After one listen to Aretha Franklin’s newest album (Aretha
Sings the Great Diva Classics) you realize why she’s the Queen. Actually maybe
you won’t if this is your first introduction to her. If you know Aretha from her 60s and 70s hits
than you know, what I know, and the world knows. Aretha Franklin is the Queen
of Soul and she does whatever she wants. You can hear her confidence in each
song. You feel that she left a piece of her Soul and it sticks with you.
Many people have stated that Aretha Franklin sounds old now. Well, my friends at the age of 72, Aretha Franklin is old. I don’t care in what profession she was in (if she wasn't in music), she would be considered old. It makes this collection of 10 classics even more special. Aretha Franklin is doing what God made her to do. She’s singing her heart out and stirring souls. From her jazzy riffs to her Gospel squalls. This is not a legend simply working but a legend working it!
Only Aretha Franklin would have enough heart and voice to even attempt 10 songs that were already huge hits for other artists. All are signature songs for other artists. Can you imagine Rihanna, Taylor Swift or even Beyonce doing something so out there? Both “I’m Every Woman” and “Nothing Compares 2 U” have already been huge hits for two other artists. I love the nod to Whitney she tossed while starting the song with the Whitney arrangement and then throwing in her own signature song “Respect".
The stand out track is “Nothing Compares 2 U” The Prince written Sinead O’Connor megahit. What Aretha and producer Andrea 2000 came up with was legendary in itself. They went big band and it is the most organic soulful song on the entire album. The blaring horns and the kickass piano is just amazing!
This is easily Aretha’s best albums since 1998’s “A Rose Is Still A Rose”. As the title said: Aretha still sits on her throne.
Other interesting readings: Aretha's classic reading of "Teach Me Tonight" which returned her back to her Columbia years where she recorded an entire album dedicated to one of her favorite singers; Dinah Washington, "No One" shows off her one of a kind riffs and runs. "I Will Survive" and "Midnight Train to Georgia just shows you she will always do a song her way which is breaking all the rules and creating something new.