Review of For The Stars
USA Today, 2001-05-08
- Elysa


Anne Sofie von Otter Meets Elvis Costello, For the Stars (3/4)

As anyone who has listened to Luciano Pavarotti's inadvertently hilarious collaborations with rock stars knows, it's a dicey proposition for classical and pop singers to venture onto each other's turf. Fortunately, Swedish mezzo-soprano von Otter has a versatile instrument and a deft, eclectic partner in Costello, who produces and plays on this lovely collection of thinking person's pop. Unlike many vocalists in her genre, von Otter has the intuition and technical ability necessary to adapt her warm, lyrical voice to songs that require an earthier approach than her classical repertoire. Her wistful, delicately smoky readings of Tom Waits' Broken Bicycles, Brian Wilson and Tony Asher's You Still Believe in Me and Costello's own No Wonder are further enhanced by the haunting arrangements, which are models of elegant minimalism. Not every song is a gem, but all told, Stars will be a welcome surprise to anyone who thinks that "crossover" is a dirty word. — Gardner