Bette Midler

a voice for many songs

Bette of Roses (Atlantic Records)
Bette Midler

By Kory Wilcoxson

There's a problem inherent with being so versatile: You're never given credit for doing one thing really well.

Such is the dilemma faced by Bette Midler. Her talents are so varied that her strengths tend to be underestimated. Bette of Roses should go far toward proving that Midler is a topnotch female vocalist.

It helps that her choice of songs is impeccable. "l Want to Deserve You," written by ex-Lone Justice leader Maria McKee, is a wonderfully orchestrated song that allows Midler to let down her hair and have a little fun with a song, letting her break free from the sappy bondage of "From a Distance" and "Wind Beneath My Wings"(Sure, they were good —the first 10, 000 times I heard them!).

In fact, this whole album is Midler's statement that she can do much more than gushy love songs. Nothing here sinks to that level; the ballads, such as "In This Life" and "The Perfect Kiss," give Midler the chance to mine deeper territory than her past successes. It is a surprisingly rich bounty that she offers up