How to solve a problem like a compilation – my alternative Unmasked

I make my own suggestions about interpretations of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs that could have been included on his new compilation album Unmasked

“They must have excitement, and so must I”

In a world of Spotify and iTunes and other online music services, compilation albums ought to have died a death. But the enduring success of the Now That’s What I Call Music series puts the lie to that, showing that while the idea of curating your own content is tempting, many of us prefer to let someone else do it for us.

So Andrew Lloyd Webber’s decision to release new anthology Unmasked is a canny one in that respect (read my review here), tapping into the desire to have a nicely pleasant set of musical theatre tunes to pop on in the car. And as with any compilation, it’s as much about what hasn’t been included as what has, that stands out.

With that in mind, I’m presenting my alternative version of Unmasked – the interpretations of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s songs that I would have chosen, whether because of childhood memories, to showcase under-appreciated talent, to write ancient wrongs (#TeamLuPone). Don’t consider this a replacement but rather an addendum, discs 5 in the super-deluxe version! Who would you have picked?

Unmasked Disc 5 – The Clowns pick
Memory – Leading Ladies
Pure quality
The Phantom of the Opera – Nadim Naaman & Celinde Schoenmaker
An interpretation that dares to be a little different
You Must Love Me – Elena Roger
As nice as Lana del Rey’s new version is and as politely as Madonna sings it, it was Roger who first actually made you believe this is a song sung by a woman on her deathbed
Next Time You Fall In Love – Connie Fisher & Lee Mead
Smooth as you like, just a beautiful duet
Buenos Aires – Patti LuPone
Relations between La LuPone and the Lord have defrosted significantly recently and it’s a shame that she’s not represented on the official record as the personality with which she imbues Eva is just stunning
The Perfect Year – Dina Carroll
I’m not usually a fan of the pop versions of ALW songs that pop up here and there (cough Boyzone cough) but this, this, is a thing of real loveliness
Any Dream Will Do (Finale) – Jason Donovan & Linzi Hateley
Listening to the Joseph cast recording is one of my absolute happy places and by the time we get to the finale, even the worst of commutes seem manageable 
I Don’t Know How To Love Him – Ruthie Henshall
I could listen to Henshall sing all day long
Another Suitcase in Another Hall- Barbara Dickson
For my money, the biggest snub from the main Unmasked tracklisting
Pharoah Story – Linzi Hateley
To my mind, the most beautiful melody that ALW has ever come up with
The Music of the Night – Barbra Streisand & Michael Crawford
Not a particular favourite song of mine but the unexpected harmonies here are gorgeous
Unexpected Song (Live at Carnegie Hall) – Bernadette Peters
The way in which she wrangles this song into the shape she wants is quite something to behold, a masterclass in interpretation
Our Kind of Love – Hannah Waddingham
aka The better version of Love Never Dies…
Whistle Down The Wind – Louise Dearman
This stripped back aesthetic really suits Dearman’s voice
As If We Never Said Goodbye – Betty Buckley
Ria Jones may be taking this on around the country at the moment but Buckley shimmers gorgeously in this rendition
The Music Of The Night – Danielle Hope, Ceili O’Connor & Edward Baker-Duly
See above comments about Streisand and Crawford
Only You – Michael Crawford & Frances Ruffelle
I’ve never seen Starlight Express but this track made me really fancy it when I was a kid
The Last Man In My Life – Marti Webb
How this has been taken in and out of various versions of Tell Me On A Sunday I’ll never know, it is such a beautiful song 
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again – John Owen-Jones
There’s still not much gender-swapping when it comes to ALW songs but this is a rare example that has a special quality to it
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina – Madalena Alberto
Argentina via Portugal, it works
Take That Look Off Your Face – Josie Walker
The lower end of Walker’s register is beautifully served in this track
Rainbow High – Kim Criswell
Another Eva that benefits from boldness
Jesus Christ Superstar – Clive Rowe
Who doesn’t love a bit of Clive?
As If We Never Said Goodbye – Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
Only because I like to imagine them singing it to each other…

Bonus track
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again – Rebecca Caine, Gina Beck & Annalene Beechey
Such harmonies, such wonder!

And here’s the list on Spotify for your listening pleasure.

 

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