Bette Midler

Some People's Lives

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Despite Bette Midler's bawdy, cartoonish image, her albums are almost always classy A/C collections that are often buried under overproduction. So on Some People's Lives, one of the singer's strongest collections, it isn't surprising that the only hit, "From a Distance," a song of hope and peace, is in keeping with much of her material -- namely poor production that is buoyed by her sterling vocals and strong lyrics. Aside from that, however, Some People's Lives is a smooth collection of standards like Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets" and contemporary cuts like Diane Warren's "Moonlight Dancing." Kicking off with the punchy "One More Round," Midler sets the stage for sassy up-tempo numbers, then slides into the title song, a haunting ballad of despair that shows she is on more solid ground than ever. This is Midler at her best -- playful, yearning, brassy, regretful -- and that is mostly because producer Arif Mardin surrounds his star with respectful production that matches her talent while accenting her strengths. Standouts are the title cut, "Miss Otis Regrets," "He Was Too Good to Me/Since You Stayed Here," and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most."

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