BWW Album Review: Kristin Chenoweth Sings FOR THE GIRLS
Kristin Chenoweth's latest album, For the Girls, is, just as its name suggests, a celebration of songs by, about, and for women. Chenoweth croons her way through a selection of standards, occasionally with the help of some other incredible female vocalists. It's a lovely album with plenty of top-notch performances; the only flaw is a little bit too much same-ness.
"The Way We Were" starts off the album on a bittersweet note, but it's one that suits Chenoweth's voice beautifully. Her voice is just right for these kinds of torch song-esque, angst-laden ballads, as she's able to find all sorts of beautiful emotional and musical moments. Later in the album, "The Man That Got Away" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" are equally stunning and richly sung. Those reflective ballads lie right in Chenoweth's comfort zone, and it's mesmerizing. Even though we've all heard these songs a thousand times before, you don't mind hearing them one more time if she's the one singing them.
She's not the only one, either. On a few tracks throughout the album, Chenoweth is joined by other top-notch female vocalists for duets and, in one case, a memorable trio. It's mostly a success, with one exception. Chenoweth duets with Ariana Grande on "You Don't Own Me," and while it's a fine choice of song for both women, put together, they simply don't blend well. Grande sounds utterly outmatched, and their vocal styles are just too different to co-exist the way they should.
Her other two team-ups are far more successful. Chenoweth duets with Dolly Parton on the classic "I Will Always Love You." Not only is it a pleasure to hear her take on the iconic ballad, the arrangement spine-tinglingly gorgeous, packed with beautiful harmonies and the sheer joy of hearing these two unique voices blend perfectly. Finally, she teams up with Jennifer Hudson and Reba McEntire for "I'm A Woman," a delightful and welcome moment of up-beat diva power.
The only problem with the album, however, is that "I'm A Woman" is, in fact, the only break from an established style and pattern. With that single exception, the whole album lives somewhere between torch song ballads and cabaret-ready classics. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a single track on the album; on the contrary, they're lovely across the board. But with nearly a dozen songs that all have similar moods, back to back to back? It simply loses impact after a little while. The passion and craft behind For The Girls is evident - I just wish there had been a little bit more variety.