When Tony Bennett had his mini-revival in the wake of the 90s student lounge boom, I couldn’t help but think it was barrel-scraping: the biggest names in that scene were unavailable or dead, so Bennett gamely stepped up to meet the demand. He knew a few good stories and still looked terrific in a good suit, which was more than enough for the magazine editors pushing a trend to sell bad stories and OK suits. That “Stranger In Paradise” doesn’t do much to make me reconsider is hardly Bennett’s fault, he does his best against a smothering production. Actually I take that back a bit ‘ the opening 10 seconds are memorably wide-eyed and widescreen despite the rest of the record’s determination to do them in, and part of that is down to Bennett and his slightly rumpled delivery. So there you go.

Score: 4

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