To the Stars: Sarah Brightman – “Anything But Lonely”

Released in conjunction with Songs That Got Away and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love musical, the “Anything But Lonely” single came out as a seven-inch, 12-inch and compact disc release.

The 1989 single is from the Aspects of Love musical, of course, and comes written by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart.

Aspects of Love is probably most famous for “Love Changes Everything,” a song the now-cosmonaut Sarah Brightman would record nearly half a million times. She wasn’t in the original cast, but did serve as a replacement for the U.K. run. There are no original cast recordings featuring Brightman, which makes the single a pretty good place to uncover “Anything But Lonely.”

The song is typical Lloyd Webber fare. It’s a very theatrical piece and Brightman’s voice meanders through the lower and higher parts of her range. It is a slushy tune that doesn’t do much for the soprano – even as she holds on to the last note over a swell of orchestral babble.

On the single version, “Half a Moment” follows “Anything But Lonely.” This comes from Lloyd Webber’s Jeeves musical, which came out of P. G. Wodehouse’s short stories about Reginald Jeeves. The show was a charade behind-the-scenes and “Half a Moment” wound up tabled only to find itself back in business thanks to Brightman’s Songs That Got Away.

The 12-inch and CD versions of “Anything But Lonely” feature two more songs: “What Makes Me Love Him?” and “English Girls.”

The former is from Songs That Got Away, while “English Girls” is undoubtedly the real “find.”

This is the only release where “English Girls” can be found. It is a leftover from Song & Dance, representing that stock Lloyd Webber quality and customarily corny lyrics. “English girls get their own way,” Brightman sings over a parochial disco backdrop. “English girls know just what to say.” The nerve is preposterous, particularly given the lameness of the melody, and the track falls flat.

It could be argued that “Anything But Lonely” has historic value as the only place to pinpoint the awkward “English Girls,” but that would be pushing it even for Brightman purists. As admonitory examples of what Brightman does when under the ghastly guidance of a schlock-shilling composer, the songs work. As anything else, they don’t.

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