Picks and Pans Review: Here at the Mayflower

updated 01/14/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

Barry Manilow (Concord)

Irony is sweet: Manilow's greatest weakness—his tendency to over-emotionalize songs—has become an asset in his second incarnation as a light-jazz and interpretive singer. After successfully summoning the specter of Frank Sinatra on his previous disc, Manilow has released his first collection of original tunes in more than 10 years, a concept album about the tenants of a Manhattan apartment building. His lyrics still tend to the sudsy, but he has learned to blend his earnest emotions with musical subtlety and even occasional wit. He'll never have the informed sophistication of Sinatra or Bennett, but Manilow has a willingness to experiment that would be admirable for any 58-year-old, let alone one who has made the whole world sing.

Bottom Line: Smooth sailing

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