A baker's dozen of contemporary hits given a late-night Las Vegas casino cabaret sion...
Michael Quinn 2007
Rock Swings, Paul Anka’s big band take on modern rock anthems earlier this year, was such a shock to the system for some that in several quarters it got a severe critical kicking – not least by a.n.other reviewer on this site.
Classic Songs My Way is more of the same – a baker's dozen of contemporary hits given a late-night Las Vegas casino cabaret sion bristling with peacock pomp.
Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time" lends itself readily to Anka's musical accent to produce a version which is considerably – and happily – less self-regarding and fatuously lachrymose, while Oleta Adams’ power-ballad “Get Here” receives assured and attractive treatment.
So, too, does Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" and Daniel Powter’s "Bad Day" on which Anka's phrasing and vocals are pretty impeccable for a man whose career reaches the half-century mark with this disc. Similarly, Billy Joel's “I Go To Extremes” and Bob Seeger’s “Against The Wind” are dispatched with effortless ease.
Two duets simultaneously connect Anka with contemporary soft-toned crooner, Michael Bublé (a comfortable pairing on Anka's own "You Are My Destiny" that usefully takes some of the teenage heat out of the overblown lyric), and virtually destroys a true classic (Anka's again) with Jon Bon Jovi a woefully lamentable partner on "My Way".
For Anka completists or to get new fans up to speed with one of the great song stylists of the 20th Century, a 20-track bonus disc showcases an artist who also remains one of the great songwriters of the past five decades. Quite a contrast to the main course on offer here, it is too...