Yesterday, The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, released her 25th studio album: It’s the Girls! The album is a celebration of girl groups from the 1930s to the 1990s. The album is also a reunion with longtime collaborator and producer, Marc Shaiman. Shaiman is famous for convincing Ms. Midler to record the biggest hit of her career, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
It’s the Girls! features classic girl groups songs like The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day.” Midler is in impressive voice and her rich tones redefine these classics and give them a fresh sound. Shaiman’s arrangements have given Miss M room to play and her sassy comedy style shines through. The fifteen track album really shows all of the varied facets of Midler’s lush voice. When she lets loose on “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” or “Too Many Fish in the Sea,” her voice is thrilling, but when she pulls back on the heartfelt ballads is when she shines. Her take on The Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” or TLC’s “Waterfalls” bring nuance and beauty to these songs that people know and love. Midler has long been the Queen of the Ballads with hits like “The Rose,” Wind Beneath My Wings,” and “From a Distance,” so to hear her put her signature style on these classics is breathtaking.
Ms. Midler’s new album is everything a fan could ask for and more. I bought the album yesterday and immediately sat down to listen to it and I couldn’t have been happier. This is Midler’s first album in eight years and her first non-holiday album in a decade so her fans have been waiting eagerly. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the album, I have felt that since she completed her tenure at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Midler has been on a career lull. Her 2012 film, Parental Guidance, was less than brilliant and she has seemed detached and bored in the few interviews she has done since then. I expected her to actually retire from show business sooner rather than later. However, in 2013, she returned to the Broadway stage in John Logan’s I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, which showcased her signature comedy and was a true tour de force performance. I am ecstatic that Midler has returned to form with her new album and has announced a tour to follow in 2015. Her It’s the Girls Tour is sure to bring audiences to their feet in arenas all across the United States beginning on May 8th in Hollywood, FL.