Picks and Pans Review: If You Could See Me Now

UPDATED 08/28/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/28/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Julie Budd (Sin-Drome/ After 9)

Pop singer Julie Budd looks a little like Barbra Streisand and sounds a lot like her. So it's easy to think of her as Streisand Lite. This album is no exception. Like Streisand, Budd, 46, has a big voice and a rare clarity of diction that draws listeners into her lyrics. Also like Babs, however, Budd has a tendency to value histrionics over musicality, overdramatizing even such a basically straightforward song as "Let's Face the Music and Dance." And she goes stiff at times, shrouding her natural swing. The most entertaining aspect of this album is the imaginative choice of material, with tracks by Duke Ellington and Stephen Sondheim and one from Michael Jackson's Dangerous. Slightly flawed but always a pro, Budd has become a reliable big-time singer.

Bottom Line: Pop veteran delivers a polished program

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