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Album Review: Top 20
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the album Top 20 by Michele McLaughlin
Top 20
Michele McLaughlin
2015 / Michele McLaughlin
73 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Top 20 is a collection of Michele McLaughlin’s most popular piano solos from 2008-2015. These are her most-played songs on Pandora Radio and Spotify, as well as the most-purchased songs on iTunes, Amazon, and directly from her own website. During the time period that these songs were originally recorded, McLaughlin purchased a Fazioli grand piano, which has a different sound and touch than her previous Yamaha. She re-recorded and remastered all of the songs on the newer piano so that the album has a clean and consistent sound. Joe Bongiorno of Piano Haven Studio mastered and engineered the album, and the sound quality is beautiful - warm and flawless. McLaughlin’s pianistic fans will be happy to know that there is a companion sheet music book that features all new transcriptions of the music to reflect any of the changes made to the songs since they were originally recorded and transcribed for her earlier songbooks.

One of the things I find really interesting is that the playing order of these pieces is alphabetical, not chronological or meticulously fussed over for mood or key changes - and alphabetical works really well in this case. There is quite a range of styles from slow and melancholy to faster and joyful, and the flow of the album is excellent. I think McLaughlin was really wise to re-record all of these pieces, bringing them up-to-date and offering her long-time fans a slightly different take on their favorites.

The albums that the songs come from are (in alphabetical order!): A Celtic Dream (4 tracks), Breathing in the Moment (3 tracks), Christmas Plain & Simple (2 tracks), Christmas Plain & Simple II (2 tracks), Dedication (2 tracks), Out of the Darkness (2 tracks), Undercurrent (2 tracks), and Waking the Muse (3 tracks).

Top 20 is a very special collection of Michele McLaughlin’s most popular music and is available from michelemclaughlin.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
January 2, 2016
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