Picks and Pans Review: Guilty
updated 11/17/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/17/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
The shrewdest matchmaker this side of Yente in Fiddler on the Roof, Barbra has already recorded chart-topping collaborations with Kris Kristofferson, Neil Diamond and Donna Summer. Her latest musical mate is Bee Gee bro Barry Gibb. In this case she did not just hire a handsome face and a platinum falsetto, but has availed herself of the whole Gibb pop conglomerate. All of the album's nine tunes are written or co-written by Gibb siblings; Barbra sings two stunning duets with Barry (Guilty, What Kind of Foot), and the whole record bears the fingerprint of the polished Bee Gee sound: a space-age wall of sound propelled by a danceable beat and adorned with twinkling harmonies. With one of the few voices around that has the strength to stand up to such lush arrangements, Streisand is at her best on Woman in Love, where she sounds powerful, yet emotionally vulnerable. The duets work because of the pleasant chemistry of her compelling voice juxtaposed with Barry's plaintive falsetto. Because Streisand does not take many risks she does not make bad records, but Guilty is a great record.