August 25, 2005
Let no one ever accuse Carly Simon of jumping on the current standards bandwagon. Though Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald beat her to the punch, Simon was still way ahead of the curve for the rock generation. Torch, the singer-songwriter's first album of songs from the American songbook, came out back in 1981, well before not only Rod Stewart's but Linda Ronstadt's too. And while it may be hard to argue that nobody does it better, Simon demonstrates on her fourth album of standards that she remains an assured and expressive stylist, quite comfortable with the exquisite melodic and lyrical subtleties of material like "All the Things You Are," "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "Moonglow." Moonlight Serenade also marks Simon's reunion with producer Richard Perry, who was behind the boards for Simon's earliest triumphs, like "You're So Vain" and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain." It's nice to see these two back together and still holding themselves to a high standard.