“Cheek to Cheek” is heaven

By: Zenab Saeed ~Staff Writer~

Tony Bennet & Lady Gaga make this a jazz standard for the ages.

In late September, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga released a collaborative jazz standard album. “Cheek to Cheek” couples the unexpected duo’s vocals on 11 tracks that are covers of classic jazz songs.

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“Cheek to Cheek” topped the Billboard charts with more than 130,000 units sold.

The album follows Gaga’s 2013 release of the album “Artpop, ” which, though successful with chart-topping tracks like “Applause” and “Do What U Want,” had an unexpectedly lackluster performance in comparisonto her 2011 release of the album “Born This Way.”

Unlike her previous albums, however, “Cheek to Cheek” has a completely different and completely less avant-garde sound. Gaga relies more on her vocals and, in comparison with her typically pop-oriented songs, showcases her versatility as a singer and performer.

Gaga’s vocals deliver, especially on her emotional solo track “Lush Life,” which presents a smooth feeling that is made even smoother with her strong performance.

Enhanced by Bennett’s iconic, velvety voice, tracks like the leading single “Anything Goes” shine and offer a perfectly complemented duet.

The album is overall wellpaced and features a range of tempos and fluctuates between slower tracks like “But Beautiful” and faster, more upbeat songs like “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

The title track “Cheek to Cheek,” which begins with a deliberate verse by Gaga and progresses toward a more energized sound, is especially deserving of recognition and captures the essence of the album.

Though the collaboration between the 88-year-ol d jazz vocalist and the 28-year-ol d meat-wearing pop icon is certainly unexpected, it works and might be just what Gaga needs to further her career and, by exposing her “Little Monsters” to a new sound, reignite appreciation for jazz.

A performance special of the album “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!” is scheduled to air on Oct. 24 on PBS as a part of the network’s 2014 Arts Fall Festival.

And if that is not enough Bennett and Gaga to quench your jazz needs, the duo is planning on touring together and releasing a sequel album in the near future.

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