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Diana Krall's 'Wallflower' fails to inspire

Diana Krall's 'Wallflower' fails to inspire
Diana's Krall's "Wallflower" collects renditions of familiar soft-pop tunes from the '60s and '70s such as "Superstar," 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" by Elton Joh

The last time we heard from Diana Krall, on 2012's "Glad Rag Doll," the popular singer and piano player was exploring songs from the 1920s and '30s that she'd discovered in her father's collection of 78-rpm vinyl. Three years later, Krall is still looking back, but this time she's not trying to impress anyone with what she's found.

"Wallflower" collects renditions of familiar soft-pop tunes from the '60s and '70s such as "Superstar," 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" by Elton John; the album's only obscurities are by guys named Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

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That kind of repertoire puts the listener's focus on interpretation. So what does Krall have to say about this most well-examined of eras? At moments she plays her chilly vocals against producer David Foster's high-schmaltz arrangements in a way that suggests some suspicion about the collision of hippie idealism and Me Decade entitlement. And you sense her interest in the evolution of gender roles when she has Michael Bublé duet with her on a witty "Alone Again (Naturally)."

But just as often it sounds as if Krall's big aim is getting thousands of baby boomers to come see her on the road this summer. Her pretty yet pointless version of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why" lives down to its title.

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Diana Krall

"Wallflower"

(Verve)

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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