[Decca Records]

When Liza Minnelli covered Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” in this summer’s Sex and the City 2, it was one of the uneven sequel’s few high points. Likewise, Confessions, her first album in eight years, shines brightest when she’s at her most lighthearted, reveling in the tricky rhythms of “You Fascinate Me So” and the subtle sauciness of the Disney classic “He’s a Tramp.” Unfortunately, the upbeat tunes are few, and the stripped-down arrangements by pianist Billy Stritch do little to differentiate one ballad from the next. While she certainly has the pedigree to tackle Etta James’ “At Last,” Minnelli’s version doesn’t add much interest to the overdone tune. As a collection of some of the legend’s longtime favorites, Confessions does grant listeners a brief glimpse into Minnelli’s taste and sly sense of humor. But a few surprises would have made for a more compelling package. –KD

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