballads should look no further than Color Of Roses and Shining Star.

CD Universe, Staff

This isn't really the soundtrack to Bette Midler's CBS sitcom, although the show's charming theme song, "Nobody Else But You," is included here. Instead, it's one of Midler's best and most consistent albums, thanks in large part to producer Don Was' canny arrangements, and a smart selection of songs that really seem to engage Midler on an emotional level.

In many ways, this is a ballad-oriented R&B album; Midler covers the Marvellettes' obscure '60s gem "That's the Way Heartaches Are Made," the Temptations' "Just My Imagination" (in a version quite close to the original) as well as hits by Teddy Pendergrass and Earth, Wind And Fire.

She also turns folkie Patty Griffin's wry "Moses" into a world music romp much like some of the uptempo numbers on Paul Simon's GRACELAND, and delivers a stunning take on Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach's latter day classic "God Give Me Strength."

Interestingly, "In These Shoes," a very funny Latin-tinged song that's the only thing here specifically tailored to Midler's comic persona as the Divine Miss M, was co-written by the under-appreciated (in America) singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl.