BWW Album Review: Laura Benanti's Self-Titled Debut Album is Self-Care at its Finest

Benanti's LAURA BENANTI is about as glorious a debut release on a major record label can get.

By: Nov. 06, 2020
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BWW Album Review: Laura Benanti's Self-Titled Debut Album is Self-Care at its Finest

Recently, Tony Award-winning actress, singer, author, and activist Laura Benanti released her delightful self-titled debut album on Sony Masterworks. The record springs to life with light jazz covers of cherished classic and contemporary pop hits. Whether you're overcome with election anxiety, suffering from lockdown fatigue, or just in need of an album that is as soothing as it is entertaining, this album delivers much needed self-care in droves.

Laura Benanti, the album, makes the perfect companion for a relaxing bath, music for an evening passed with friends and wine, or for setting the tone for a delicious shared meal. The album opens with warmth and whimsy as an accordion transports listeners to the French Riviera while introducing the melody of Rufus Wainwright's deftly relatable ode to personal vices, "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk." Then the track and album springs to life when Benanti layers her charming and enchanting vocal instrument over the musical accompaniment.

As the album progresses, many of the tracks stand out because of Benanti's stellar performances and because of the beguiling and smile-inducing arrangements crafted by Gil Goldstein. Her iteration of "Someone You Loved" (Lewis Capaldi) is devastatingly beautiful and deeply heartfelt. The prohibition era jazz ambience, made complete with finger snaps and swinging piano, on her rendition of the Jonas Brother's hit "Sucker" is a sultry surprise that resonates with stylish panache. Tackling Selena Gomez's "Lose You to Love Me" with a bevy of emotion-laden strings, Benanti makes the song a powerful, heart-rending ballad.

Benanti also pays homage to the stage on the album. She sings a fun, flirty rendition of "The Boy From..." (Stephen Sondheim, Mary Rodgers). The bossa nova track is a charming parody of "The Girl from Ipanema," and Benanti channels the punctuated staccato styling of the tune from Linda Lavin's original performance; however, she makes it unique by replacing Lavin's breathy vocals with heavier, honeyed vocals. Then, Benanti closes the album with a decidedly dreamy rendition of "The Party's Over" (Jule Styne; Betty Comden and Adolph Green).

Benanti's Laura Benanti is about as glorious a debut release on a major record label can get. Each song is performed to perfection, making the album a treasure for fans of light, ambient jazz records or for fans of Benanti herself.

To purchase or stream Benanti's Laura Benanti, please click HERE.


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