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| 6 February 2015 | Reply


Label: Long Run Entertainment

Release Date: February 10, 2015

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Forget what you know about Melissa Manchester.  Take away the biggest hits of her career and it is virtually impossible to pigeon-hole her into a single genre.  Her latest, and first studio disc in a decade, keeps you guessing as well, as she weaves between pop, jazz, adult contemporary, and more.  Title track “You Gotta Love The Life,” which features Lee Thornburg, opens the disc and gives you a look into the current flavor of Manchester – a jazzy pop concoction that burns and sizzles with every note.  This track, written last for the disc, nicely conveys Melissa’s point of view regarding music and her career.  Lead single “Feelin’ For You” features a cool guitar solo from none other than blues icon Keb’ Mo’.  The vocals on this track relay the emotion of the lyrics and gives the song a bit of depth.  “Big Light” is a great jazz track that marries the vocals of Manchester and Al Jarreau.  The feel and tempo of the track are different from others, but doesn’t deviate from the vibe of the project as a whole.  “You Are My Heart” is a beautiful track that demonstrates Melissa’s talent as not only a vocalist, but a song writer.  She crafted this song to celebrate the wedding of two friends after a Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage.  “Claudia” is a fun ballad-like jazz track that features Dave Koz on saxophone.  The vocals are light and airy, mixing nicely against the musical accompaniment and arrangement.  One of the more diverse tracks on the disc is “No There There.”  This song, co-written by Paul Reiser, has the makings of a killer jazz track, with a cool arrangement, but the lyrics seem slightly out of sync with the music and tempo of the song.  “The Other One” is a very introspective song that allows Manchester to reflect on her life and career, while making everyone aware of her place in the here and now.

“Be My Baby” is a cool take on a classic, with the song getting a total rework and new attitude.  The smoldering vocals add a sultry feel to the Spector/Greenwich/Barry classic, giving Manchester’s fans another reason to love her.  “Other End Of The Phone” brings two great voices together, as Dionne Warwick lends her talent to the track and brings a new texture to the track when combined with Melissa’s vocals.  This track features one of Joe Samples last recordings, as well as the final lyrics written by songsmith Hal David.  In a different move (as she has done a lot of her career), Manchester mashed together two classic tracks, “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” and “From This Moment On” written by Irving Berlin and Cole Porter respectively.  Her samba-flavored version takes these songs in a new direction, while maintaining the musical integrity of each.  Stevie Wonder lends his harmonica to “Your Love Is Where I Live.”  This song reunites Manchester with Tom Snow, who co-wrote her 1982 smash “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”  This song, while a lot different from the previous effort, is no less powerful in its message or delivery.  “Open My Heart To Your Love” features the familiar pop stylings of Manchester voice.  This song, while a bit mellower than her chart topping hits, has the same power and emotive quality during the verses and chorus.  This song was built for the stage and opens every show on her recent tour.  “I Know Who I Am” opens with a great piano interlude that enhances the vocals and builds the song in its opening moments.  Soon the song adds drums, bass, and a little attitude, taking the song to another place, especially when Melissa belts out the chorus after the second verse.  Bonus track “Something Wonderful” closes out the disc with a mood and vocal that captures the best of Manchester’s musical qualities – her voice.  This collection demonstrates that some sounds never go out of style.





Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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