Garden in the City

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Sneakily marketed by Buddah as a new album after Melanie had left the label, Garden in the City was actually made up of recordings that hadn't made the grade for earlier albums plus a couple of songs from film soundtracks. That didn't augur well for the set, but in fact it isn't too bad. Melanie makes light work of the Jagger/Richards tune "Jigsaw Puzzle," tackles "Lay Lady Lay" with aplomb, and even turns in a respectable standard, "Somebody Loves Me." "People in the Front Row" finds her battling it out against a full-piece orchestra; it's a hammy piece, full of nonsense lyrics and staged laughter that is either a hoot or a travesty, depending on your tastes. It's no surprise that Melanie was apparently dismayed at the appearance of Garden in the City; any listener unaware of its true origins would have assumed she was regressing. This curiosity is now remembered more for its scratch 'n' sniff "smell Melanie's Magic Garden" cover than for its content.

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