An Annie Lennox standards album. You would think that it would be a match made in sweet dreams heaven, right? That soulful voice paired with the most beautiful melodies is enough to give me hives of you. After all, she recorded quite possibly my most favorite version of probably my favorite song of all time: “Everytime We Say Goodbye.” But, it tears me up that I was not really satisfied with “Nostalgia,” her newish album of songs mostly from the Great American Songbook. I will not even go with the misguided decision of her singing “Strange Fruit,” which in itself is an assault in modern history. I thought, at the very least, her take would be thoughtful, finding ways to differentiate itself from the Billie Holiday version. I am sad to admit that the track turns out to be a watered-down version of Holiday’s, so why bother with the controversial choice? It really smacks of a rookie, though I refuse to believe Lennox never really understood the meaning of the song.
Lennox has also said in interviews that she is in a happier place now, and is talking about retirement. So I am as surprised to find this album is joyless. Where is the effervescence of when she sang the 1930s dittie “Young and Beautiful” from her Diva album. Instead, we get funereal versions of “Summertime,” and “God Bless The Child,” two common choices that does not really show how intelligent a singer she is. Sure the tango-ish “I Can’t Dream, Can’t I” is a great treat, and she does very well with “You Belong To Me,” but the rest of the album passes by without anything original or innovative addition to these songs. The album isn’t bad, mind you. It’s just that it doesn’t impress, it doesn’t take your breath, it doesn’t leave an impression. Please make another album, Annie, and don’t leave us this way.