Sunday 13 Jul

Next big thing

As far as songs go, few prove as challenging to sing as our national anthem.

It’s a technically demanding tune from first note to last, to be sure, beginning with a low bellow that quickly soars toward star-punching high notes, eventually swelling to a show-stopping crescendo that even the most seasoned performer can have trouble mastering.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Sheriff Woody

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival featuring Jimmy LaFave, Arlo Guthrie and more

Wednesday through Sunday



07/09/2014 | Comments 0

California dreamin’

Modern Pantheist with The Wurly Birds and Larry Chin

9 p.m. Sunday

Blue Note Lounge 

2408 N. Robinson Ave.



07/02/2014 | Comments 0

Major League tunes

Chipper Jones with The Hitt Boyz, Foxburrows and Milk Jr

8 p.m. Saturday

VZD’s Restaurant & Club

4200 N. Western Ave.


07/02/2014 | Comments 0

Neon colors

Utah-based rockers Neon Trees spent a hot summer night setting fire to Tulsa’s legendary Cain’s Ballroom on June 19. Rounding out the aural palette were Smallpools, a lively L.A. powerhouse, and Nightmare and the Cat, a cadre of black-clad Brit/American alt-rockers. Neon Trees’ latest record, Pop Psychology, was the night’s flux capacitor, transporting all who were willing to a neon-soaked parallel universe.
06/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Pop · Barry Manilow — 15 Minutes

Barry Manilow — 15 Minutes

A comprehensive overview of the 'Copacabana' hitmaker's latest

Stephen Carradini June 8th, 2011

A track-by-track exploration of Barry Manilow’s new album, “15 Minutes,” which drops Tuesday.


1.    The recording style and instrumentation of the folk-rock “15 Minutes” sounds straight out of the ‘80s, which, I suppose, so is Manilow. Kinda.

2.    Vintage disco with Manilow semi-rapping. He hasn’t had to “Work the Room” in 30 years, so this just feels wrong. “Startin’ in sweet with a rockin’ beat / Show ‘em I can really ride” is an utterly indefensible line.

3.    “Bring on Tomorrow” is such a cornball ballad that I couldn’t get through it. Twice. Pulled up “Copacabana” online to remind myself why I’m listening to “15 Minutes.”

4.    My computer froze when “Now It’s for Real” came on. More ‘80s-style folk with anthemic chorus.

5.    Psychedelia from the ‘60s morphing into Motown? What? Also, not addressing the creepiness factor to the lyrics of “Wine Song.”

6.    “He’s a Star” is the first song that actually sounds like Manilow. Lounge-ready pop with some energy, telling a story with the lyrics. The touch of distorted guitar to make him feel modern is totally forgivable.

7.    What’s the hang-up with wine on this disc?

8.    From YouTube to Manilow, Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose has completed some sort of success story by guesting on “Letter from a Fan / So Heavy, So High.” Manilow goes all Meat Loaf on this one.

9.    “Everybody’s Leavin’” is 38 seconds long.

10. Billy Joel is checking through his catalog to make sure he didn’t write “Who Needs You?” And that’s for multiple reasons. Can’t make it through.

11. More neo-psych: “They loved you like pagans / And followed your climb / The strongest, most beautiful one.” The chorus, however, is passable. The news clips outro proves that Manilow is as uninterested in subtlety as ever.

12. While the lyrics to “Slept Through the End of the World” are maudlin, the acoustic songwriting is pretty good (Neil Diamond, anyone?). Incidentally, I went through a phase where I had nightmares that I actually did that.

13. Just 44 seconds long. Are you getting tired of this shtick yet? You’re not the only one.

14. “Wake up / Train wreck / No navigator / Sooner or later / All up to you.”

15. Reprise of title track. Feels more like a haunting than a déjà vu.

16. Straight-up, enthusiastic disco that sounds more natural than anything else on the disc. Nevertheless, “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right” is a straight-up lie. —Stephen Carradini
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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06.10.2011 at 06:36 Reply


You managed to spell Barry's name correctly...

You obviously don't like Barry.

It's OK. You don't get it.

Thankfully, thousands of his fans will.


06.10.2011 at 12:58 Reply

Mr. Carradini

It's clear you went into the album prepared to dislike it. You can't see beyond your own bias slant  to appreciate the genius musician, composer and entertainer Mr. Manilow is.

