Wednesday 14 October 2015

[Duelling Divas] "Memory" From "Cats"

I've been around a fair few years. And I've known that there's a musical dedicated to my most favouritest of creatures for most of that time. Yet, I still have not taken my toosh to see the musical, Cats.

It could have something to do with me hating people and not wanting to be sat next to a stranger for an extended period of time. But that doesn't explain why I've never watched it online or when it's been on television...hmmm. None of this is your concern, so I'll save the rest of this self-exploitory descent into madness for my angst-ridden diary.

One of the most well known songs to come from Cats is of course, Memory (which I've stupidly been calling "Memories" up until now). I was going to paraphrase some of the story behind the lyric and the song's inception, but the way it has been worded on Wiki is slightly confusing. So read/ decipher it for yourself, if you're interested.

Being such a long running, and much loved musical, it's little wonder that Memory has spawned a bevy of covers. And it is thanks to this multi-coverage (and a reader suggestion), that I bring to you this episode of Duelling Divas.

Let's Begin:

Elaine Page: The most well known and respected version of the song. The standard was set with this. Nuff said.

Barbra Streisand: Anyone who knows babs knows that they're going to get controlled vocals, brilliant annunciation and soaring vocals. And that's exactly what she delivers, here.

Celine Dion: An early recording of Celine Dion singing the song. It's not the best recording, and the lows leave me questioning the authenticity of attribution. However, once she gets to the belts it sounds more convincingly like Celine. (Just watched the video, oppose to just listening...I think we can confirm that it's her under all that get up.)

Nicole Scherzinger: Not often respected for her vocal ability, this Diva continues to surprise those who think her skills were fully showcased during her run with the Pussy Cat Dolls. The bottom notes may have been a tad foggy, but everywhere else was supported and dynamically measured. And it was live too!

Susan Boyle: I have such a sweet spot for Susan. Not the most polished of vocals, but her voice does soar on the top notes.

Sarah Brightman: Whereas the others took inspiration RE:the delivery from Elaine Page, Sarah's version sounds different from the outset with its heady take. Definitely a sweeter sounding version, missing some of the sadness that an earthier chest voice imparts. Still impressive.

Shirley Bassey: Something this Dame has always been able to do is to make a song her own. With her unique way of phrasing, her mastery of dynamics and her love of playing with tempo, this version is one that is going to flop or fly depending on a body's appreciation of these stylistic choices.

Kimberley Walsh: Considered the member of Girls Aloud with the voice, this rendition is less musical and more pop. It's not bad, necessarily, just light. Listen to the crescendo to get what I mean.

Hayley Westenra: Vocally, another head-voice dominate rendition. Pure, and youthful, this is how I imagine it would have sounded if recorded for a Disney animated film.

But which version did you like best, and why? Or was there a version I missed off this list that you preferred more? Vote and let me know in the comments!

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