Frank Sinatra

Duets II

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Following the multi-platinum success of Duets, Capitol Records assembled Duets II, a sequel that followed the blueprint of its predecessor to the letter. Assembled from leftover tracks from the first album, Duets II is a somewhat more consistent album than the original. Lacking the superstar names of the first (Tony Bennett, Julio Iglesias, Kenny G, Barbra Streisand, Bono, Aretha Franklin), the artist roster on the sequel generally consists of either faded stars (Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Gladys Knight) or mid-level singers (Luis Miguel, Lorrie Morgan) who are popular within their genre, but fail to command the attention of the general public. However, there are standouts like Lena Horne and Antonio Carlos Jobim who help lift Duets II to a higher level than Duets. But that's a minor distinction, actually. The nature of the electronic duet prohibits the album from having any sort of emotional resonance, even on tracks that feature strong vocals by Sinatra or his partner. It might be nice to hear Horne and Sinatra together on "Embraceable You," but the song doesn't rise above anything more than a technical marvel. The real tragedy is, their performance hints that the album could have been so much more.

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