Foolish pride is all that I have left: the best of Dionne Warwick

The vessel through which Burt Bacharach and Hal David transmitted their subtlest ruminations, Dionne Warwick has been there/not-there for so long that compiling her is easy. Her last Hot 100 top forty entry was a duet with Jeffrey Osborne. At her peak her sleeves reflect her ethos: supper club class, but with a person on retainer who listens to the radio and calls the Gibbs and Luther Vandross. About my favorite song, consensus and I reached a truce. The runner-up has psychedelic touches in the arrangement; I can imagine Caetano Veloso playing the “Are You There (With Another Girl)” 45 over and over, studying it.

Sticking “Heartbreaker” at the top tempted me. Listen to the verses after the first chorus, where she hopscotches across a long melodic line — that’s a pro. The song, though, is Gibbness incarnate: a string of romantic banalities that don’t connect with what comes before or after. Still kills me. I wouldn’t date a guy unmoved. Same goes for her bits in “That’s What Friends Are For” and “We Are the World”; hearing the possibilities in juxtaposing her plummy diction with Willie Nelson’s gnarl is a minor example of Quincy Jones’ genius.

1. Don’t Make Me Over
2. Are You There (With Another Girl)
3. The April Fools
4. Heartbreaker
5. Anyone Who Had a Heart
6. Walk on By
7. Deja Vu
8. Then Came You (w/the Spinners)
9. Do You Know the Way to San Jose
10. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
11. Promises, Promises
12. I’ll Never Love This Way Again
13. Make It Easy on Yourself
14. (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
15. I Say a Little Prayer

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