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CHECK OUT WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT
ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS
“Divas are everywhere these days, but there’s still only one Aretha. …Franklin can still shut down the competition with a breathtaking, gospel-trained grace and power. Here, she tackles tunes by her peers, adding royal luster to Gladys Knight’s ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ and the Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On.’ She saves extra energy for songs by younger neo-soul stars. She adds a welcome reggae feel to Alicia Keys’s ‘No One,’ and takes Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ to stratospheric heights. When Franklin then surprises with a segue into the Motown classic ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ the wow factor is off the charts. That’s also the case on a mashup of ‘I’m Every Woman’ with a revived version of ‘Respect,’ on which Franklin ad-libs, ‘I am the Queen.’ Let there be no argument about that.”
“Aretha’s brand new album is shaping up as another key moment in Franklin’s half-century recording career, artistically and potentially commercially rejuvenating her once again. Franklin ignores genre boundaries, bringing R&B, soul and jazz elements in renditions of songs strongly associated with other singers, offering up a virtual master class in vocal reinterpretation.”
“The Queen of Soul and just about anything else she cares to lay claim to covers the Adele hit [‘Rolling In The Deep’], mustering that great, crackling voice to roll upward to gospel highs and then cascade down over a chorus of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ It’s her most stunning performance since tackling Puccini’s ‘Nessun dorma’ in 1998.”
“Ms. Franklin’s album flaunts her style-hopping, from reggae to big band to the borderline of hip-hop. She plays down the pain and cranks up the sass, toying with the songs like the virtuoso she is. She still leaps high and low, soars into soprano, turns flirtatious or bluesy or raspy at whim.
“Aretha Franklin kills it [‘Rolling In The Deep’], with such awesomely casual fireworks…This is a delightful covers set and shows Aretha can still step into the pop world at whim with total authority.”
“Still the Queen, Franklin takes other singers’ signature songs and makes them her own. Franklin knows how to freshen up the classics. Welding ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ is smart, but bringing ‘Respect’ to ‘I’m Every Woman’ is brilliant. The Queen of Soul’s crown has always been secure, but sometimes a reminder is in order, whether it’s her gorgeous reading of ‘Teach Me Tonight’ or her jazzy take on ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’ Aretha Franklin proves it is still good to be queen.
“An album that’s all about the joy of hearing a classic singer let it rip.”
RATING: 4 Stars
“At a time when so many younger divas, even gifted ones, are Auto-Tuned nearly beyond recognition, there is something deeply satisfying about hearing a still-great voice pour forth without hesitation or doubt. Franklin is indeed a survivor, and let’s be grateful for that.”
“Aretha Franklin sings the sound of America like nobody else. ‘Divas’ proves Franklin’s still got it, and it shows that we’ve still got her.”
“The album finds Aretha, who recently topped the Rolling Stone poll of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, in superb voice. What struck me in Rolling In The Deep was the ferocity of her performance taking the song to wild new places. She can still make a club quake with her exuberant refiguring of the Gloria Gaynor classic “I Will Survive”. There’s plenty more.”