The Look of Love
Review by Wayne Donnelly
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CD Stock Number: Verve 314 549 846-2
Diana Krall has the world on a string. There's that smoky/sultry brandy-and-chocolate voice, nice chops on the piano, and a good sense of the kind of songs that suit her -- although her choices do tend to be safe rather than adventurous. To complement those strengths, the blond hair, good figure and great
gams, supported by glamorous wardrobe, makeup and photography, helps the whole Krall package go down easily.
I have liked her music ever since her first recordings, and have stayed with her through the recent releases, which although very accomplished, are increasingly tilted toward lush production and away from jazz. With
The Look of Love, I have to get off the Krall bandwagon. This album has nothing to do with jazz --
it is all swoopy strings and soft guitars, some kind of easy-listening "adult contemporary." Krall's piano is barely in evidence, and when she does play, it's more cocktail piano that art. But on the other hand, we do get a total of eight -- count'em -- glamour shots in the booklet and back cover -- touseled hair, wet hair, profile, come-hither
peekaboo, and of course those legs. Please select the fantasy of your choice.
This CD reeks of formula. Ten standards, odd-numbered tracks in soft bossa nova style, even-numbered tracks as
ballads.A-B, tick-tock, just like clockwork. Then there's Krall's singing. On the Latin tracks, her model would seem to be Astrud Gilberto's cool style. But Gilberto emanates a hint of something smoldering beneath the cool; Krall's fire seems to be out. And, especially on the ballads, she affects breathy, whispery tones meant, I suppose, to be sexy. But what they really are is monotonous. If you want to hear "Cry Me a River" infused with real heartache, go back and listen to Julie London (London is OK in the glamour department too). Over the years I have tired of Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," but after hearing Krall's tepid traversal a couple of times, I found myself wanting to hear it again. I could go on, but I think you get my drift.
One thing that's certain is that a review like this will have no effect on the sales of this album. Krall has reached the status of an "automatic buy" for her hard-core fans. This CD will make a ton of money, and will doubtless whet the label's appetite for more of the same. But to paraphrase the Bible, "what profiteth an artist if she win the whole world, yet lose her soul." Krall has the stuff to be one of the great jazz stylists, but she could also become the queen of make-out music for this generation's bachelor
pads. C'mon Diana, make some real music again!
Enjoyment: Not much!
Sound quality: 88