Follow Us on Twitter

Dame Shirley Bassey - The Performance

Dame Shirley Bassey, The Performance

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT’S A momentous release no matter how you view it… The Performance marks Dame Shirley Bassey’s first full studio album in over 20 years – and the wait was worth it.

Produced by David Arnold, the Grammy Award-winning producer best known for scoring five James Bond films, the 11-track album features songs written specifically for Dame Shirley by the likes of Take That’s Gary Barlow, The Manic Street Preachers, Pet Shop Boys, KT Tunstall and Rufus Wainwright.

It also features a new composition from John Barry and Don Black – the first new song written by them for Dame Shirley since Diamonds Are Forever.

For the most part, the album takes on a classic cinematic feel, with Dame Shirley’s oh-so distinct vocals effortlessly centre-stage. But some of the compositions lend the tracks a grandeur befitting her voice… flitting from 007-style bombast to South American verve.

I, personally, preferred the more upbeat, cinematically focused material. So, it was with trepidation that I embarked upon the rest of the album after hearing Tom Baxter’s slow-build opener Almost There… arguably one of the weaker entries.

But the album came to life immediately afterwards, with the lavish, Flamenco-backed Apartment, as penned by Rufus Wainwright. The mix of Spanish guitars, South American rhythm and Dame Shirley vocals is utterly intoxicating.

There’s a grand romanticism surrounding the piano-heavy This Time, as written by Gary Barlow, and nicely delivered by Dame Shirley… but I Love You Now just edges it for swoonsome quality and vivacious delivery.

John Barry and Don Black’s Our Time Is Now has a 007 quality that’s vaguely reminiscent of We Have All The Time In The World, and is beautifully composed and delivered.

While the David Arnold/Don Black collaboration No Good About Goodbye could also easily grace the soundtrack of an upcoming Bond soundtrack.

While two further highlights come from the upbeat The Girl From Tiger Bay, as co-written by Arnold with The Manic Street Preachers, and a wonderfully tender After The Rain (penned by Richard Hawley), which demonstrates a vulnerability that’s now always associated with Dame Shirley vocally.

In short, this is a collection that should delight every fan, while broadening this singer’s appeal still further.

Download picks: Apartment, I Love You Now, After The Rain, Our Time Is Now, The Girl From Tiger Bay, No Good About Goodbye

Track listing:

  1. Almost There
  2. Apartment
  3. This Time
  4. I Love You Now
  5. Our Time Is Now
  6. As God Is My Witness
  7. No Good About Goodbye
  8. The Girl From Tiger Bay
  9. Nice Men
  10. After The Rain
  11. The Performance Of My Life