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Album Review + Track-By-Track from Barbra Streisand on new LP Walls ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


"Truly magnificent."

Barbra Streisand is truly magnificent on her first album of primarily new material since 2005's 'Guilty Pleasures'.

The powerhouse is angry, fuming with her home country and blatant about her anguish towards President Donald Trump - though she doesn't directly refer to his name at any point.

Songs such as 'Lady Liberty' shine a light on the sheer tragedy of the immigration crisis in the US.

But there are also joyous moments too.

The 'Woman in Love' hitmaker brings out a gospel and R&B side on her rendition of Burt Bacharach's 'What The World Needs Now' and 'Better Angels' is screaming out to be a James Bond theme.

After a wave of emotions, the record closes with 'Happy Days Are Here Again', a timeless classic, which Streisand has covered on many occasions, but has never felt more relevant in these testing times, with its message of hope and longing to restore humanity's faith in the world.


Barbra talks 'Lady Liberty':



'Walls' in her own words:


1. WHAT’S ON MY MIND 

We’re blessed to live in a country unlike any other. Our diversity is our strength. There are many urgent issues that require our focused attention — the environment, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, and the disarmament of nuclear weapons. “What’s on My Mind” is a reflection of the many thoughts that keep me up at night!


2. DON’T LIE TO ME

On a recent road trip, this song title and lyrics came to me when I was listening to the news on the radio. The song grew out of this question I kept asking myself, "How do people who constantly lie sleep at night?"


3. IMAGINE/WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.

I wove the lyrics of John Lennon's “Imagine,” which is the peace anthem of our time, with Louie Armstrong’s standard “What A Wonderful World,” to convey the idea that if we could only arrive at a place where peace, tolerance and generosity ruled the day, then just imagine what a wonderful world it would be. Somehow…someday…somewhere! 


4. WALLS

Walls that are designed to protect us can also divide us. There are physical walls and then there are the emotional walls we build around our hearts and minds. This beautiful song by my dear friends Alan & Marilyn Bergman and Walter Afanasieff, expresses my hope that in days and years to come, we will find ways to build more bridges than walls. 


5. LADY LIBERTY

The Statue of Liberty’s proud torch is a shining beacon of light that has welcomed generations of men, women and children to our shores. They came from different lands, with different religions, languages, and cultures — but all came seeking the same American dream. The subject of immigration is complex and requires deep contemplation, not knee-jerk reactions. Lately, I think if you look up at her face, you’ll see tears falling from Lady Liberty’s eyes. 


6. WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

…is love sweet love.  How true. In the 1960’s Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this song in response to the raging war in Vietnam. It’s a timeless message that will always be true…will never grow old...and is needed now more than ever. 


7. BETTER ANGELS

The inspiration for this song comes from the impassioned closing paragraph of President Lincoln’s first inaugural address, delivered in 1861.  One of America’s greatest presidents implores us to listen to the better angels of our nature.  It goes without saying that Lincoln was a man of vision, intellect, and compassion… all essential qualities of real leaders.


8. LOVE’S NEVER WRONG

Love is the most powerful force for good in the universe… it transcends race, religion and sexual orientation. The first time I heard this song, I was immediately struck by the inclusive message of its lyrics. They clearly express something I’ve always believed…everyone has the right to love whomever they want to.


9. THE RAIN WILL FALL

When I wrote this song, in my mind I heard the rain and thought it was a cautionary symbol. Somehow, we’re supposed to buy into these torrents of delusion where up is down and facts are fake. But how long will this last?


10.  TAKE CARE OF THIS HOUSE

A song by two masters of the musical theatre - Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner.  “Take Care of This House” comes from their little seen show 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The lyrics articulate the obligation that every occupant of the Oval Office has to uphold the values of our nation.  The White House is also known as “The People’s House,” and every four years, the people select someone to shoulder that tremendous and noble responsibility.   


11. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

Since the start of my career, I’ve sung this song in good times, with the joy and exuberance suggested by the title…and in bad times, with irony and ache in my heart.  This classical arrangement is meant to suggest my sadness about the current state of our country. But, also with hope that the truth will ultimately prevail and our beloved nation will once again be restored to its full glory.


'Walls' is released via Columbia Records on November 2.