Wallflower Review
02-10-2015, 03:25 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-10-2015, 03:27 PM by Swansteel.)
#1
Wallflower Review
Wallflower Review

I can tell you why I love Diana Krall so much. She knows how to hit my musical sweet spot and hits the bullseye with her latest release Wallflower.

There is so much to love in this little gem of an album. Everything that I personally adore comes together so beautifully that, even this early on, I can firmly place Wallflower within my top five all time favorite albums. It has it all, from gorgeous, heartfelt vocals to soaring string arrangements. And the song choices. What a great selection of tunes we have here. Any album that covers Jim Croce’s Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels) has already scored a boatload of bonus points in my book.

There are those distractors who criticize David Foster’s arrangements here as schmaltzy or too over the top. But as someone who loves, say, Tchaikovsky’s lush romanticism at his most romantic, to me the full string treatment is, shall we say, music to my ears. I am more than happy to sink into a silky pool of strings and let them wash over me. Maybe most modern tastes are turned off by such romantic flourishes. To me, I cannot get enough.

Another thing that Foster brings to his production is an emphasis on the singer’s voice and making it sound as good as possible. Mission accomplished. Krall’s voice sounds so lush and full that it seems to pour into my ears like liquid gold. I think she has possibly never sounded better than she does here, and I can almost drown in the sound of her voice.

For the song selection on this album, Krall chose songs that had great meaning to her in her formative years, and the fact that she is close to my own age means that the songs that mean something to her are also very relatable to me as well. This is a cover album but not of the usual songs you might normally expect. Allow me to run down the list:

California Dreamin’—gorgeous and dreamy.

Desperado—Beautifully melancholy and although the original was never a great favorite of mine, here I really enjoy it.

Superstar—A terrific melody and some particularly strong string arrangements.

Alone Again (Naturally)—I’ve always liked this song and it is one that I was especially looking forward to hearing when I first learned it would be on this album. I wasn’t disappointed.

Wallflower—A lovely little Bob Dylan tune that Krall fills with longing and sweetness.

If I Take You Home Tonight—This song was written recently by Sir Paul McCartney and it is a beaut. Paul has a way of writing tunes that seem so natural and complete it is as if they had fallen from the sky whole. I like this song almost as much as I do This Never Happened Before.

I Can’t Tell You Why—Another Eagles song that I never loved but in Krall’s hands becomes something really beautiful.

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word—A pretty Elton John song sung prettily.

Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)—This song has always been a favorite of mine and I looooove how Krall covers it here. It is so flowing and beautiful that it is, for me, a highlight of the album.

I’m Not In Love—This is another song I’ve always liked from 10cc and Krall elevates to another level. She is good at that.

Feels Like Home—This song, written by Randy Newman, just makes me feel good.

Don’t Dream It’s Over—Who would have thought of doing a cover of this song? It is a surprising inclusion but so beautifully done that it snuggly fits into the overall tapestry of the album and close things off quite nicely.

I’ve been listening to this album every night since purchasing it. The best thing I can say for any album is that I cannot wait until the next time I listen to it again. Putting on my gorgeous Grado PS1000 headphones and putting on this album is about as close to going to heaven as I can imagine.

By the way, I originally got the album from iTunes and recently upgraded to a vinyl version. This answers the question, how do you make a good thing better? That’s how.
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02-10-2015, 07:01 PM,
#2
RE: Wallflower Review
Thanks for the recommendation, Swansteel. I'll have to check it out.

The online jazz station that I listen to fairly frequently plays a lot of Diana Krall. I love her piano playing, but will say that from time to time, I find that deep voice of hers to be a bit disconcerting -- not Karen Carpenter abnormal and weird, mind you, but a bit unnerving sometimes.
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02-10-2015, 08:21 PM,
#3
RE: Wallflower Review
I will always love Karen Carpenter's voice, IMO one of a kind, transcendent
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02-10-2015, 08:34 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-10-2015, 08:41 PM by My Alter Ego.)
#4
RE: Wallflower Review
(02-10-2015, 08:21 PM)Tusk Wrote: I will always love Karen Carpenter's voice, IMO one of a kind, transcendent

For the most part, I'd agree with you -- at least, when you describe Karen's voice as "one of a kind." A few years back, I got their Christmas CD, and while listening, I also was "singing along" -- to the degree that I could. (Mind you, I've been delighted that (ahem) "maturing" or "growing up" as one of my co-workers refers to the "aging process has brought my voice out of the "Mickey Mouse" level into something that sometimes sounds like an adult. It used to be ridiculously high.) But while I was attempting to do this, something really uncomfortable was happening to my throat -- because my voice still isn't that deep. And there is something rather odd about a woman with a singing voice that is quite that low. That doesn't mean that it's bad or wrong -- it's just unusual.
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02-11-2015, 12:25 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-11-2015, 12:34 AM by Swansteel.)
#5
RE: Wallflower Review
(02-10-2015, 07:01 PM)My Alter Ego Wrote: Thanks for the recommendation, Swansteel. I'll have to check it out.

The online jazz station that I listen to fairly frequently plays a lot of Diana Krall. I love her piano playing, but will say that from time to time, I find that deep voice of hers to be a bit disconcerting -- not Karen Carpenter abnormal and weird, mind you, but a bit unnerving sometimes.

I think Diana's voice is dreamy. For a great example of how amazing she is live I HIGHLY recommend her Live In Paris album (and you cannot beat that album on 45 rpm vinyl). Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Heart Smile
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