In 1980 Barbra Streisand teamed up with Barry Gibb to make the classic, Guilty, one of the best albums of her career. Written and produced by Gibb, the album went on to sell over 20 million units worldwide and was a seminal album for women everywhere. Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Guilty, the two have reunited for a satisfying sequel, Guilty Pleasures, that will be a pleasant nostalgia trip for fans of the original. As anyone who loved Guilty is aware, few producers understand Streisand's voice as well as Gibb. He presents THE VOICE in musical landscapes, rich in mood and atmosphere. Guilty Pleasures shows the evolution of two great talents and the results are mesmerizing. Gibb has composed 10 new songs for this reunion, duetting with Streisand on two tracks, Come Tomorrow and Above The Law. Streisand, for her part, is in good, strong voice throughout, using her range to typically dramatic effect. The album also features Letting Go – a song written for the original Guilty but hitherto unrecorded – which boasts one of the album's most emotionally-charged performances, while (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away was originally recorded by Barry's solo artist brother Andy Gibb.
Every track is a standout with single potential. From the dramatic chord changes and haunting melody of Stranger in a Strange Land to the mellow samba of Hideaway Streisand has rarely sounded better since the 70's. The two Gibb duets are pure gold, both reigniting the magic they shared on Guilty. Other standout cuts are the awesome dance track Night of My Life a deep-base floor-filler already being mixed for the clubs by DJ Junoir Vasquez and the George Michael inspired Golden Dawn with its sensual Brazilian feel. All The Children is a strong anti-war song with its Middle Eastern instrumentals and back-up chorus. Also the stunning Without Your Love with a soaring Streisand vocal and the albums beautiful closer Letting Go possibly Gibb's finest composition, which Streisand performs to perfection.
Guilty Pleasures is a 'Streisandian' spin on a melange of popular styles, including '50s doo-wop, Motown, disco, Broadway, and something vaguely waltz-like. If that sounds gimmicky and contrived, it isn't. The musical influences are more under Streisand's spell rather than the other way around. Then there's that voice: fire-and-brimstone bold one minute, cashmere soft the next, and fully undiminished overall. The voice of Barry Gibb crops up more than just on the two duets he is credited with, and where it is not being showcased, on (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away for example, it sounds best. The most striking initial impact of listening to Guilty Pleasures is how comfortable both Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb sound. Streisand sounds as if she is making her way through a set of old favorites. This album is the sound of two consummate pop professionals whose talents have only matured with time. With Guilty Pleasures, Streisand has managed to avoid charges that she's past her peak.