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George Michael - Songs From the Last Century Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 December 1999

George Michael  
Songs From the Last Century
format: CD
label: Virgin
release year: 2003
performance: 8
sound 8
reviewed by: Jerry Del Colliano

ImageIt is funny how this Hollywood works. Ask Tony Bennett or look at the career of Frank Sinatra or even Madonna. No where in the world can you sore higher – faster. No where in the world can you hit lower lows. George Michael knows this. WHAM! was a smash hit. His early solo career was even bigger but times change. Tastes change. And if the media gets a chance to kick you while you are down – boy watch out. It is hard to say what was worse, Mr. Michaels getting caught spanking his proverbial monkey in a park in Beverly Hills or his last attempt at a comeback record on Dreamworks.

The beautiful thing is George Michaels is a talent. He can sing. And on Songs From The Last Century, his first record of his deal with Virgin Records, he took no chances by performing a collection of standards. To further stack the deck super-producer, Phil Ramone (Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel and Paul Simon) was called in to make sure Songs From The Last Century is a killer. And it is.
From an audio standpoint, Songs From The Last Century is the absolute best sounding, most resolute CD I have heard in 1999. The acoustic accompaniments are detailed and sweet. The feel of the record is analog, warm and engaging. I will be taking Songs From The Last Century with me to the up coming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January to use as a reference disc to evaluate the best in music playback systems.

Some of the highlights of Songs From The Last Century include a convincing version of the Rodgers and Hart song "Where or When" which features a smooth orchestration that even The Chairman of the Board (god rest his soul) would approve of. The best example of George Michael as a vocalist, which I never really thought of him as, is the Ewan Macoll tune "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." The tune is just Michaels and a piano accompaniment and it works. This biggest risk Ramone and Michaels took on Songs From The Last Century was covering "Roxanne" The Police anthem. The Michaels version features a sultry standup bass and a slow piano bar swing that is absolute great and original. The risk paid off.

I encourage you to invest in this record even if George Michaels isn’t the first pick on your CD buying list. Take it from me, you wont buy a better sounding CD and the performance will surprise you. Songs From The Last Century is a guaranteed winner.

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