Aretha Franklin

Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs

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Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs, released in 2008 by Arista/Legacy -- and then, bizarrely, retitled and repackaged only a year later as From the Heart -- draws from as far back as 1964 and as late as 2003, primarily anthologizing some of Aretha Franklin's most romantic songs from her Arista albums, but it's too scattershot to be one of the go-to compilations in her catalog. Almost half of the selections (most of the highlights, in fact) come from Aretha's pair of early-'80s Luther Vandross-driven albums, Jump to It and Get It Right, while the remainder of the studio albums through So Damn Happy are represented. A pair of standards from the '60s, "Unforgettable" and "Misty," seem thrown in to attract those who would otherwise disregard a set reliant on '80s and '90s cuts. (And frankly, it's easy to disregard such a thing when something as messy as the 1989 collaboration with James Brown, "Gimme Your Love," is involved.)

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