Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute

by: Various Artists

It's hard to pull off a tribute album to a recently deceased celebrity with grace and style, but Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute works extraordinary well. None of the songs on the two discs are explicitly about Diana, but the generally wistful, melancholy tone captures the feeling of mass mourning and regret. And, on the most basic level, it offers a collection of strong mainstream '90s pop songs. Only three of the songs -- Neil Finn's new solo acoustic take of "Don't Dream It's Over," Peter Gabriel's "In the Sun," and Rod Stewart's fine cover of Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" -- are new recordings, and most of the collection features familiar items: Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever," Annie Lennox's "Angel," Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia," Seal's "Prayer for the Dying," Des'ree's "You Gotta Be," Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone," Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart," Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All," Celine Dion's "Because You Love Me," Gloria Estefan's "Don't Want to Lose You," Simply Red's "Stars," Puff Daddy's "Miss You," Mariah Carey's "Hero," and Spice Girls' "Mama." There are a few worthwhile surprises (Paul McCartney's "Little Willow" reveals itself as one of his loveliest numbers in years), and there are a few clinkers -- Placido Domingo and Michael Bolton's "Ave Maria" sounds particularly embarrassing in comparison to U2 and Luciano Pavarotti's soaring "Miss Sarajevo" -- that are inevitable in a project this size. Even with those minor flaws, it's hard to ignore that Tribute is one of the few charity albums that fulfills its goals with grace and style -- in other words, it's a fitting tribute. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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