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Barry Manilow's 'Night Songs' arises jazzy nostalgia in listeners

By Emily Lewson
On March 26, 2014

With his latest album, "Night Songs," Barry Manilow reintroduces the jazzy mix of voice and piano. The songs are nostalgic of the good old days, bringing about a relaxing, ethereal feeling.
Manilow as an American singer-songwriter continues to enhance his successful career. Since 1973, the artist has released 29 studio albums, four live albums, 15 compilation albums and 57 singles. In 1978, he had five albums concurrently on the bestseller list. He is one of few people to receive a Grammy, a Tony and an Emmy, among many other awards. Most famously, Manilow is known for "Copacabana (At the Copa)," "Can't Smile Without You" and "Mandy."
Despite his past achievements, Manilow is now 70 years-old. Although most artists are finished by his age, he successfully continues his career. After recently finishing a U.S. tour, Manilow is now in the UK impressing his fans. That same energy and passion to produce music has brought about "Night Songs."
Thankfully, "Night Songs" continues the Barry Manilow tradition of simple voice and piano duets. His last album, "15 Minutes," released in 2011, attempted a rock-opera style of music; Manilow even tried rapping in one song. This attempt to connect with younger generations failed miserably and Manilow received great censure for the bold foray. However, "Night Songs" is sure to be received with greater enthusiasm.
On the new album, 10 songs are from Broadway and film musicals. Manilow took less well-known music; most songs are unidentifiable to the average listener. His version of Bing Crosby's "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" is different enough that it becomes hard to place; however, the familiarity of the classic remains comforting. As a whole, the music is redefined in Manilow terms.
Besides the familiarity of the music, the way it was created is reminiscent of simpler times. According to "All Voices," every song has been recorded without auto tune or other electronic enhancement. This return to the classic Barry Manilow was an ingenious move on his part. The lack of production enhancements allows the music to be incredibly reminiscent of the times passed. With this memorable feeling, "Night Songs" becomes a passage that older generations can take back to their youth. For his die-hard fans, this album will undoubtedly be cherished for years to come.
Although Manilow's newest album will likely receive criticism from the press, his sales are always high. Perhaps fan's loyalty keeps this man in business. His baritone voice and musical talent have been the main factors in his successful career. While the press may refuse to grant Manilow reprieve, his 41 year career has successfully outlasted countless other artists.
That being said, Manilow speaks to a specific audience, which is typically not of university students. Therefore, this album would make a great present for any parent. Take a listen to his latest release next time you visit home and revel in the accomplishments of a successful artist.
6/10


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