Barbra Streisand, 'What Matters Most'

78 Billboard Rating

The helpful subtitle of Barbra Streisand's follow-up to her surprise 2009 hit 'Love Is the Answer' is 'Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman' And so she does, offering up performances of 10 songs she previously hadn't recorded by the Bergmans, who wrote some of the singer/actor's signature numbers, including "The Way We Were" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." (A two-disc deluxe edition contains 10 of those classics.) Many of the tunes are familiar from other renditions, of course: "The Windmills of Your Mind," which Streisand partly sings a cappella, won an Academy Award in 1968 and appeared on Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis (1969); and Michael Feinstein tackled "The Same Hello, the Same Goodbye" for 2008's The Sinatra Project. As always, though, Streisand sings the material like it was written expressly for her, elongating phrases at will and slowing most of the tempos to a luxurious Old Hollywood crawl. What matters most? Babs' bliss.

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