Release Me 2

Release Me 2

When Barbra Streisand had to rethink plans for an upcoming album after the coronavirus forced the world into lockdown in 2020, she pivoted: Instead of seeking out new sounds, she reacquainted herself with her own vintage recordings. “I actually was collecting songs to make a new studio album,” she tells Apple Music. “But as you know, when you make a record, you have to see people; you have to talk to arrangers and producers and musicians. I can't sing with a mask, obviously. So this was the time to go back into the vault and find things that I haven't released yet.” Release Me 2—which follows 2012’s Release Me, her first collection of previously unreleased material—features 10 tracks that surfaced during Streisand’s latest return to the treasure trove of her musical archives. It features duets with fellow icons that were recorded across decades, from Willie Nelson (who joins her on “I’d Want It to Be You”) and Barry Gibb (on “If Only You Were Mine,” a jazzy, playful romp for her and her old friend and “Guilty” collaborator) to Kermit the Frog (with whom she harmonizes on a human/Muppet rendition of “Rainbow Connection”). It also features a number of songs that resonate with her now far more than they did when she initially laid them to tape, like “Be Aware,” a social justice anthem she first recorded in the ’70s. “I wanted to help the world,” she says of the album’s lead-off track, which was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. “I wanted to help our country. I couldn't stand what was going on in the Vietnam War. It seems like yesterday.” Another standout, her take on Carole King’s “You Light Up My Life” off her 1973 album Fantasy, reflects the soul and intention of Release Me 2: Sometimes a beautiful musical moment is worth the wait—even if it means revisiting an old vocal take nearly five decades later and sprucing it up. “I remember recording it in 1973, but it was like a lousy arrangement—it had no magic, so I never released it,” she says before praising the newly revamped instrumentation for the Release Me 2 version. “I know I did a good vocal on it, but I let it disappear. So to reexamine it now—it's even a better feel than when I recorded it. I think it had to do with my own psyche at the time. I don't think I was really happy, and now I'm happy. I'm grateful. And I think it shows.”

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