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This One's for You

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Album Review

This One's for You — the fourth album from Barry Manilow — contained four Top 30 hits including Randy Edelman's stunningly significant "Weekend in New England" (Top Ten towards the end of 1976), and another Number One — "Looks Like We Made It" cowritten by "Mandy" cowriter Richard Kerr and "Somewhere in the Night" cowriter Will Jennings — a fact that begs the question — why didn't Barry Manilow cowrite with the bevy of major songwriters who penned his major hit recordings? The most consistent of his albums up to this point in time — a big improvement over his Tryin' to Get the Feeling LP — there are still lyrics that initiate "the cringe factor," words so uncool they no doubt participated in keeping Barry Manilow from enjoying the chic appreciation Middle of the Road predecessors Ferrante & Teicher and their contemporaries were blessed with years after heavy chart activity. A song with science fiction overtones like "Riders to the Stars" comes off as tacky, Adrienne Anderson and Manilow dripping with excess, though they find redemption in penning the singer's ninth hit, "Daybreak," a strong and bouncy number in the "It's a Miracle" category, but even better. And the team that brought you "It's a Miracle," lyricist Marty Panzer and showman Manilow create the title track, "This One's for You," the song with the weakest showing of Barry's first 16 Top 30 hits. With great orchestration from Gerald Alters, Charles Calello, Dick Berkhe, and Van McCoy, a touch of class permeates the Manilow/Ron Dante production. The first five songs flow better than the second half, but three of the four hits are very, very special — further cementing this artist as a major force — those hits keeping him on the charts from October of 1976 to October of 1977 — as a huge radio presence keeping the audience primed for the next studio disc and its four more hits. [The 2006 bonus tracks version of This One's For You includes four previously unreleased recordings.]


Born: 17 June 1943 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; instead, Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that defined his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements...
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