Singer/pianist Michael Feinstein fronts the Carmel Symphony Orchestra on We Dreamed These Days, leading the ensemble through a collection of romantic ballads that seems to have been assembled to tell an autumnal love story. He begins with composer Michel Legrand and lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman's examination of mature commitment, "How Do You Keep the Music Playing," which suggests the theme. This is not young love or love discovered, it is love examined in midstream. The orchestra's arrangements and Feinstein's vocal delivery both suggest that things are going downhill in this relationship, even as, for instance, he proclaims that "As Long as She Needs Me," he'll stick it out. (Appropriately, the song is a repurposed version of Lionel Bart's "As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver!, sung in the show by Nancy of Bill, who later will kill her.) A turning point seems to come in the medley of "The More I See You" with "There Will Never Be Another You," as Feinstein moves from proclaiming devotion to affectionate reminiscence of a love that is over. Thereafter, he effectively mixes old standards like "I Remember You" with more recent soft rock ballads like Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield's "The Hungry Years" and Peter Allen's "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love." That song is the real album closer, or should have been. Feinstein tacks on a composition of his own, the title song, which ends things on an oddly anthemic note. "We Dreamed These Days" the song, with its heroic arrangement and lyrical references to freedom and liberty, sounds like it was written to be a new national anthem, and doesn't fit with what has come before.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Two for the Road|