Saturday, January 31, 2009

WC: A Sea of CDs

I don't mean the CDs that have money in them. I mean those old-fashioned, round, shiny things that some of us middle-aged people still use rather than iPods. (It was only two minutes ago that CDs were the miraculous future of recorded music, but the future comes and goes quickly these days.)

Since I own hundreds of CDs (to be honest, I'm not sure how it happened), I decided that it would be interesting to actually listen to them. All of them. Not just the ones that are on frequent rotation. I considered listening to them in alphabetical order, or by category, or chronologically, but I decided that random order suits me best.

As it happened, the first CD was Kristin Chenoweth's Let Yourself Go, which includes a range of show songs and standards, along with an art song or two. Chenoweth's timing was excellent: she recorded the CD just as she was supposed to become a TV star with her sitcom Kristin. I assume that is why she got to sing with a band rather than the single piano that so many Broadway performers have to settle for. Kirstin turned out to be a flop the size of which hadn't been seen since, well, Nathan Lane's sitcom, but the CD was already made.

And a lovely CD it is. It largely shows Kristin at her best, relying on the extraordinary beauty of her voice with subtle phrasing, as opposed to Kristin at her worst, when she flounces around demanding, "Love me, love me!" I think that she is prodigiously talented but not always good. In this CD, however, she is wonderful. Her My Funny Valentine is the best I've ever heard, with a simple declarative style that allows the one little catch in her voice late in the song to express a world of emotion.

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