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Manilow

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 18, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 18, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
  • Run Time: 42 minutes
  • ASIN: B001QCKJCU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,800 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this album in 1985 when it first came out, and I was surprised by the change in production values that "Manilow" took. Having dumped ARISTA as his long-time label, RCA Records took Manilow on for this one-shot album, and with a new songwriter/producer partner, Howie Rice, created this record which dips its toe into 80s techno-pop. It bombed. Big time.

It's pretty obvious that trying to re-shape Manilow's fading image as a romantic crooner in the cold, synthsized slam-glam of 1980s technology was doomed to failure, but that doesn't mean that this is a bad album, on the contrary, it's one of my favorites of Barry's. Despite the programmed drum tracks and synth loops, this is in every way a Barry Manilow album, with songs that are some of the catchiest and most melodic he's ever written. "It's All Behind Us Now," "Some Sweet Day," "If You Were Here With Me Tonight" and "Sweet Heaven" are all romantic swooners, with all of the sweeping melodrama of the best Manilow ballads. And "In Search of Love" "I'm Your Man" and one of my favorite tracks, "It's A Long Way Up" are driving dance numbers that Barry sings with tremendous power.

Two numbers on the album I generally skip over - one is the goofy "At The Dance" which feels clumsy and out of place, and the other is the needless remake of "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" which is a bloodless duet with Muffy Hendrix (another *cough* "star" lost to the mists of time.) The latter song is smooth and professional, but give me the original Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell version any day.

All in all, this is a strikingly original sounding Barry Manilow album, with strong singing, melodies; dated only by it's 80's production flourishes. I am amazed and SO happy that this album is available again. It received a limited release on CD, [RCA PCD1-7044], but for years was one of Barry's rarest albums. Now if ARISTA would only release 1980's "Barry" - which has NEVER been on CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Which is, by the way, #9 on the CD. This CD was originally released in 1985, now re-released in 2008/2009. Love the cover, too. Great pix of B with beautiful haunting baby blue eyes. It's a great album with some different B songs. (Numbers 1, 8, and 10 below are not different, but the others are.) #9 is an old song but one you may not have not heard B do before. B was about 42 at this time and did some hot recordings at this time in his life. 10 tracks, lasting about 39 minutes, a little on the short side but a great CD. My favorites on this CD are ALL OF THEM!

1. I'm Your Man - You have likely heard this upbeat song before. It has been on many Barry albums.
2. It's All Behind Us Now - slow and pretty, heavy, emotional--something haunting about the melody--I love it.
3. In Search of Love - Strong heavy beat with another haunting melody. Oh could I wiggle to this one on the dance floor. (I can really get into a good strong beat.) - I love it.
4. He Doesn't Care (But I Do) - Slow song, heavy, emotional--the crescendo B is famous for. Love it.
5. Some Sweet Day - Cha-cha, It is the kind where in the 60s/70s you cha-cha'd and hit every 4th beat with a hard step. Love it. Again, heavy and crescendo. Makes me wanna dance. Reminds me of something Paul Anka might have done in his hey-day.
6. At the Dance - Another cha-cha. I love this one too. A hint of latin. Actually, I'd like to either salsa this one or play it on the drums. B adds a brief doobie doobie jazz vocal in between. A fun song.
7. If You Were Here With Me Tonight - slow, pretty, great crescendo--yes, I love this one, too.
8. Sweet Heaven (I'm In Love Again) - From B's musical "Copacabana" and one of my favorites. This is a beautiful arrangement.
9.
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Format: Audio CD
I originally purchased this album on LP in 1985 when I was a senior in high school. At the time, had Amazon been around, I would have given it five stars. What changed?

Judging from all of the techno-drums and synths spread throughout the ten songs, Barry and his producers were trying to update his sound and appeal to a younger audience. Several of the songs sound like imitations of Kenny Loggins or Jack Wagner - remember him? There were catchy melodies and a variety of tunes from latin to fast pop - it had potential.

The problem was that the formula didn't work. I know - I was a teenager and knew what my friends thought about Manilow - he wasn't hip. The Manilow they knew was someone of their parent's generation that sang ballads - heavy, slow ballads. Ballads did sell during the mid-eighties, but you had to be someone else to do it. Manilow wasn't "the one" anymore.

Now, in 2010, I don't view the album in the same light that I did as a youth. When I compare it to "If I Should Love Again," produced just three years earlier, or even any of his first four albums the music is too "era-bound." It's like disco - a fad that came and went. I also think that what I liked best about his earlier albums was their originality, even with the slower songs. I think back to "Sandra" (off of "Manilow II") with it's deep topic of real life or "I Haven't Changed to Room" (from "If I Should Love Again") where it's just Barry and the piano. The album "Manilow" failed at that; it was too formuliac.

Every era has its "sound" and the mid- to late-eighties were very synth-driven. If you like that style of music and Barry Manilow, I believe you'll enjoy this album. If neither applies to you, bypass it altogether! There's far better music of that era available. Happy listening.
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