Sure, Carly. We saw you on your HBO special, singing — or proving unable to sing — the pop standards on your hapless last album, My Romance. You’re much better here, in Have You Seen Me Lately?, thank God. In fact, you’re sometimes positively fetching, and I don’t mean just on the album cover, where as usual you’ve put a photo of yourself that’s just steps away from cheesecake.
No, I challenge any adult with a mature and friendly heart to resist the first few songs on your latest, even ”Life Is Eternal,” a New Age look at mortality (”Death is only a horizon,” you sing) that breathes an air of genuine uplift, thanks to the modestly soaring chorus you were inspired to write.
Other strong numbers include ”Waiting at the Gate,” a serious, loving portrait of a man going into rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, and two mildly bittersweet love songs, ”Better Not Tell Her” and the title track. Both sound firm, tender, and genuine, with pointed melodies and an airy outdoor aura.
True, the music on the last half of your album isn’t quite as convincing. And I can’t help hearing that your voice betrays you in spots, turning lifeless. But I just don’t care. The candid feeling in the best songs here is worth a thousand times more than other singers’ empty perfection. B
Have You Seen Me Lately?