Long a star of screen and stage, the latter being a showcase for her vocal talents, Rita Wilson launched a music career in 2012 with AM/FM, a collection of pop classics from the '60s and '70s. The concept is clever: half the songs are tunes familiar from heavy rotation on AM stations, half are songs by singer/songwriters who would have been heard on FM stations. The record doesn't quite cleave neatly in two -- some AM tunes are paired up -- but the conceit does give AM/FM thematic range even when the album is pitched firmly in the middle of the road. All the arrangements are sweet and intimate -- even when the tempo picks up, as it does on "You Were on My Mind," no sweat is broken -- and nothing is distracting from Wilson's voice, which perhaps is good as she's not a forceful singer. She takes thing easy, a suitable choice for an album whose primary purpose is sepia-toned nostalgia. Surely this will be appealing for fellow Baby Boomers looking back fondly on the golden age of rock & roll radio, but the question remains, if you're pining for the past wouldn't it just be better to put on the original hits?
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine