The Good: Excellent voice, Catchy tunes
The Bad: Lounge act lyrics that are often more concerned with rhyme than sensibility.
The Basics: Buy if you like a great voice and/or enjoyed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Don't bother if you're looking for intelligence or something other than fun.
James Darren presents here a wide variety of lounge act songs, most of which have been out of style since the mid-1960s. Why buy the album, then? Well, because he's just that good.
The bias against this album is easily that James Darren is not a young man and this music is completely unmarketable to the 12 - 18 year old c.d. buying public. This One’s From The Heart is a collection of mostly Sinatra standards, recreated in James Darren's smooth, soulful voice. Instead of appealing to the youngsters, this album reaches the narrow demographic of educated individuals who watched and enjoyed the increasingly intelligent Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This is dinner music. It has class.
The connection to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is not an erroneous one; James Darren played a holographic lounge singer in the last season and a half of the popular science fiction show. Most of the tracks on this album were recorded by Darren for the television show. As a result, this album has special meaning and significance for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Broader appeal is lacking in that most people will prefer the original Sinatra cuts.
Even the simplistic writing on some of the songs is excused by Darren's voice. He's an excellent singer. And if you like lounge tunes, he's putting out great music. His rendition of "Here's To The Losers" is funny, his take on "The Way You Look Tonight" is heartwrenching and his "It's Only A Paper Moon" is memorable.
Basically, This One’s From The Heart is a series of cover songs that were originally made popular by the likes of Frank Sinatra. If you know his mellow voice, smooth lyricked songs, you know what type of music James Darren is singing here. And it may be refreshing to hear "Satin Doll" performed with a slightly different voice for variety, but it's certainly nothing new and that sense comes off from track one. Unlike Heather Nova, who completely reinterprets a song she covers, Darren is simply repeating the music in his own voice and his own charisma.
That's not to say this album isn't good. Darren's renditions of "Come Fly With Me" and "That Old Black Magic" are distinctively Darren's. I've heard the originals while out at restaurants - hence not knowing who sung them - and they sound dramatically different from the versions on this album. I like James Darren's versions here; they fit the songs well and he's just plain smooth.
It's hard to recommend this for everyone because it's not especially great music, but it is the top of its genre. If you watched and enjoyed the last seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the album is recommended - it's easy to remember some of the best moments of the series listening to Darren sing them again, in their entirety here. If you know my reviews, you know I am a fan of that series and ultimately, that's why I do recommend it.
The best track is "The Way You Look Tonight." It's hard to say what the weak link is because so many of the songs ARE simplistic - it's a pretty simple genre.
For other performers and artists presenting similar works, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Love Songs - Elvis Presley
This Is Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman
I Dreamed A Dream - Susan Boyle
For other music reviews, be sure to visit my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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