Review: 'Release Me 2' a Trove of Long-Unreleased Treasures

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday August 6, 2021

Review: 'Release Me 2' a Trove of Long-Unreleased Treasures

Barbra Streisand is an icon, and every release should be regarded as an event. "Release Me 2" is a distinct treasure mostly comprised of previously unreleased music that stands up against all of her hits.

When you've had a career like Streisand's — one that spans generations and has entertained from the stage to the screen, to recordings and back again — you can afford introspection: The luxury to look upon your body of work and give some thoughtful attention to what has been accomplished and what is worthy of a second listen. Streisand gives a fresh new feel to previously unreleased tracks on this latest release of vault material.

One would imagine that Streisand, known for her incredible ear and strict dedication to perfection, wouldn't consider it pertinent to revisit music from her catalog, which makes this latest compilation all the more special. "Release Me 2" is the second volume of rarities from Streisand's career. These unearthed tracks have never been more relevant and speak to the enduring timelessness of an artist as talented as is dedicated to her art.

The album's first single is a duet with Willie Nelson, "I'd Want It To Be You," originally intended for her 2014 album "Partners." The phenomenal song was still a work in progress when it was shelved and was revisited in 2020 by producers Walter Afanassieff and Kenny "Baby Face" Edmonds. The track is featured here alongside a duet with Barry Gibb, a collaborator of Streisand's from her 1980 pop hit "Guilty," and the standard pop favorite "Rainbow Connection," featuring Kermit the Frog. Opening track "Be Aware" is perhaps one of her most resonant performances yet.

Another standout is "You Light Up My Life" (by Carole King), a beautifully sultry and radio-friendly love song that has never seen the light of day until now. Also featured is a jaunty duet, with the aforementioned Barry Gibb, "If Only You Were Mine," which has a skip-happy beat that works here. Each one of the songs on "Release Me 2" will undoubtedly emerge as a new favorite for longtime fans, but for the casual Streisand listener, here is a career-refining opportunity to get reacquainted with one of the most dynamic talents in music.

It will remind us of the purity of her skill as a vocalist and the magic of her talent as a performer. "Release Me 2" continues the trend of excellence that has always been Barbra Streisand's benchmark.

"Release Me 2," by Barbra Streisand, is available now.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".