Um, isn’t every song Aretha Franklin sings a “Diva Classic”? On her latest album, the Queen of Soul covers hits from other great female vocalists, including Barbra Streisand, Gloria Gaynor, Adele, Sarah Vaughan and others. Franklin’s voice is not exactly what it was, and that’s evident when she reaches for some of her pyrotechnic tools, but that just means she’s slightly more of-this-earth in her sixth decade as an artist. And some of these performances—actually, parts of every song—are beyond beautiful. The instrumentation on these tracks is diverse, including some disco beats, NOLA jazz meets modern R&B on Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and a quite strange swingin’ jazz version of the Prince song popularized by Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” But it’s a song like “Teach Me Tonight,” with its spacious piano bar arrangement, that will make fans thank their lucky stars for this album.
Producers: Aretha Franklin, Clive Davis, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Antonio Dixon, Terry Hunter, DJ Wayne Williams, Harvey Mason Jr., The Underdogs, Eric Kupper, Dapo Torimiro, André “3000” Benjamin. Recording Engineers: Paul Boutin, Joey “808” Fernandez, Andrew Hey, John Hanes, Ken Oriole, Tommy Vicari. Mixing: Tony Maserati, Serban Ghenea, Eric Kupper, Fabian Marasciullo, Neal H. Pogue. Studios: Brandon’s Way Recording (L.A.), Studio A Recording (Dearborn Heights, MI), Capitol Studios (Hollywood), Jungle City (NYC), MixStar Studios (Virginia Beach, VA), Blue Flash Studio (Orland Park, IL), Germano Studios (NYC), MilkBoy the Studio (Philadelphia, PA), Mirrorball Studios (North Hollywood), Underdog Studios (North Hollywood), DMP Studios (L.A.), Silent Sound Studios, Doppler Studios (Atlanta, GA), The Hot Purple Petting Zoo (Hollywood).