Picks and Pans Review: Thighs and Whispers
Is this a bridled Bette or a middle-aged Midler we see before us, at 34? Or is she lying low awaiting the release of her Janis Joplin film, The Rose? She seems strangely subdued on this, her first studio LP since 1977. There is her traditional homage to the '40s—a nondescript rendition of the Bob Crosby hit, Big Noise from Winnetka. There is disco on My Knight in Black Leather, Hang On in There Baby, and a throbbed up Married Men that sounded better when Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow sang it straight on Saturday Night Live. The only impressive cut is a quiet, thoughtful treatment of James Taylor's factory lament, Millworker. Overall, the Midler exuberance seems excessively toned down. There is too much whisper, not enough thigh.