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Swing Street (Remastered)

Barry Manilow

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Album Review

In the liner notes for Swing Street, Barry Manilow refers to his wish to record a "techno-swing album." While that term conjures images of mechanistic swing sets, it must actually refer to Swing Street's largely synthesized instrumentation. From the first few notes of its title track, the album seems like music made for an audience of mannequins. It certainly swings, especially on tracks like "Big Fun." But it does so in a cold, canned sort of way, suggesting jazz-pop if it was painstakingly recreated by futuristic robot musicologists. Manilow himself fully indulges in the vocal style of the genre, emoting up a storm on "Stardust" and "Summertime," a duet with Diane Schurr that also features the sax of Stan Getz. The latter track is a standout; together with the wistful, piano-driven "Once You Were Mine," it's the most real thing on the album. The rest of Swing Street can't outrun its digital composition, as illustrated by an unfortunate version of "Stompin' at the Savoy," which adds lyrics and sounds like Muzak on Mars.

Customer Reviews

Phyllis Hyman The Highlight Of The Whole Album For Me.

Black and Blue features Phyllis Hyman, ( Rip.) credit where credit is due, and what an astounding singer he got to sing with.


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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