Dame Shirley Bassey - Get the Party Started
Bassey's well documented return is, amongst the glut of recent it's-okay-to-like-them-now cultural u-turns, not unwelcome. Credit to the lady : now 70, the voice is still there, decades of goodwill retained by an almost mystifying managing of her private life, and the latter only enhanced by a winning performance at this year's Glastonbury festival. Talk about a career plan.
As an album, 'Get the Party Started' just about holds up but she's eating into the goodwill by only including two new performances and one of those is her take on Pink's 'Get the Party Started', which first saw the light of day during M&S's Xmas TV advertising last year. The recent near-hit 'The Living Tree' is the other newie; its a soaring Barry-esque epic, very Bond indeed and quite nice to boot. Its the rest of the album that frustrates at times. A long list of remixers and producers (no-one particularly uber-cool or cutting edge) has clearly been directed towards a common theme; for the most part 'Get the Party Started' is propelled by laid back electronic beats. 'Big Spender' and 'I Will Survive' are funked up and dance-y. Obviously, some reworkings work better than others and, more often than not, it's the less upbeat, more ballad-y tracks that work best. 'This is my Life' benefits from exposing the voice and 'I Who Have Nothing' is pretty daring, with almost Portishead beats that continue into an extended coda. But, and it's a big but, the vocal performances are the original recordings and not newly recorded. So, on one level, because it sounds pretty good, you can forgive the Dame. On another, seeing as she can clearly still do it, it's a bit cheeky. And lazy. You'd think she'd want to show off a bit more while she still can. Ah well. Profile raised, this more than palatable compilation should keep the castle in Monte Carlo heated this winter.