karaokegal (karaokegal) wrote,

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A few more thoughts about "John Barrowman"

Aside from the fact that I really hate eponymous album titles, especially for solo performers.

Here's my original review.

If there were going to be potential for the "Golden Throat" effect on this album, it would have been one or both of the last two songs, either The Winner Takes It All or December 1963 (Oh What A Night).

In fact, The Winner Takes It All turns out to be one of my favorite songs on the album. Obviously there's potential for over the topness inherent in the song, especially in the context of how it's used in Mamma Mia (the movie version anyway, which I assume reflects the stage show...correct me if I'm wrong.) John actually manages to stay understated for the opening sections, building up to the well earned emotional crescendo. What I really love about it, is the re-casting of a man singing it with the original pronouns. "Tell me does she kiss, like I used to kiss you," now basically tells the me the story of a gay man who's lost a lover to a woman. I know it could be a straight man losing a woman to another woman, but somehow I don't hear it that way.

This reminds me of how You're So Vain on Another Side became a whole different story from the original, even though the arrangement was virtually the same. (Although I still I have that weird "record skip" feeling when he doesn't draw out the word "fl-ew" the way that Carly does.) Throw the male/male duet of I Know Him So Well from Music Music Music into this collection as well. I think what I'm saying is, I like John singing songs that create mental slash.

Which brings us to the other side of the coin-Oh What A Night. There are people who have literally said that John Barrowman can't (or shouldn't) play "straight" parts. This is out and and out crap. He can act and sing straight parts beautifully. There are songs on all of his albums that bear this out, however in this particular case, let's just say I'm not convinced. I think this is because the arrangement is almost too camp and John uses his "Grease" voice rather than actually selling the song as he does with the other Four Seasons song on the album, My Eyes Adored You, or Always a Woman on Another Side. I don't hate the track. It's one of my favorite songs in the world and I can remember learning to dance the Hustle to it in school, but it's not a great success as a piece of singing/acting. It probably wasn't intended to be. It does feel a bit like filler compared to the rest of the album. So I'd say it's the weakest song in a really strong group.

My original assessment stands though. It's an awesome album, it's a zillion times better than Music Music Music, and if you love John, you should go get it.
Tags: barrow-mania, john barrowman, journal, music

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