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28 October 2009

Barbra's record

YOU MAY have heard that Barbra Streisand made history this month with her latest album, Love Is the Answer. She topped the album charts in the US and the UK, shocking industry observers who predicted tough battle for #1 between new releases by the younger Mariah Carey and the much younger band Paramore. (To make things more relevant, Madonna's new album also showed up near the top of those charts.)

By topping the charts, Ms. Streisand—who remains the female singer with the most #1 albums—created records as the only female artist with #1 albums in each of the past five decades, and as the female artist with the longest span of #1 albums. This enhances the legend of Ms. Streisand, as I'm not sure if this feat can be repeated again by any other female singer in our generation.

Now comes the news that Love Is the Answer debuts this week on Billboard Top Jazz Albums at #2! I'm not sure if Ms. Streisand has ever shown up on jazz charts during her 47-year career, but this certainly becomes the legendary pop singer's highest jazz-charting album ever. She's not really known as a jazz artist (cabaret singer? lounge diva, perhaps?), but I do recall a Playboy magazine poll back in the late 70s, and her name showed up on "favorite jazz vocalist" list.

Love Is the Answer has become Barbra Streisand's best received album since 1985's award-winning The Broadway Album. Critics all agree on one thing: Love Is the Answer sparkles with the shimmering finesse of a glorious singing voice. I got my copy last week, on the eve of my overseas travel, and I agree with what the critics have assessed. I'll post up my further thoughts on the album when I return next week.

Congratulations, Ms. Streisand! Here's seeing you collect your next Grammy Award in February!

"Love Is the Answer" TV commercial
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