You also forgot to do your homework, as its clear you have no clue what the concept of the album is or that it's a story about people finding fame, not personally about BARRY MANILOW!

Like him or not, he has stayed the test of time for nearly four decades with millions of fans, still selling out every show, and headlining on the Las Vegas strip. What have you done lately?

I dislike simple minded journalists. Don't mind a fair review giving an honest opinion, even if you don't like the album. But yours states nothing more than a childish rant against what didn't make you happy.

I'd like to share my review of the album to fairly give your readers a completely opposite opinion about what the album actually represents.

15 Minutes: Fresh! Powerful! Intelligent! Timely!

When you listen to 15 Minutes, Barry Manilow’s first original album in a decade, lend a new ear. It’s time to put aside preconceived notions of power ballads and love songs; gone are the covers. This isn’t the Manilow music you’re used to, but it is Manilow—composer, musician, singer—at his absolute finest. In fact, I am so blown away; I believe this album is the most emotionally charged body of work Barry Manilow has ever put his hand to. His passion, heart, and soul are gloriously palpable throughout.

Surging guitar, resonant drums and pounding piano, create rock with a hint of country; rockabilly, perhaps. Thankfully, among the new elements remains Mr. Manilow’s indisputable, magnificent style. It’s unthinkable to hide what’s been perfection for nearly four decades. No legend ever has.

With a nod to the famous Andy Warhol quote, 15 Minutes is based on Barry’s unique concept. Formulated from stories of young stars suddenly reaching fame without the emotional readiness or support to handle all that goes with it, sadly causing some to crash and burn, this is a narrative set to music.

As one song compliments and weaves seamlessly into the next, we’re taken on an emotional roller coaster as a performer struggles to achieve fame, reaches his goal, and…what happens next is yours to learn; sharing the climax would ruin the journey.

The album’s tagline asks, “Fame…can you take it?” But don’t think that it relates only to the celebrity life most of us will never know. The concept and lyrics are adaptive to everyone, especially in our shaky economic world. Lives from mail room to boardroom have been heaved into uncertainty and loss. We struggle to reach our goals and then, like glass on tile, we shatter. If we’re strong, we re-evaluate what means the most to us and climb the mountain again and, maybe, once more. The message of this album affords us the opportunity to reflect on the personal choices we make and the possible consequences that ensue.

Manilow adds a new dimension to his innate ability to make the listener feel. Through his remarkable, award worthy performance, he takes on the persona of the character he delivers. We hope, hurt, cheer, and cry as the story becomes immensely real. Like audio literature, use your imagination to visualize the characters and conjure images as you choose. So superb is his execution, I was left breathless, imagining him an actor, leaving the stage in exhaustion after submerging himself in his role.

“Phenomenal” is the only way to describe the dynamic power and intensity of Barry Manilow’s voice. Like fine wine improving with age, Barry has been graced with resonating richness and clarity of emotion, the character’s feelings magnified by his infinite range. And the youthfulness of his voice is not unnoticed in enhancing the credibility.

Likewise notable, there are great composers, dynamic musicians and talented singers but how many can lay claim to remarkable talent in all arenas?

Soulful harmonica, woeful guitar and drum open the album, setting the scene, as we meet a frustrated, hard-working guy with a dream, perhaps stopping to wipe his brow, digging a road in hot sun. His quest for yet unreachable fame takes focus in imploring, “Don’t let me be an untold story.” Soaring drums create racy excitement when we follow him to meet “suits” holding his destiny. He takes the opportunity to “Work the Room”. You fall in love with the character during the gorgeous ballad, “Bring On Tomorrow,” sung to his sleeping love, with tender, heart-melting gentleness akin to a lullaby: “Whatever you’re dreamin’ is no longer on hold.” You want this guy to make it, and big! We feel him level with reality, his dream has come true, in “Now It’s for Real” as he sings, “All the way up I’m gonna climb / been waitin’ forever, and here”s my time.”

Is he losing touch with what really matters? Has the downward spiral already begun? Is he finding fake clarity with a substance? Who’s he telling “I need a little warmth in my bed” in “Wine Song?” Barry gives the character just the right edge of heady ego, proclaiming “He’s a Star” ; "no one can tell him anymore". Fooling himself into thinking that happiness is his, that it doesn’t matter that he has “no companions, only enemies and slaves,” as long as concert halls are filled and “they’re hangin on his music.”

