Thursday, October 8, 2009

Album Review: Your Songs by Harry Connick, Jr.

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I've been a fan of Harry Connick, Jr. since I watched When Harry Met Sally over a decade ago. I'm a swing/big band lover anyway, and Harry's smooth voice is perfect for the genre. So, naturally, I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to review his latest album, Your Songs. It's a tribute/cover album of the hits of real oldie favorites like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole and newer classics like Elvis, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Elton John.

As the first song, All the Way, began, my eyes fluttered close and a sigh escaped. It's quintessential Harry. It took me back to the days of blissfully listening to the When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle soundtracks. This sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack for one of those great romantic comedies like My Best Friend's Wedding. I can just see the scene with dancing at a big party or wedding and the girl that wouldn't let herself fall in love finally giving in and letting the guy love her "all the way." Classic and perfect.

Just the Way You Are gets a cover that's more lush than the original, which gives it a slightly piano bar feel to it, but it's nice. This is great date night in front of the fire music.

I Can't Help Falling In Love With You continues the fireside music with a nice rendition of the lovers' favorite. The trumpet bridge is musically well-executed, but feels like an interruption to me nonetheless.

And I Love Her makes me want to start a tango from the first bar. It's sensual, smooth, rhythmic, and probably one of my top two song picks on the album. Fabulous.

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(They Long To Be) Close To You is a great song anyway, and Harry keeps it that way. I can just see that dreamy smile of his as he does a little soft-shoe song and dance on a sidewalk in front of a row of brownstones in the fall. Lovely. The trumpet on this one feels perfect.

Besame Mucho shows that the boy from N'awlins can swing the Italian. There's just one word for this song: RAWR.

The Way You Look Tonight has just gotten better since Harry's first incantation in When Harry Met Sally.  Another fun, fantastic, romantic song that I could listen (and sing along) to over and over.

I can just sense Harry singing First Time Ever I Saw Your Face to his wife. It's got that intimate, quiet feel to it that makes you long for love. Beautiful.

Your Song is another great lush rendition of a favorite. Harry keeps is fairly true to the original but artfully adds his own touch. This is a nice, sway-along tune.

Some Enchanted Evening takes us back to the ballroom and the rich, smooth vocal moves that bring my eyelids down and the corners of my mouth up. Thoroughly enjoyable.

And I Love You So is another fireside/slow dance song that highlights Harry's talent for intimate love songs. Dang, his wife is one lucky woman. Can you imagine getting to have him sing in your ear as you dance? *swoon*

Who Can I Turn To? continues the leisure dance atmosphere with a nice, smooth trumpet bridge. Harry's light jazz piano talents come out on this one, if you listen.

Smile brings Tom Hanks in a romantic comedy to mind. Another lush, wonderful piece. Harry's arrangement of Charlie Chaplin's song is "movey" while keeping that slight melancholy to it. Don't ask me how he does it - he just does, and it works.

Mona Lisa is a great topper to the album, finishing it off with the same sigh-inducing stylings of All the Way. Smooth, rich, and wonderful - just like Harry.

If you like swing/big band, romantic comedies, light jazz, or piano bar music, get your hands on Harry Connick, Jr.'s Your Songs as soon as possible.

*This is solely the opinion of 3 Stairs. Other people may have different experiences with this product. I received the album free of charge to do this review. *

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