Picks and Pans Review: Only You

updated 03/01/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/01/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Harry Connick Jr.

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Aaron Neville did it. So did Rod Stewart. There's nothing novel about Harry Connick Jr. recording a disc of pop standards for this solid but unsurprising set. Whether he is crooning tunes associated with Glenn Miller ("My Prayer"), the Flamingos ("I Only Have Eyes for You") or Nat King Cole ("My Blue Heaven"), the singer-pianist evokes the soundtrack of your grandparents' lives. Only offers a big-band feel, swinging sax solos and atmospheric strings plucked and bowed through smart, lush arrangements.

Accented by a samba beat or a drummer's brushwork on cymbals, cuts like "More" and "The Very Thought of You" heat up the romance, though only to about the level of a glass of warm milk before bedtime. And Connick would have been wise to avoid "For Once in My Life" and "You Don't Know Me," songs that have already been so memorably performed by Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, respectively. Despite such missteps, though, when set against today's digital, fast-food culture these retro songs are timeless.

POP/JAZZ

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