Streisand’s moody and effective new record takes pointed aim at the president, but its pleasures also stem from its lack of pretentiousness.
At the beginning of 2018, there were many things I didn’t imagine myself doing at the end of 2018. One of them is reviewing a Barbra Streisand record about Donald Trump and the hell-world we live in. Another is actually liking it.
For Walls, her 36th (!) studio album and the first in over a dozen years to include this much original material, Babs returns with her target squarely set on Trump amid a wave of anti-Semitism and fascism both in America and abroad. To put a fine point on it: The whole thing is very timely.
Earlier this week, Streisand explained to The New York Times that the impetus for this record was sleepless nights. “I would lie awake at night with Trump’s outrages running through my head,” she explained, “and I had to do another album for Columbia Records, so I thought, why not make an album about what’s on my mind?”
And so one of our most cherished women entertainers digs in on the president — unmistakably, though never mentioning him by name — over a series of new originals like the Spanish-guitar-laden “What’s on My Mind” and “Don’t Lie to Me,” the sorrowful tone of which makes it play like a ballad about the end of the world. The song is radio-friendly, but doesn’t force a more youthful sound the way Madonna’s latest work, for example, often does; there are fun drum machines and other modern flourishes here, but no dubstep track (thankfully).
The whole record is crisply produced and avoids too much fussiness, even though it’s big and bombastic in many ways, made by a cadre of top-shelf producers. It hits just the right level of Streisandian musical-theater schmaltz, and I say that as high praise; there’s plenty of earnest melodrama to go around, from the empowerment anthem of “The Rain Will Fall” to the balladry of “Better Angels.”
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter – Jonny Coleman