Diana Krall – Wallflower

Jazz fans will be disappointed in Diana Krall’s latest release, Wallflower, once again. She offers no sense of swing and no chops on the piano. At 50 with a dozen albums under her belt, Krall needs to prove no further that she has skills. In covering hits from the ’70s and ’80s, Krall sets out to please no one else but herself.

With Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” she takes the opposite direction from the original. Whereas Elton soars on the chorus, Krall drowns deep down as if she is totally burned out. With John and Michelle Phillips’ “California Dreamin’,” she sounds completely fatigued in the beginning against the dead-slow string orchestration. Even when the arrangement switches to bossa nova, she has no motivation to push her delivery. With The Eagles’ “Desperado,” her voice gets so harsh that she could almost passed for Ryan Adams.

Krall is a “Superstar” and she also understands that “Loneliness is such a sad affair.” Accompanied by David Foster’s sensuous but passive orchestration, Krall gives the Carpenters’ ballad a new sense of sultriness. On the title track, Bob Dylan is heard in Krall’s delivery, but with a sense of exhaustion.

Other than the rock-up “Yeh Yeh,” a duet with Georgie Fame himself, Wallflower is a slow burner. The songs are familiar and you will be disappointed if you’re expecting some innovative reinterpretations. If you’re in the mood to hear your favorite songs covered in the most intimate and sullen ways, however, you’re in for a relaxing treat.

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