This Girl's In Love: A Bacharach & David Songbook
Platinum-selling British singer-songwriter Rumer has announced the release of her new and fourth album 'This Girl's In Love: A Bacharach And David Songbook,' through East West / Warner Music. The album features some of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's most memorable co-compositions and sees Rumer bring her extensive experience and singular talent to bear on her most enticing undertaking to date.
Recorded at the renowned Capitol Studios with accomplished arranger, composer and orchestrator, Rob Shirakbari - 'This Girl's In Love' includes an appearance by Bacharach himself on piano.
"I couldn't have made this album five years ago," admits Rumer. "I think I've now got a wide enough emotional palette to draw on for these songs' characters and stories. That kind of insight only comes as you get older."
Fittingly though, Rumer's links to Burt Bacharach have been a longstanding constant throughout her recording career. In 2010 (the year her multi-platinum selling debut 'Seasons Of My Soul' was released) Burt invited Rumer to his California home just to hear her sing. That same year saw the release of a special single, 'Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas,' featuring "Some Lovers" from the new Bacharach & Sater musical, Gift of the Magi. Another highlight saw Rumer sing for Barack Obama: in 2012 she performed at the White House singing "A House Is Not A Home," as part of a tribute concert honouring the songwriting partnership.
What's most fitting to 'This Girl's In Love' is the personal relationship between Rumer and Shirakbari. The pair married in 2015 in Shirakbari's native Arkansas after first meeting at a Dionne Warwick gala at the Royal Albert Hall where Rumer was to sing a duet of Bacharach & David's "Hasbrook Heights." With Shirakbari having worked for 25 years with Bacharach and 30 years with Dionne Warwick — serving as musical director to them both — this could even be deemed 'a Bacharach romance.' It was a natural project for the newly married couple to create together, with both having great respect and reverence for the song catalogue.
And now, Rumer's love of Bacharach & David has been captured on a lovingly assembled long-player. Some of the songs on 'This Girl's In Love' are as familiar as any from the 20th century. Which is why Rumer and Shirakbari decided, in many cases, to remake/remodel them, affording these standards a melancholia that gets right to the emotive core of Bacharach's melodies and David's lyrics. Where before "(They Long to Be) Close to You" might have been slightly wistful, here there is a sense that the lyric's longing is unlikely to be consummated. "The Look of Love" is more sepulchral, with just a taste of the bossa nova tendencies of the '60s versions. "You'll Never Get To Heaven" has all the sophistication of Dionne Warwick's take, but with a new attention to the cautionary narrative of the lyrics. And Rumer has dug deeper into the catalogue to find the hidden treasure "Balance of Nature" and made it her own.
"In some cases I said, 'Forget all the other versions - what is the song about?'" Rumer continues, citing as an example "What the World Needs Now," a 1965 hit for Jackie DeShannon, which Rumer has here invested with a stunning devotional quality. "When I looked at the words, I realised that it was a prayer moment. It's a song about someone asking God to bring peace to the world."
She attests that the project is as much a homage to Hal David as it is to Bacharach: his words, capturing emotional crises with consummate simplicity, are key to the duo's timeless compositions and to Rumer and Shirakbari's new take on them. "I love Hal," she says brightly. "You can feel his personality through his lyrics, his opinions and thoughts on the world... there's so much of his own heart in these songs."
Elsewhere across 'This Girl's In Love,' Rumer elects in places for straighter interpretations: "Walk On By" feels familiar to those who grew up on Warwick's version, but with closer ties to the Brazilian influences implied in much of Bacharach's music, whilst the title track features Bacharach himself on piano. "An honour" Rumer says. "That track is quite true to the original... I felt it would be a little churlish to mess around with it too much. There's a reason people like these songs and the original arrangements."
The version of "A House Is Not a Home" is "not too dissimilar" to the Gershwin Prize iteration Rumer performed at the White House, while "The Last One to Be Loved" was included at Bacharach's own personal request, as was "Land of Make Believe."
Interpreting a back catalogue already known the world over through versions sung by such accomplished vocalists as Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Karen Carpenter, Dusty Springfield, Shirley Bassey and, of course, Dionne Warwick was bound to be intimidating, to say the least. However, matched step for step by Shirakbari's intuitive arrangements and focused orchestrations, Rumer has risen to the occasion magnificently. "There's a timelessness to these songs," she observes. "They will last forever."
'This Girl's In Love' finds Rumer in possession of a record that rightfully deserves to be cherished alongside its namesake.
|Primary Format - Music||CD|
|Label||East West / Warner|
|Music Genre Primary||Pop & Rock|
|Music Genre Secondary||Folk|
- 1. The Look Of Love
- 2. Balance Of Nature
- 3. One Less Bell To Answer
- 4. Are You There (With Another Girl)
- 5. (They Long To Be) Close To You
- 6. You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)
- 7. Land Of Make Believe
- 8. A House Is Not A Home
- 9. Walk On By
- 10. The Last One To Be Loved
- 11. This Girl's In Love
- 12. What The World Needs Now Is Love