“The biggest selling album of Barbra Streisand’s career” (Ruhlmann) “may well be [her] best pop album” (Vincentelli), but it “is also one of her least characteristic” (Ruhlmann). “At the peak of her late-‘70s popularity, she hooked up with the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, who himself was basking in his Saturday Night Fever glow” (Vincentelli). “The album was written and produced by…Gibb in association with his brothers and the producers of the Bee Gees, and in essence it sounds like a post-Saturday Night Fever Bee Gees album with vocals by Streisand” (Ruhlmann). Gibb “supplied background vocals as well as co-leads on two tracks” (Vincentelli). A guilty pleasure, sure – just indulge” (Vincentelli).
“Gibb adapted his usual style somewhat, especially in slowing the tempos and leaving more room for the vocal, but his melodic style and the backup vocals, even when they are not sung by the Bee Gees, are typical of them. Still, the record was more hybrid than compromise” (Ruhlmann).
Promises “is a lounge-like dance number and Babs sounds simply fabulous – sexy, lighthearted, passionate, playful – all at once. Life Story is a wild epic, and Make It Like a Memory keeps soaring up and up into a stratosphere of shag-carpeted luxury. Even Gibb’s wavering vocals are great – and not a little like a disco version of Mandy Patinkin” (Vincentelli).
“And of course, the hits are out of this world” (Vincentelli). “The chart-topping single Woman in Love has a sinuous feel that is both right for Streisand and new for her” (Ruhlmann). That song, and What Kind of Fool, a duet with Gibb, “are titanium-plated classics the likes of which Streisand has not topped since” (Vincentelli). The title song, Guilty, was another top 10 Babs & BG duet and “won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal by Duo or Group” (Ruhlmann).