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The Standards

4 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 10, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Celebrating great tunes from the American Songbook, The Standards features song classics sung in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, some with new lyrics written by Estefan herself. The album also features collaborations with world class award-winning artists like singer songwriter Laura Pausini, violinist Joshua Bell and saxophonist Dave Koz.

The ambitious project has been "on my back burner for a long time," says Estefan. "I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini and great romance recording artists in Cuba. This genre is right up my alley, since music is always a catharsis to me."
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 10, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SONY MASTERWORKS
  • ASIN: B00CJLQH0K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Though a hardcore Gloria Estefan fan, I'll admit that I was a bit dubious when I heard that she'd be doing an album of Standards. It seemed like quite a departure, and I'm not much for change. But then I remembered the mastery of her (more) contemporary covers album, HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME (1994) and the fact that her interpretations of "Turn The Beat Around," "Everlasting Love," and, to a lesser extent, "It's Too Late," have become definitive versions. Here, Gloria has chosen songs that have personal resonance in her own life, not only as a wife, mother, and musician but also as a daughter, immigrant, and humanitarian. Consequently, her interpretations are colored by the experiences that influenced her song selection, and she sings with conviction, warmth, wisdom, and compassion. An eternal optimist who has lived the highest of highs and lowest of lows before a worldwide audience, she particularly inspires with the tracks "What a Wonderful World," "Young at Heart," and "Smile" (available on Target's Deluxe Edition, and here as a Spanish duet--"Sonrie--with Laura Pausini), which celebrate the hope that can be born from melancholy and sadness. Other standouts include a moody take on "Good Morning Heartache," the shuffling "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and the gentle yet impassioned "I've Grown Accustomed to His face." Further, Estefan's English translation of her wedding song ("The Day You Say You Love Me") may just become a classic in its own right. As a whole, The Standards is a beautiful, intimate collection that benefits from the unique richness and depth of Gloria's voice.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting for this album to come out, but was sadly disappointed. The Great American Songbook is comprised of the greatest songs ever written, and they've already been recorded by the greatest singers. From Sinatra and Ella through jazz stylists like Sarah Vaughn and Mel Torme, cabaret greats like Nancy LaMott and Mary Cleere Haran, to today's top singers, like Jane Monheit, Maureen McGovern, Michael Feinstein and terrific up-and-comers like Laura Ainsworth, William Blake and Heather Massey, the best singers keep these old songs alive by combining great musical chops with their own fresh, unique spin.

Unfortunately, most young people these days only know these songs from versions by pop singers who do them to keep the career going when the top 40 hits run out. They often don't have the chops to pull them off or really relate to the material. For a while, Carly Simon was the go-to artist when you needed a romantic ballad for a chick flick, even though she often wanders afield from the right key. Rod Stewart's albums were more personality records, like the ones Jimmy Durante put out with orchestras ("Make Someone Happy," etc.) It wasn't a great voice, but it was a distinctive sound and a warm, likeable personality, and that was enough to make his fans happy.

Unfortunately, none of those pluses are on exhibit with Gloria Estefan's "The Standards." I've always liked her very much as a contemporary pop/dance singer, but her voice is just not up to the demands of these songs. Her interpretations are perfunctory, and her voice often sounds forced and nasal, with way too much vibrato. While the arrangements are lush and beautifully recorded, too many have sluggish tempos and create the cumulative effect of elevator Muzak or an album of lullabies.
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Format: Audio CD
So much for Gloria's "retirement"...she's been mighty busy lately and now is taking a stab at the Classic American Songbook. This is a route many pop and rock stars have taken since Linda Ronstadt's What's New and Carly Simon's Torch back in 1984. In many cases it's based on a genuine love of the songs and a desire to sing them, perhaps to reinvent and reinvigorate them putting a new spin on well known songs, or sometimes the artist is just buying time until they have a new album in their usual milieu ready to release. Gloria is certainly no dilettante and takes on these songs out of a genuine love for them. Like many artists who tackle Pop Standards, Gloria grew up listening to these songs and they were her inspiration for becoming a singer. Gloria certainly doesn't hold back here, tackling songs in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and songs outside of the Classic American Songbook cannon as well. Backed by a number of very talented musicians including Dave Koz and Joshua Bell and her own distinctive vocals, Gloria reframes these songs in a style that is undeniably hers. Gloria's phrasing and interpretation is quite wonderful and distinctive as is the case with the best vocalists. Gloria mixes things up a bit too putting Spanish lyrics to Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and gently shaking things up in what could have been a stuffy and staid affair. Gloria initially started out considering 50 songs finally whittling it down to the 13 that appear here, so my gut tells me we may be hearing a sequel at a future date.Read more ›
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