“Written In Stone,” a personal favorite, touches on the love of his life that he’s losing, who’s been at his side but is now falling further into the shadows. Doesn’t she see that his life has changed? She needs to be patient. “So I should’a called baby, trust me some more.” Does she get it? “Didn’t I say we were written in stone, so how come I’m here all alone?”. The music of "Bring On Tomorrow" plays gently at songs end, bringing us back to a time when love and happiness truly was his.

Nataly Dawn of the Indie duo Pomplamoose gives a stunning performance in “Letter From a Fan/So Heavy, So High.” Not a duet, but a blend of two potent songs. Nataly in chillingly calm madness is a delusional fan, loving but out of control. Barry’s deep baritone, enhanced with heavy guitar, makes real the “star’s” near-manic renunciation, “too tired to sleep, too wired to try;” he just wants it all to stop because “the well has run dry.”

“Winner Go Down” is equally chilling. You witness the pain a celebrity feels as fans bestow love when he’s up, but quickly kick him to the curb “when they see you break down.” How often have we seen this scenario in daily headlines? A brief, yet powerful song, "Everybody's Leavin'" heard in an acoustic echo gives a glimpse of what's going on inside him, he's breaking down, fearing "sooner or later everybody goes".

The high energy of “Who Needs You” will make you want to hit the floor and kick it big time, but don’t miss the latent anger. He’s tired of hangers-on “leanin’ on me,” “claimin’ you made me,” “feeling important.” He can do it alone! As the song mellows, so does he, realizing there’s “nothin in the mirror,” but yet his ego insists he “can stop when he wants to.” He's "in control".

If “Slept Through the End of the World” and “Trainwreck” don’t put a lump in your throat, listen to them again! Enoch Anderson’s gripping lyrics, delivered in Barry’s unique style will make you feel to your core. His understated power, almost tear-filled melancholy tone and depth of emotion, breaks your heart for the “star,” and for yourself, in remembering each time your world crashed, but you went on because you had to.

In “Slept…,” he knows he failed, that “there’s nobody there;” “how long since anyone cared?” With only shadows to say all he should have, too wrapped up in himself. "Did he miss something real?" This song needs to be showcased for its sublime splendor, breath-taking performance; and heard by everyone who's ever felt they've hit a brick wall. Haven't we all? Soulful guitar strumming. In “Trainwreck,” he’s resigned to face his demons, to “look in the mirror, could it be clearer, end of the line…” He owns what he did wrong, he’s ready to get “back on track:” “life goes on whether you don’t or you do!” "What's past is past", his resignation takes center stage. An inspirational reminder: pity parties have tiny guest lists and serve little purpose. Again, as the song fades we're taken back to a gentle, gorgeous, instrumental reprise of "Bring On Tomorrow". Our minds drift to his early days, before the fame and glory; when he had a love that was his alone. He'd had all that really matters when the stage goes dark and the crowds go home.

A beautiful instrumental written by Barry Manilow, “Reflection” rests between the two profound songs, letting us wonder what’s coming next. A reprise of the opening song "15 Minutes" has a different message in it's lyric, we see his reality to fame, he saw the worst perhaps he's not willing to give up. The closing heart pounding orchestration, reminds me of something akin to "Phantom of the Opera". Is “Everything Gonna Be All Right?” Is he honest in saying, “I can see the future starin’ right at me, I’m here to inform you I like what I see?” Only time will tell—hopefully in a second volume to this powerfully intense album.

Another nod to the genius of 15 Minutes: each song has the substance to stand on its own merit as a single away from the context of the story, giving this album various levels of enjoyment.

There is no explicable reason for this album, Barry Manilow himself, and all those involved in sending it out to the world, not to be nominated in multiple GRAMMY categories. This is an album not to be ignored! Though snippets, samples, and reviews whet the appetite, it’s the entirety of the work that will make you sit up and take notice.

15 Minutes sets the standard high for contemporary compositions, challenging musicians and composers to delve deep into their creative being to reach this new and innovative bar of excellence.


08.22.2011 at 09:29 Reply

Dear Stephen,  Your review of the album really exemplifies "The high price of Fame".  So much effort to put down a really good album from a successful guy who had the guts to leave his comfort zone and write this album.  Your review makes it clear that you are the president of the take "the winner down" defamation club.  Congratulations in revealing your limited knowledge of music coupled with your lack of journalistic skills.  Richard Leshner