This album is echt Liza: She gives it all she has. Would it be apostasy to wish that Minnelli would hold a little back and not demand so obviously that her audiences love her?
If what audiences have loved all these years is Minnelli’s clear, stentorian voice, there is somewhat less to love these days. On this recording at least, the voice sounds a bit frayed. But Liza belts on—standards like “Teach Me Tonight,” “Some People,” and of course “Theme from New York, New York,” stretching syllables to the breaking point. Unfortunately, she seems more intent on seeing how far her voice can carry than how much it can express. One of the recording’s few quiet, touching moments comes in the bitter, rueful “Sorry I Asked.” Minnelli does dish up an amusing Kander and Ebb paean to that lady nobody doesn’t love, Sara Lee, and assisted by a band of chorines she refers to as the “demon divas,” she delivers an infectious, toe-tapping “Stepping Out” (from the movie). Still, when all is sung and done, the listener’s reaction is more exhaustion than exhilaration. (Columbia)