Rumer, This Girl’s In Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook), EastWest/Warner
To take on standards from the Bacharach and David songbook is a feat many have attempted, and few have truly succeeded at. In the past, vocalist Rumer has spanned the range of covers from specifically male artists (Boys Don’t Cry) to her own personally penned ballads ( Seasons Of My Soul), not to mention flirted with a lifelong love for Bacharach in Rumer Sings Bacharach At Christmas. Her husband, Roy Shirakbari, worked with both Bacharach and Dionne Warwick for decades, and lent his own discerning expertise paired with that of his wife’s during the recording process. The end result is a solid collection of beloved standards and deeper cuts from the Bacharach & David songbook.
Standout track ‘Balance Of Nature’ pairs Rumer’s rich, emotive vocals with exquisite arrangements that embraces the essence of the original. Her voice – vulnerable yet undeniably sturdy – has oft-been compared to that of Karen Carpenter’s. This comparison is on full display in ‘One Less Bell To Answer’, which harnesses the retro essence of the original, hitting the melancholic nostalgia spot in just the right way. ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’, the legendary standard made famous by The Carpenters is pitch perfect in its delivery.
The major downfall of the album lies in its literalness. While fully embracing the essence of the originals, this strength is also equally its weakness. The songs are covers in the truest sense of the word. At times, the record takes a nasty turn down the most cliché of easy listening territory, such as in the unfortunate ‘The Last One To Be Loved.’
Playing it safe, results in carbon copy reproductions that don’t exhibit singularity that separates from the originals, which have been heard time and time again. Considering the prolific quality of Bacharach’s work, it’s nice but far from remarkable. While nothing is wrong or a misstep, nothing is revelatory either.
Nevertheless, her voice is gorgeous and the arrangements are divine. ‘Are You There (With Another Girl)’ with its retro, whispery vocals is redolent of God Help The Girl, and an immensely satisfying listen. Equally strong is her rendition of ‘Walk On By’, which summons all the heartbreak of the original.
Not boundary-shattering or nuanced, This Girl’s In Love is a fine collection of an expertly arranged and dynamically delivered catalogue of standards from an artist who obviously adores the subject matter she is sharing with her listeners, which is something impossible to disparage.