Susan Boyle

Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from the Stage

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If at first glance you don't quite realize Susan Boyle's fourth album, Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from the Stage, has a concept, it could be due to how Boyle so often draws from the songbook of the Great White Way. Here, she tackles songs from many different eras of Broadway, stretching all the way back to Harold Arlen's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and going all the way up to "This Is the Moment" from 1997's Jekyll & Hyde. Along the way, ABBA's "The Winner Takes it All" gets grandfathered in due to its inclusion on Mama Mia, Donny Osmond appears not once but twice, Michael Crawford -- the Phantom himself -- comes in to duet on "The Music of the Night," one of three Andrew Lloyd-Webber songs here. The style of music may be familiar for Boyle, but the sound is slightly different, thanks in part to the singer switching from her longtime producer Steve Mac to Richard "Biff" Stannard, an X-Factor producer who retains Boyle's stateliness while dialing back on the somnolence. Which isn't to say Standing Ovation is a rollicking little party album -- far from it. Boyle never strays from her show-stopping-ballad wheelhouse, but the combination of a producer with a lighter touch and a focused concept help make Standing Ovation her easiest album to enjoy.

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