Saturday, October 4, 2014

Barbra Streisand - Emotion

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Emotion, the twenty-third studio album from Barbra Streisand. The Platinum seller spent twenty-eight weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 19. It also reached number 44 in Canada, number 40 in Germany, number 25 in New Zealand, number 23 in Sweden, number 17 in Switzerland, number 15 in the UK, number 13 in Australia, Austria and Norway, and number 11 in the Netherlands.

Side one opens with the title track “Emotion”. Released as the third single, this mid-tempo dance track went to number 97 in Canada, number 79 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 18 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, and number 14 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The song featured the Pointer Sisters (Anita, June and Ruth) on backing vocals, and the music video also started Roger Daltrey (of the Who) and Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

“Make No Mistake, He’s Mine” is a duet with Kim Carnes who also wrote the song. As the second single, it went to number 92 in the UK, number 89 in Canada, number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 5 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. The lyrics of this piano-based ballad tell of two women laying claim to the love of the same man.

“Time Machine” is a synth-heavy, mid-tempo song about reflection on the past.

In contrast, the next track “Best I Could” sounds more like a typical Streisand track with a lovely piano and orchestra arrangement. They complement her voice well on this relationship-at-a-crossroads number.

Jim Steinman penned and produced “Left in the Dark”; it first appeared on his 1981 album Bad For Good. Meat Loaf also covered it on his 1995 album Welcome to the Neighborhood. Released as the first single, Streisand’s edited version went to number 87 in Canada, number 85 in the UK, number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 4 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number 2 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. The album cut is over seven minutes in length and starts with a dramatic spoken-word section. Roy Bittan plays piano and Max Weinberg plays drums on the track.

Side two begins with the mid-tempo “Heart Don’t Change My Mind”. It was penned by Diane Warren and Robbie Buchanan, the latter who played keyboards on the album.

“When I Dream” has R&B guitar riffs and saxophone accents that remind me a bit of Jeffrey Osborne’s music.

“You’re a Step in the Right Direction” was co-written by Streisand and John Mellencamp. This is a pairing I never would have thought of, and it has more of a pop-rock sound than what Mellencamp is known. It is one of those tracks that intrigues me; I think it would grow on me with repeated listens.

The beautiful and reserved ballad “Clear Sailing” follows.

“Here We Are at Last”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the first single.

I had always been a fan of Barbra Streisand as I grew up in the 70’s, and I really enjoyed her early 80’s work. Emotion, however, was an album I had missed back in the day. Giving it a listen today, I found it had some really good parts. Clearly she was experimenting with newer sounds while also keeping one foot firmly in the circle with which she excelled.

For more from Barbra Streisand, click here.

No comments: