Early in 2010, Liza Minnelli appeared in Sex and the City 2, and placed two songs on its soundtrack: a cover of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and the Cole Porter classic “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” Fans quickly began salivating for the album (announced as Confessions), of standards both old and new, perhaps featuring an Usher cover for the title track or something even more ambitious from a neo-cabaret act like La Roux. The result, however, is an old-school vocal album, featuring 14 standards of the pre-rock variety. Minnelli explained her woodshedding process for Confessions by talking about dinner parties where, after a few hours, guests inevitably congregate around the piano with drinks in hand and end the night singing the songs they all know by heart. She and producer Bruce Roberts achieve this level of intimacy. Her first non-cast, non-live album in 15 years, it features no orchestra, no whirlwind arrangements, and surprisingly, no show-stoppers -- just a small group led by her longtime accompanist, pianist Billy Stritch (and quite a few songs include only Stritch’s accompaniment). The opener is the title track, originally from The Band Wagon, a witty apology for good behavior that fits Minnelli's persona perfectly. ("I never had a taste for wine, now isn't that a sin?/I never had a taste for wine, for wine can't compare with gin.") "You Fascinate Me So" and "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" are taken with the small group, a sympathetic band that accentuates the intended warmth. Throughout, Minnelli ably deflates the usual criticisms of an aging voice, turning her occasional weaknesses into interpretive strengths, smiling her way through the frailties.
AllMusic Review by John Bush