Grammy nominated and winning jazz musician Diana Krall is returning this year with her twelfth studio album, Wallflower; another collection of jazzed up hits, ripe for Krall to add her own spin on the tracks. In 2012 Diana released Glad Rag Doll which consisted of tracks from the 1920s-30s, in contrast the songs covered on Wallflower range from the mid 60’s to the mid 80’s; so we can expect a stellar array of familiar, and to some maybe not so familiar, tunes to fall in love with in a different light.
Wallflower kicks off with the 1965 classic California Dreamin’, Diana’s adaptation is smoothly captivating, it begins with minimal instrumentation before its luscious keys, strings and percussion come in; The Eagles were channeled by Krall in her piano ballad rendition of Desperado, a song famous for not being officially released as a single, delivered to perfection on this album. Sung by many before, but most famously by The Carpenters, Superstar proves to be a wonderful recording choice for the album with its dragged out strings and more classical approach; Alone Again (Naturally) was a sad song back in 1972 by singer/songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan, Diana’s version retains the emotion and featuring Michael Buble was a great move. Wallflower was originally written and performed by folk legend Bob Dylan in 1971, but it didn’t emerge until he released his The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991, Diana joins many other artists in covering the track with such grace; Paul McCartney’s If I Take You Home Tonight also received the Krall treatment, another decent song choice.
Diana must love The Eagles as she covers them again with her rhythmic rendition of their 1980 hit I Can’t Tell You Why, its percussive elements are to die for and just the overall ambience the track provides is enough to keep you listening; Diana tackles Elton John’s emotional ballad Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word with ease, her vocals mourn through the lyrics and makes you feel every word and every note. Jim Croche’s Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels) tells the story of the narrator who intends on telling an ex-lover that they are over being left by them, only to realise that it’s not true, Diana retells this story like it was always hers to tell; 10cc’s number one single I’m Not In Love is beautifully sung, like all of the songs on this record. Bryan Adams joins Diana on Randy Newman’s Feels Like Home, both singers’ vocals really compliment each other and makes for the perfect listen; last and definitely not least, Diane covers Crowded House’s biggest international hit single Don’t Dream It’s Over, the instrumentation is like a dreamscape that pulls you in, the strings in the chorus are the icing on the cake.
Once again Diana Krall has worked her magic and delivered a commendable array of well-known tracks over three of music’s most important decades, Wallflower is a modern jazz treasure of gold classics; the melodies are reminiscent of the original tracks which is enlightening, and it’s the instrumentation of these covers that win you over. Every stroke of the strings, every play of the piano keys and the constant rhythm of the percussion, each element as important and captivating as the other on this album; thanks Diana for adding your Krall magic to these beloved tracks, it makes them feel just as alive as they would have been all those decades ago.