Barry Manilow

Reviews: Barry Manilow & Reba McEntire, “Islands in the Stream” and Dolly Parton, “Drives Me Crazy”

January 11, 2009 // 8 Comments

“Islands in the Stream” is a ridiculous song. The arrangement is tacky. The lyrics make absolutely no sense. It’s basically a big ol’ hunk of cheese, aged since 1983. So why did it work so well, and become such a memorable record that it was even named the greatest country duet of all-time by CMT? Simple. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton sang it with enthusiasm, and the sheer force of their personalities saved the day. It’s still a fun record to listen to. Rogers is on top of his game, and Parton, always the perfect saleswoman, belts out the admittedly solid melody with gusto. It’s two stars at their zenith having a darn good time. Hence the problem with the recent remake by Barry Manilow and Reba McEntire. It’s a joyless affair, as they painstakingly recreate the original, never deviating from the source material. They treat it like a sacred Read More