MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin says her new album brings out an excitement she hasn’t felt since 1982 and the music feels as good as Marvin Gaye’s seminal “What’s Going On?” album.
“Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” includes covers of songs including “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Rolling in the Deep.” It was released Tuesday on vinyl but will be available digitally and in stores on Oct. 21.
Franklin said there’s “a lot of electricity” around her latest CD.
“I haven’t felt so up on a CD since ‘Jump to It’ (was released in 1982) or the first time one of my records was played on the radio,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think I have ever been as excited as I am now.”
The Queen of Soul, who sat next to longtime collaborator and album producer Clive Davis, held a listening for the album at the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center.
The album also includes Franklin’s interpretations of classics such as “At Last,” ”I Will Survive” and Barbra Streisand’s “People.”
“I like all of it. I like the whole CD, from cut to cut to cut. It kind of reminds me of, I said, ‘You know, this is kind of similar to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”’” she said before the event. “You know the kind of records from cut to cut; I don’t care what comes up (but) you like it. You like it! I think it may be that kind of album.”
Davis came up with the concept and songs, which Franklin said she immediately took to. Franklin performed the Adele hit on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Monday. Franklin’s version, which infuses some of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” has more than 1.4 million views on its official YouTube post.
“It’s very exciting even for those (of us) who have been in the business just a few years,” Davis said.
Producers on the 10-track album include Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Harvey Mason Jr. and Andre 3000. Franklin covers Alicia Keys’ “No One,” which is meshed with a Caribbean vibe.
“I love that flavor!” Franklin exclaimed.
Davis said it was Keys who suggested that flavor from the beginning.
“Because I have lunch with Alicia every several months and I discussed the prospect of it, and she did say, ‘If you do know what, I just hear a Caribbean, reggae flavor,’” he said.
“And she was right on the money,” Franklin added.
Davis and Franklin were excited and chatting away like old friends Wednesday — their outfits even matched. The album reunites them after a decade-long break, and they say the passion they have for music and the new project is stronger than ever.
“This is no hype,” Davis said.
“Right, this is no hype,” Franklin echoed.
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