Kristin Chenoweth has a voice that can sing anything. Even though she is known as a soprno, she has a wonderful chest belt, and her lower register is warm and accessible, And of course, she is a great theater singer, who takes excellent care of the written lyric as she expresses the songs’ emotions. In her new album, ‘For The Girls,’ she pays tribute to some of her favorite songs from her favorite female singers. While this is not the most original idea in the world, it feels especially poignant to see this in these #metoo times. Girl Power for the win!
And She starts the album in a bittersweet way, paying tribute to Barbra Streisand via ‘The Way We Were.’ It’s a curious choice, as the choice is very Barbra. Chenoweth doesn’t really tinker much with it, singing it with a spare arrangement but full of varied emotions. It doesn’t sound karaoke at all – it evokes Streisand’s original, but you can tell this is Chenoweth singing from her heart, and it works. My other favorite track is ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,’ which she knows from Eva Cassidy. There’s tenderness and longing on this version, and it will break your heart. There are some star guest appearances here, and some are a little weird – the Peggy Lee ‘I’m a Woman’ track has Jennifer Hudson and Reba McIntyre in it, and it never truly jells. You can tell how she loves doing her duet in ‘I Will Always Love You,’ but it still sounds detached. I suspect that the tracks were recorded separately. Chenoweth’s versatile voice is the star here, and those accouterments just distract from that. I mean, if she was going to duet with Ariana Grande, I wished they had done an Ariana style song. Left to her own devices, Chenoweth is at her best. Check out her version of ‘Desperado,’ (From Linda Ronstadt/Eagles) and you can see the way she goes about a song. This is a woman who knows what she is singing about, so best leave her alone.