Review Summary: A serendipitous and tasteful follow-up to Older.
It's rare for a cover album to be considered great; at least without an air of superfluousness. And it's doubly difficult for an artist to capture the original artist's thoughts and emotions within what is ostensibly new compositions. But if someone were to do it, it would be George Michael. George Michael's approach to music is one of reverance. Musically "Jesus to a Child" is a love-letter to bossa nova. Similarly this album is treated with the same respect and feels like a compilation of songs that George Michael adores.
Like his albums before it, Songs From The Last Century features George Michael's penchant for moody, despondent ballads. Roxanne is transformed from an up-tempo and almost hysterical plea to a slow, compassionate, and distraught ballad-like song about an unfortunate girl. The smooth yet melancholy pop tunes of Older have been replaced with fun up-tempo showtunes. While a song like Miss Sarajevo, that demands a certain tone, only mildly differs from the original and is carried by a fantastic vocal performance.
Regardless of the quality of the album; it will be difficult to recommend cover songs to fans of the originals. Because of music's inherent subjectivity; interpretations will vary, and whether George Michael's interpretations hit the mark will depend on the listener. But if you are a fan of the original songs, I'd wager you will be pleasantly surprised if you give this a listen.