Categories: EntertainmentMusic

Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics

Sings the Great Diva Classics
(RCA)

Certain artists are intimidated by big songs — and then there’s Aretha. After a lifetime of milestones including unforgettable performances at the Academy Awards, the Grammys and President Obama’s inauguration, offering a new album might seem like small potatoes for this soul survivor. But Franklin fearlessly finds new grooves in these iconic numbers. Who knew someone could put a fresh stamp on Etta James’ “At Last,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” or Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia”? And who but the Queen of Soul could appropriate the Gloria Gaynor anthem “I Will Survive” while adding a dash of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor?’ Not only does Franklin hit all the high notes we crave, but she also discovers new emotional depths. The Barbra Streisand chestnut “People” finds new life as a mid-tempo R&B ballad, and “Nothing Compares 2 U” — penned by Prince and made famous by Sinéad O’Connor — is almost unrecognizable with a jazzy new flavor. Though there have been many highlights in Franklin’s career, this seriously must-have album proves that it’s still good to be the queen.

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Richard Antone

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