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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Unexpected Dreams - Songs from the Stars

MUSIC REVIEWS

 

Various Artists-Unexpected Dreams - Songs from the Stars (Rhino)

There is always a fear of Golden Throats camp factor when actors start to picture themselves as singers.  Beyond the fact that they are trying a new art form that they are not necessarily talented in, actors have had a tendency to oversell music.  This CD, which is essentially a series of lullabies and tributes to children, is particularly susceptible to maudlin tendencies.

Therefore it is a nice surprise that Unexpected Dreams is actually a rather pretty and restrained cabaret tribute to parenthood.  In fact, it rather feels like a cast album for a musical that just hasn't been released yet.  If it does occasionally get sappy, that is due to the subject matter.  Nothing can turn an adult into a simpering romantic more quickly than a child. 

However, there are a series of restrained and passionate performances coming here from some rather unexpected sources.  Some of these actors we already knew could sing.  Ewan McGregor has sung in films, John C. Reilly was a scene-stealer in Chicago, Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) got his start on Broadway, John Stamos has toured with the Beach Boys.  All of them do sweetly restrained and heartfelt versions of their songs Sade's "The Sweetest Gift, "Lullabye in Ragtime," Elton John's "The Greatest Discovery" and Billy Joel's "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)" in order.

More interesting are the actors you just wouldn't expect it from.  Scarlett Johansson's natural tendency towards slight detachment works stunningly in her version of George Gershwin's "Summertime."  Jennifer Garner also has a surprisingly subtle and virile voice, as does Jeremy Irons.  And who would have ever thought that Lucy Lawless (Xena) could sing?

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss continues her ongoing attempt to keep her husband Brad Hall employed by doing a pretty version of his song "Nightshift."  Nia Vardales does a sweet cover of the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" before the album closes out on a nice note with Teri Hatcher's "Good Night." 

I'm not going to lie, Unexpected Dreams has a lot more to offer children and parents than to those of us who are neither.  However, it makes for a sweet listen either way.  (6/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.  Posted: June 11, 2006.

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Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.  Posted: June 11, 2006.