I would actually give this poorly-received album three-and-a-half stars. Barbra's third, and last, contemporary pop album of the eighties naturally can't compare to GUILTY, her pop masterpiece. However, TILL I LOVED YOU is much better than the dreadfully uneven EMOTION, her pop disaster. Even though there are six producers credited for the album's 11 tracks, the whole recording sounds remarkably solid and cohesive for a pop outing. The songs, while nothing groundbreaking, are also significantly stronger than those on EMOTION. The material makes better use of Streisand's voice, and it all sounds appropriate for her - you never get the feeling that she's slumming.
The ever-faithful Bergmans provide lyrics to three standout selections, with music by Michael Lengrand ("On My Way To You"), Alan Hawkshaw ("Why Let Go?"), and Streisand herself ("Two People"). The Bergmans are possibly the best lyricists to write for Barbra's phenomenal phrasing, and while these songs may not rank among their very best, they are all quite good. While I don't necessarily care for his plays in their entirety, I will admit that Andrew Lloyd Webber has written some terrific theatrical, pseudo-pop songs. Taken from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, "All I Ask Of You" is one of Webber's best, and Barbra's beautifully understated rendition is the definitive performance of the song.
I love many of Burt Bacharach's compositions with Hal David in the sixties, but I'm not usually a very big fan of his more generic work with Carole Bayer Sager. However, the trio of songs written and produced by Bacharach and Singer ("Love Light," "You And Me For Always," and "One More Time Around") are pleasantly melodic and not as saccharine as the majority of the couple's material. The Quincy Jones-produced "The Places You Find Love" may be typically overproduced, but Barbra's commanding, soulful performance still shines through.
The songs submitted by relatively unknown writers (Scott Cutier and Antonina Armato's "What Were We Thinking Of" and Mark Radice's "Some Good Things Never Last") are also perfectly fine. The track that unarguably gets the most criticism is the hit Don Johnson duet "Till I Loved You" (#25 Pop, #3 Adult Contemporary), which was taken from Mark Yeston's ill-fated musical GOYA. However, the collaboration has held up surprisingly well, and I respect the duo for choosing a song that is a bit more sophisticated than the typical pop duet.
Despite the negative reviews it received from critics, TILL I LOVED YOU was yet another Top Ten, Platinum album for Streisand, and in many ways it plays better today than it did when originally released. Even though it doesn't contain anything that she hasn't done better before, TILL I LOVED YOU is still a perfectly good album that most of Streisand's fans will probably enjoy.