The forthcoming performance record Release Me 2 features previously unreleased songs from Streisand's vault

By Tomás Mier
June 04, 2021 08:00 AM
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Barbra Streisand is back with new music!

On Friday, the 79-year-old singer released the first single from her forthcoming 10-track compilation album Release Me 2, "I'd Want It to Be You," featuring none other than Willie Nelson. (PEOPLE has an exclusive first listen.)

The track was initially featured on her 2014 album Partners — where she sang duets with male stars from Michael Bublé and Lionel Richie to John Mayer and Stevie Wonder — as a duet with Blake Shelton. When she dropped Partners, Nelson's part (performed by Shelton in 2014) was not yet ready.

Barbra streisand
Credit: Russell James

"For me, the studio is a combination musical playground and laboratory… a private sanctuary, where the possibility of catching lightning in a bottle always exists," Streisand wrote in the album's notes. "Whenever that kind of magic happens, it's extremely satisfying. Sometimes though, when the arrangement doesn't quite gel or the song no longer fits the tone of the album it was meant for, the tapes go into the vault for safekeeping."

"Working on this 2nd volume of Release Me has been a lovely walk down memory lane," she added. "A chance to revisit, and in some cases, add a finishing instrumental touch to songs that still resonate for me in meaningful ways."

barbra streisand album
Credit: Columbia Records

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Among the songs set to be released are "Be Aware" and "One Day (A Prayer)," which she felt "still speak to our collective sense of humanity" today. Other tracks include "Rainbow Connection" with Kermit the Frog, "If Only You Were Mine" with Barry Gibb, "Sweet Forgiveness," which was recorded in 1994, and "Right as the Rain," the track penned for Broadway musical Bloomer Girl.

Expect to hear several covers on the album, too. The album features Streisand interpreting Carole King's "You Light Up My Life" and Randy Newman's "Living Without You."

Along with its digital versions, Streisand will also drop a CD version with a 32-page booklet featuring liner notes from Streisand and Jay Landers, who executive produced the album and a vinyl version as well.

Release Me 2 is out Aug. 6.