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I Can't Be New

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

George Gershwin. Cole Porter. Richard Rodgers. They say no one can write like that anymore, but Susan Werner has added a new chapter to the Great American Songbook. Susan Werner's fourth nationally released recording charters somewhat new territory in style, while it offers the same high quality writing that her fans have come to expect. She performs 12 original compositions in the songbook style. And in this nod to the composers of standards, she's breathed new and brilliant life into the popular song tradition, one that many thought was a closed book.

''I'd describe the aim of this project as Carole King's Tapestry meets Ella Fitzgerald's Cole Porter Songbook,'' Werner suggests, ''These are all new songs done in an old way.''

Review

Always an impressive songwriter, Werner continues to compose sharp, funny, compassionate lyrics, a gift rare enough to set her apart... --The Washinton Post

(Susan Werner is) a triply blessed artist who sings adroitly, plays the piano smartly and, best of all, writes songs of genuine distinction and high craft. (She's) one of the most innovative songwriters working today. --The Chicago Tribune

I Can't Be New is what happens when one of the most intelligent, sophisticated folk-pop singer-songwriters turns 90 degrees. She succeeds marvelously. --SingOut!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sleeve Dog Records
  • ASIN: B000U37U14
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,699 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lb136 VINE VOICE on June 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
No, the lady can't be new.
Maybe when you listen to "I Can't Be New" for the first time, you'll think that Ms. Werner has decided to record some unpublished or obscure songs by Cole Porter or Rodgers and Hart. And why wouldn't you? The sound is caberet; the lyrics bittersweet.
But then you look at the lyric sheet and you realize that she wrote all the songs on the CD herself, and so what at first seems like interpretive singing is actually a brilliant re-creation of the style and conventions of the Tin Pan Alley of a half century ago. Like her contemporaries Nellie McKay and Erin McKeown, Ms. Warner won't throw the past away. Unlike them, however, she apparently has no interest in blending the present with the past. There are no samples here, no rap, no contemporary references.
All the tunes are good, but my personal favorites are the title cut, "Late for the Dance," "Let's Regret This in Advance," and especially "Stay on Your Side of Town." She finishes with a "coda" called "Maybe If I Sang Cole Porter." Maybe she should.
Ms. Werner sings the tunes in a voice like stainless steel.
Splendid all around.
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I can't think of a way to describe how good this album is with a one-liner, all I know is, the night when I poped it into my CD player for the first time, I listend to it again for two more times after that. The next night, the same thing. Werner has a way of writing and singing her songs in this album that makes it seemed like they are songs that had been written ages ago, sung a thousand times but have been given new energy by a vibrant artist. That said, of course we know these are brand new songs that she had just composed for this album. I'm not familiar with her older, more folksy stuff, but the heart-felt and clever lyrics, woven into the jazzy composition with nice piano chops, is soothing and refreshing at the same time. My favorites on this album are "I can't be new" and "Stay on your side of town", both find creative ways to talk about relationship problems with some very classic-sounding jazz music composition. Just listen, and you'll agree too that this is an album that you'll want to listen to over and over again.
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"Coffee, ham and eggs. I can be your diner. Tired, aching legs? I'll be your recliner." The American songbook gets a new chapter, as singer/songwriter Susan Werner unpacks her adjectives and irony, giving George Gershwin and Cole Porter a run for their money in lyrical wit and jazz/pop melody-making. Werner is a fence-sitter of the highest degree. Give her a guitar, and she out-belts and out-plays both Indigo Girls at once. Park her at the piano, and she cozies up to the microphone with the flair of Diana Krall. Her previous releases have been upbeat, guitar-driven, folky discs with just a tease of her piano-flavored retrospection. But with "I Can't Be New," Werner hops off the fence and plants herself firmly at the keyboard, churning out a song cycle of new millenium standards about love, serving up humor and heartbreak with a gentle piano flourish. On the title song, Warner waxes Porter-esquely. "And when they're buying you steak, I can be the gravy. When they throw you in the lake, I can be the navy." But in all her lyrical silliness, there's a sobering message that rings true to anyone who's ever been in love. "I can be the sky, the very wild blue yonder. Still I can't catch your eye, when it starts to wander. As I've seen it do. At least a time or two. I'll be anything to you, but I can't be new." Bet you didn't see that coming. Werner's classically trained voice can fill a room with ease. For fans of female cabaret and jazz, "I Can't Be New" may be a tribute to the legendary songwriting of the past, but Werner definitely has something to say that isn't same-old/same-old.
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Format: Audio CD
With the release of "I Can't Be New" Susan finally gives listeners a catalog of songs that lend themselves fully to her unique sense of kitsch, drama and sentimentality, while still delivering the interesting musical arrangements and exceptional lyrics she is known for.
Anyone who has been fortunate enough to attend a Susan Werner performance knows that she was born for the stage. I've never been to a Susan show when I wasn't gasping for air laughing one minute and wiping away tears of sadness another (often during the same song ). Susan's sense of theatricality falls nothing short of brilliant. So how appropriate that she would write a cycle of songs after the style of not only a great writer of "standards", but the great songwriter of American Musical Theater - Cole Porter.
On her new CD "I Can't Be New," Susan captures lighthearted cheer without sounding flighty and heart wrenching sincerity without stooping to melodrama. Only a rare gem of a performer can convey this live, much less on a studio recording. Susan Werner does it with ease, style and great success.
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By A Customer on March 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
We've been waiting for all the songs susan does at the piano in her shows, and now we have them and more! What a great surprise, outstanding lyrics, interesting arrangements, and that wonderful susan werner voice. A standout!! Beautiful and thoughtful.
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