#1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, week of 9/17/16
What it is: A new collection of Broadway duets featuring Streisand and stars such as Anne Hathaway, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Jamie Foxx–well, just check out the track list for yourself, it’s pretty impressive.
See, this is the kind of project I was hoping this blog would lead me to. If I wasn’t doing #1s, I don’t think I would’ve known there was a new Barbra Streisand album, or that it outsold every other album last week, or that it featured Streisand pairing up with Seth MacFarlane on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory‘s “Pure Imagination.” MacFarlane, unfortunately, does not do his part in the Peter Griffin voice.
At first I was surprised this record did so well, because I would’ve figured that Streisand’s fan base was cultishly devoted but small rather than broad-based. But upon listening it becomes clear that this record’s appeal probably is not about Streisand herself so much as the Glee-era appetite for the kind of almost-kitschy-but-earnest content that appeals to the theater geek demographic. And I have to admit that on that level, the whole thing is pretty enjoyable. MacFarlane notwithstanding, the record probably peaks with “Anything You Can Do,” which features Melissa McCarthy and altered lyrics in which McCarthy and Streisand argue over who the better performer is. (“In any comedy, I can be crasser! I can be crasser and cruder than you!”) It’s corny as hell, but you kind of want to hear it now, don’t you?