Bette Midler's 2014 effort, It's the Girls!, finds the legendary vocalist paying homage to female girl groups from the '40s, '50s, and '60s. Never one to be underestimated, however, Midler also brings the homage full circle with a reworking of TLC's 1995 R&B hit "Waterfalls." Midler's 14th studio album and 25th album overall, It's the Girls! follows up her successful compilation Memories of You. Though it represents an all-new effort in the studio, It's the Girls! nonetheless feels like a retrospective, a return to the cabaret and theatrical style of her early career. Working with veteran producers Marc Shaiman and Scott Riesett (both of whom previously helmed albums by Harry Connick, Jr., Mariah Carey, and others), Midler frames her resonant vocal chops with lush arrangements that, while reverential to the original recordings, certainly allow her to express her own personality on each song. Here, we get Midler's take on such classics of '60s girl group pop as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," the Chiffons' "One Fine Day," and the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love." Elsewhere, she turns her attention to more golden-age vocal group standards like the Andrews Sisters' "Bei Mir Bist du Schön" and the Chordettes' "Mr. Sandman." These are brightly produced songs perfectly suited to Midler's vocal style, stage bravado, and cheeky sense of humor.
It's the Girls! Review
by Matt Collar