Picks and Pans Review: What Is Love?

UPDATED 02/04/1991 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/04/1991 at 01:00 AM EST

Andrea Marcovicci

To see and hear Marcovicci for the first time is to be captivated. To see and hear her for the second time, then for the third is to get over it. The artifice—the head tilted this way, the hand outstretched just so, the precise diction, the carefully calibrated pauses—begins to dominate. It's too bad, because Marcovicci has a pleasant, albeit rather thin, reedy voice, with the folksinger's timbre. More important, she has impeccable musical taste.

Fortunately the artifice is less apparent on her albums, though there's a marked change from the first effort, Marcovicci Sings Movies, which was from start to exuberant finish a caroling of song for song's sake, to this current album, What Is Love, with its recitations from Dorothy Parker and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and such over-emoted numbers as "You've Changed."

Cavils stated, there are some lovely songs here, charmingly performed. Consider the insouciant "Or What Have You." a pairing of the Kern-Gershwin classic "Long Ago and Far Away" with the duo's much lesser known "Sure Thing." But Marcovicci is at her most fetching with a Harry Barer-Mort Ross love song called "Beyond Compare": "How do I love thee/ Let me count the ways/ One, two, three, four, five, six million/ This could take all day/...Who could compose your Valentine/ Not Billy Rose not Gertrude Stein/ Only a Hart like Larry might/ Tell you what burns in mine tonight." After that, almost but not quite all is forgiven. (DRG)

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