Bette Midler Is a miracle worker of sorts, the kind of singer who can evoke a mood given a few notes. What surprises most about her style is the breathy passion with which she wraps each phrase without distorting the continuity of the melody.
Her latest album “Songs for t h e N ew Depression” (Atlantic SD-18155) is an interim into the world of disappointment and disillusion, particularly evident in “Mr. Rockefeller,” “Buckets of Rain” and “Tragedy.” The greatest amount of pathos is derived not from the lyrics but the texture and emotional disclosure of her voice.
This record features a constellation of talent like Bob Dylan, Rick Derringer and Todd Rundgren‘s Utopia. A smooth back-up choir, a relaxing string section and meticulous arranging by John Lissauer provide ‘strong support for this emotionally articulate chanteuse.