THE SECOND release from Barbra Streisand's upcoming album Walls is a medley of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World". This is vintage Streisand—or at least the Streisand we all knew way back with recognizable singing traits. The impeccable breathing. The much-copied full-octave glissando. The grammarian's phrasing.
Above all, the story-telling. Ms. Streisand has always sang songs as if they are three-act-plays—a peaceful beginning, a soaring conflict, a dramatic resolution. She's done it again on this medley. Merging the two songs actually works. The context becomes meaningful.
Imagine all the people living life in peace
with skies of blue and clouds of white,
the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night,
and I think to myself, "What a wonderful world!"
To paraphrase two other Lennon and Armstrong songs, "Woman, it's so nice to have you back where you belong."