Love Songs And Lullabyes

Jim Brickman

Windham Hill Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I actually hate to admit how familiar I am with this, the latest release from New Age pianist Jim Brickman. I don't think a day has gone by without me hearing at least part of Love Songs And Lullabyes, which has taken up permanent residence in my wife's CD player she placed in the twins' bedroom.

The more I listen to this disc, the more I realize two important things about it. First, Brickman could have made this a better album by sticking to either a disc of love songs or a disc of lullabyes. Second, Brickman should know better than to use chords which don't resolve.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Let me address the latter first. Every time I hear the ballad "You" (featuring vocals from Jane Krakowski), I cringe every time I hear Brickman go into that first chord change in the opening and the subsequent bridges. What should be a C# leading into a D chord inexplicably turns into a C natural and ends up sticking out like the audio equivalent of a sore thumb. There has to be some reason why Brickman makes a chord change such as this which ruins an otherwise beautiful song - but I can't figure it out. If Brickman happens to be reading, I'd greatly appreciate some insight on this.

As for meshing children's songs and love songs together - well, it's not lack of ability on Brickman's part to perform either side of this coin. He's rightfully earned a reputation as one of America's leading romantic composers for piano, and tracks like "Love Never Fails" (with Amy Sky on vocals) and "Beautiful (As You)" (featuring All-4-One) further cement that position. Likewise, Brickman has hinted at a love of children's music in the past, going so far as to include a cover of "The Rainbow Connection" as a bonus track on Destiny. There is no doubt that Brickman handles such songs as "Little Stars," "I See The Moon" and "Dreamland" lovingly.

The problem - at least in my estimation, in my household - comes in when the two styles intermix. The gentle songs are perfect for trying to get our babies to sleep, but when a song like "Love Never Fails" kicks in, sometimes I fear the strong vocal mixes might disturb our angels' golden slumber. This, I don't believe, was Brickman's intention, and while his concept of tackling both styles of music is good, putting them together isn't as successful an idea as it might have been on paper.

Is Love Songs And Lullabyes still an enjoyable disc? Absolutely. But I have to wonder how much better this disc would have been had Brickman tackled nothing but children's songs and lullabyes. Something tells me it would have been a hit for adults and kids alike.

Rating: B-

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